Coming full circle - "We read to know we are not alone." ~ William Nicholson

One of my absolute favorite quotes is, "We read to know we are not alone." ~ William Nicholson.  How profound is that? What draws us to to stories? What pulls us in? What makes us curl up on the couch and immerse ourselves in someone else's world for hours on end. While I love books that take me to new and exciting places, when I can recognize even a tiny bit of myself inside of a character or a story, it fascinates me. That sliver of recognition makes me feel connected - less alone.

Writing is the most solitary art form I've ever taken part in. I used to play French horn in both a wind ensemble and symphony setting. I was pretty good at it; not professional symphony good, but strong enough that I won a music scholarship for college. I enjoyed it immensely. One of the most rewarding parts of playing, was watching the conductor's reactions. I knew instantly when I was on the right path, or if I screwed the whole thing up. The rise, the fall, or narrowing of a particular pair of eyebrows from across a room answered every question I had.

In writing...not so much. I work night after night in the quiet of my living room. Stopping to check on a little one, or take the dog out. There are no eyebrows telling me if what I wrote was soulful or a complete cliche. This is why the idea of publishing was so scary to me, because it was SO hard to know if what I'd written was any good. I'd told several people before I published OC Me, "If my novel resonates with even one person, if I find out that it made the difference in even one life, it will have been worth every minute." And I can now say, that it was worth every minute.

I've been so privileged to get reader feedback from not just one, but a handful of people. They've taken the time out of their busy lives to let me know how OC Me touched them. How they related to Amy and her story. Some shared their own anxiety stuggles. A couple even said that the book helped them understand their anxiety better - made them see their own thought patterns in a different way. And I am so honored; not only that they took the time to read the book, but that they took the time to share their personal experiences with me. I can now say with full honesty that when a reader steps out of their comfort zone and reaches out to an author, it means the absolute world. 

So thank you. I just want to say that for those that have written to me, your words have made the Nicholson quote come full circle.  As I read YOUR words, I can say, "I read to know I am not alone." And perhaps I should add, "I write to know I am not alone."

A weekend unplugged in Wyalusing State Park / Inspiration gathering

A planned camping trip landed at the absolutely perfect time for me. Four days after my book came out on Amazon, I left my laptop behind and went with my husband, in-laws, and kids to Wyalusing State Park. We spent the weekend hiking around the park and canoeing on the Mississippi. It. Was. Awesome. 

Being 100% unplugged from internet/social media was such a blessing. It was so nice to not have anything book/blog related to do. I brought my kindle for reading at bedtime, but other than that it was a low tech weekend.  For anyone wondering, Wyalusing is a beautiful state park in the Southeastern corner of Wisconsin. It rests on the bluffs above where the Mississippi and Wisconsin Rivers converge. We really loved the 2.4 mile hiking trail that went down to Big Sand Cave and Little Sand Cave. Big Sand Cave is large enough that you can actually climb down into it, while Little Sand cave is more of an overlook to a little waterfall. I love all the gorgeous colors in the sandstone.

Photographs © Jeremy and Kristin Albright Top row: Little Sand Cave, Look out on the bluff trail, Hiking trail  to Big Sand Cave. Horizontal photos: canoeing on the Mississippi, climbing up to treasure cave. Bottom right: Big Sand Cave

Photographs © Jeremy and Kristin Albright
Top row: Little Sand Cave, Look out on the bluff trail, Hiking trail  to Big Sand Cave. Horizontal photos: canoeing on the Mississippi, climbing up to treasure cave. Bottom right: Big Sand Cave

Another worth while hike goes along the bluff down to the Keyhole rock formation. If you are not afraid of ladders or heights (and are not traveling with little ones) you can climb down one ladder and then climb up another into Treasure Cave. My mother-in-law stayed with our children while my husband and I climbed up to the cave. I remember making this hike in my childhood, and I think I must have been braver back then . (For what it's worth, the cave was every bit as high as I remember.)

I think the highlight of the weekend for the whole family was the six mile canoe trip on the Mississippi. I was nervous because I have a toddler, and I didn't know how well he would do being contained in the boat. Luckily, he and his big sister sat side-by-side behind me - mesmerized the entire time. We saw turtles, blue herons, and bald eagles. There were piles of empty shells along the shore that we guessed were left by river otters. We watched trains, river barges, and houseboats. They loved every single "big wave" that came from passing motor boats. Despite the dark sky we stayed warm and dry, and ended the trip with everyone in good spirits. 

The pair of books I am currently editing (Totem and Summit) take place in Wisconsin. This camping trip not only served as a much needed weekend "off," but also as a "world building"/inspiration trip. The caves, pools, valleys, and trails are all part of Ellery's world. If you ever get the chance to visit I'd recommend taking it; Wisconsin is a beautiful place :)




 

OC Me paperback giveaway on Goodreads! / Young Adult Fiction

My young adult novel OC Me will be available in paperback shortly! To celebrate I am doing a Goodreads giveaway! Due to high international shipping charges the giveaway is for US residents only. For my international readers I will be doing some ebook giveaways in the near future so keep an eye on my facebook page for that!! 

For those readers on Goodreads I'd love it if you add OC Me to your "to read" list! 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

OC Me by Kristin Albright

OC Me

by Kristin Albright

Giveaway ends September 27, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

Enter to win
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It's my debut novel's book birthday!!! / OC Me - a young adult fiction novel

Just after breakfast this morning I experienced the surreal moment of seeing my book on Amazon for the first time. I decided not to do a big launch for OC Me because I had no idea how long things would take. I'm not a gal who likes to over-promise anything. This past week has been a whirlwind of communication with my formatter (Polgarus Studio), the US copyright office, and Amazon. I've read more small print than I ever wanted to, but it's finally done. I'm an author! Yay :)  
As of now, OC Me is just available as an ebook on Amazon.com.  My formatter is hard at work designing the print version of the book and the files for other ebook platforms. I will update when it is available on ibooks, nook and print. 

Thanks for following along in my writing journey. I hope you enjoy OC Me.