Thursday, March 24, 2016

Enter My New GoodReads Giveaway

I had such great success with my last two giveaways on GoodReads, I decided to do another that is even bigger! Enter my giveaway below for a chance to win 1 of 10 signed copies of ACAPULCO NIGHTS. The entry period lasts until April 21st.

ACAPULCO NIGHTS has been given many fantastic reviews and is my best book yet. Lots of twists and turns that keeps you guessing all the way to the end. Enter now!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Acapulco Nights by K.J. Gillenwater

Acapulco Nights

by K.J. Gillenwater

Giveaway ends April 21, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Monday, March 21, 2016

Fix #16 From Stitch Fix - March 21, 2016

My spring Stitch Fix arrived last week. I have been very busy with the day job, so I haven't had time to put together my review. With some downtime this morning caused by an internet hiccup, I decided to bang this out as I know you are all waiting for my newest review!

If you are new to Stitch Fix, please read up on the service here:

My Very First Stitch Delivery and Stitch Fix Explanation - Fix #1

You can also check out a whole bunch of Stitch Fix reviews below. I've been writing them since May 2014:

Fix #2 - June 2014
Fix #3 - July 2014
Fix #4 - August 2014
Fix #5 - September 2014
Fix #6 - October 1, 2014
Fix #7 - October 29, 2014
Fix #8 - November 2014
Fix #9 - December 2014 
Fix #10 - January 2015
Fix #11 - February 2015
Fix #12 - March 2015 
Fix #13 - June 2015 
Fix #14 - September 2015
Fix #15 - December 2015

As some may know, I am now doing Stitch Fix once a quarter. This seems to be working well for me. I added so many new pieces to my wardrobe that first year, I had to slow it down some. Now I get new clothes for every season, which is just about perfect.

My March box is my 'spring' fashion box, and I was looking forward to it. The only thing I think I requested from my stylist for this fix was a 'soft' blazer. Instead of those structured, stiff-fabric blazers, I was looking for one that was of a softer material and stretchier. Interestingly enough, I noticed on Stitch Fix's Instagram (or maybe it was an email I received) that blazers were 'in' this spring.

I also asked for more colors and prints. But the rest I left up to my stylist. I seem to get better fixes when I am not too demanding!
I opened up my 16th box with some excitement. I had two nicely wrapped stacks inside. And when I unwrapped my bundles, I was so happy to see colors and patterns. YAY!

The floral print especially stood out to me. I don't buy much floral print. Not sure why. Maybe I'm missing out on some fun, fresh prints with my aversion to florals.

As is my experience very time, I NEVER look at the pricing for each item before I try it on, and I NEVER dismiss a clothing item just by looking at it. I try everything on. Even if I think I'll hate it. I have ended up with some surprise favorites by treating my fixes this way.

Let's dig in and see what I got, shall we?

1) First I picked out the Felecia Colorblock Ponte Dress by 41Hawthorn for $78.  I don't have any orange in my wardrobe. Zip. So this caught my eye. Why have I avoided orange?
The main colors were burnt orange, a dark navy and a cream color. I do appreciate what a slimming design can do for one's body, so I was holding out hope for this one. It was made of a thicker, stretch knit. Typically I have problems with a dress like this fitting both my upper and lower half well.

I will admit, I was not in love with this right off the bat, but was willing to give a whirl!
So, it actually fit very well on the bottom and the length was right - not too short. I wasn't over the moon about the colors, but it wasn't half bad. However, you cannot see that the arm holes were just loose enough that undergarments peeked through. And there was no fixing because the material gapped open. It would always be a problem. Just didn't want to deal with it. It had promise, but not enough 'like' to consider keeping.

Sorry, but NO.

2) The next item I tried on was the Celso Mesh Detail Knit Top by Loveappella for $54. This was the floral item you saw in my pile. I hung it up on the hanger and had a feeling this was going to be a winner:
Really, really pretty. And the length was great. It was made of a stretchy fabric. I couldn't wait to put this one on!

OMG! Adorable. Why have I not purchased floral prints in the past??? The best part is, it looked really good with a pair of reddish-pink pants I got from Stitch Fix in the fall of 2014:

Glorious Red Pants of Awesome
The top provided great coverage and had a flattering fit...form fitting without being too tight. So, so cute. This is the top (plus pants) that I wore right out of the box for the day. KEEP!!!!!

3) Feeling good about this fix so far. Not bad. Keep one, reject one. The next item in my box was the Tameron Button Down Blouse by 41Hawthorn for $58. I liked this because of the fun print and the color. It said 'spring' to me.

Hard to really see the color, but it was a royal blue. I had rejected a white blouse last year that I really regretted (I got it in January of 2015 and thought it was too cold to purchase such a summery blouse). This time, since I only get quarterly boxes, I didn't want to dismiss a cute blouse just because I couldn't wear it much immediately.

Okay, you all are probably thinking: That's super cute! Oh definitely a keeper.

Yeah, you would think that by looking at the photo. It fit well, it was a cute style, etc. However, what is hard to really see in a photo is the dizzying affect this had on the eyeballs when it was in motion. A little nauseating, sadly. I WANTED to like it. I did. But the pattern was just too much for me. Sadface.

So this was a big old NO just based on the print. Not on the fit or fashion.

4) Hm, what kind of fix was this going to be? 2 rejects, 1 keep - only a couple of things left to go! Uh-oh....

The next item I tried on was the Elissa French Terry Striped Moto Jacket by Market & Spruce for $74. This was actually an item I had on my Pinterest board, so I was super excited to see my stylist send it to me. This is a first for me. (but I really haven't done a great job of keeping my Pinterest board up-to-date, so I'm not blaming StitchFix for that)

Not only did this fit my request for a 'soft' blazer, it was an item I had picked out, so it was a win-win. I didn't know how I felt about stripes (I seem to get a lot of striped things from Stitch Fix), but I was definitely willing to give it a chance.

I threw on a black t-shirt and kablooie - this was going to be a keeper. Such a well-fitting, comfortable jacket had to stay in my closet. And check out how great the shoulder fit and how flattering:
I've got broad shoulders and have a hard time finding jackets and fitted things that fit well. This was PERFECT.  Absolutely LOVED it. Wore it the following day. It can also be zipped up as shown on the hanger. It was flattering zipped or unzipped. KEEP, KEEP, KEEP!

5) The last item in my box was a skirt - the Morgen Skirt by Gilli for $54.
I liked the looks of this skirt. It seemed like the length would be good for me (not too much above the knee), plus the flow of the fabric looked like it would be flattering.

And I was right! Excellent length. Great fit. Would go with a lot of items in my wardrobe. Total KEEPER.

In the end, my March box was a very satisfying fix. 3 out of 5 is fantastic. I added several new pieces to my wardrobe and was able to freshen up my fashion choices for spring. YAY!

The funny thing is, if you look at my Stitch Fix Pinterest board, my stylist did an excellent job of trying to find me things that matched items I'd flagged in the last few months. I had no idea until I looked at my board with fresh eyes.

If you have yet to try Stitch Fix, consider using my referral link below. I will get a $25 credit when you make your first order, just to give full transparency. Even though I've been doing these reviews for almost 2 years, I haven't gotten much in the way of credit (not a complaint, just honesty...I write these reviews for the fun of it...not for the $$).

Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to hear your comments on what I kept and what I sent back.

Monday, March 14, 2016

What To Do & What Not To Do At A Book Signing

I had my very first book signing event over the weekend. It was a humbling experience and a fun one at the same time. Here are some things I learned:

My poster in the library lobby.
1) People you know will tell you that they will come to your signing, but don't be disappointed if they don't - they have their own lives and their own activities. A book signing is not more important than someone's birthday party or sports event. It's a 'maybe I'll go,' so be prepared for that.

I had several friends mention they would come, only one couple showed up. But I was grateful for the one couple! Sadly, most of my friends have kids with weekend games. 

2) Weather will play a big role in attendance. You are not Stephen King nor Jen Weiner. People are not clamoring to see you no matter the circumstances. If it is raining, snowing, etc. on the day of your signing that will probably play a big role in how many people will leave their house to see you. You are not a celebrity!

We had driving rain and very windy conditions, which kept people from even being at the library for regular library stuff, much less my little thing.

3) No matter how many people show up, act professional. You are an author and this is your business. Act like it! No one wants to see a petulant writer who can't believe the room isn't stuffed to the gills to hear about her latest 1000-page fantasy novel.

I had an incredibly small crowd for the opening of my event. I waited 5 minutes to see if any more would show up, and then gave my presentation and reading to that small group as if it were a full house. Sure, I wished there were more people, but I was more than happy to get up there and talk about myself and my books to anyone who was willing to listen.

On the phone with my Mom before the event.
4) Dress for success. Wear something professional. Whether it be a blazer and slacks or a dress and heels, wear what you would to a business meeting. We have become a very casual society, so a well-dressed person grabs your attention. Plus, you might have someone asking to take a picture, and don't you want to look your best?

I had picked out my favorite dress and a red sweater, knowing it would make me feel confident. Red attracts the eye. :-D

5) Don't be fixated on sales. If you sell one book or a dozen, don't be discouraged with sales numbers. If people don't want to buy your books, talk to them, hand them some bookmarks or a flyer. Get your promo stuff in their hands. You never know when they might go online and decide to buy!

I actually did pretty well with my sales. Everyone but ONE person purchased something. But it would've been okay if my sales had been fewer. It's about connecting with people!

Final Thoughts

I wish my book signing was better attended, but it actually turned out okay. I have all of the materials I need now to run another signing or sales event, so I don't need to invest any more in that for awhile. I also figured out that, since I'm a nobody, I really need to go where the people are next time. I've got 4 books, I can put on a quite a display. I already have a vision for a couple of upcoming events in my local area where a sales table might really work for me. Why not?

Let me know if you have any thoughts about your experience with book signings - I would love to build on someone else's knowledge.
Close up of poster.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Radio Interview with K.J. Gillenwater on KSPT 1400 AM

Listen to my radio interview. I discuss my books, my life, my writing process.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

I'm Going To Be On The Radio!

In my last blog post, I gave you some tips and tricks about how to get out of your hermit writer space and into the real world to promote yourself and your books. My last suggestion was to call your local radio station to see if they are interested in featuring you.

Well, I finally got up the nerve to call my local radio broadcaster last Friday. There was no email (an introvert's best friend), so I had to dial a number and leave a message for the operator. I probably sounded like a dolt. I mentioned that I was a local author who had been in the paper recently and that I had an upcoming book signing I would love to promote maybe with an announcement or perhaps an interview.

One of the stations this broadcaster runs is an AM talk radio station (KSPT 1400 AM). Most of the day is taken up with national radio programs like Rush Limbaugh and Clark Howard. But weekdays at noon they run local programming with different hosts.

Monday, I received a call back from someone at the broadcasting office who gave me the email for Bob Witte, one of the hosts (and the radio station's general manager) for that noontime programming. My event would be a good fit for his show.

I immediately put together an email and heard back from Mr. Witte within a matter of hours. He would love to have me on his show!

Today, it was confirmed that I will be a guest at 12:30 pm on Thursday, March 10th! My hope is to not only promote my books, but to encourage people to come out to my book signing.

I've never been on the radio before, but, as my husband can tell you, I can TALK. I am not a quiet wallflower once I'm comfortable. And behind a mike is pretty comfortable for me...since I won't have to worry about a crowd staring at me!

If you are local to Sandpoint, Idaho, consider tuning in next week. You might be able to find an internet broadcast of the station. If I find one, I'll post it here.

Never be afraid to reach outside your comfort zone!