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The Old Owls’ Tales

Much like humans find wisdom and advice in the tales of the Old Wives, animals have the Old Owl’s knowledge which is widely shared when growing up. These tales were shared with me in the past few months in relaxed, yet intimate conversations with some very lovely owls in an undisclosed location.

Illustrations can be followed on my Instagram account leahrennes (and will be posted on WordPress sometimes too) and they are a celebration of a goal I set only in August of this year and I think have achieved quite well so far.

Before August, I would draw a cow and it looked more like an elephant. After doing the 30-day challenge by Mark Kistler “You can draw in 30 days” book, I not only realized drawing is something that can be taught (and don’t necessarily rely solely upon talent) but I also gained great confidence drawing. Suddenly, I can draw images for my stories which is something I though would be never able to do. Sure, I still need to practice but I have come a long way.

“The Old Owls’ Tales” are a result of the learning process and confidence I gained in the last two months. I hope you enjoy the illustrations and don’t be shy to follow.

And as a slight preview of today’s post- bring an umbrella if you see a worried bunny- according to the Owl tales, it means it is most likely to rain.

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Can an author sell books at all without harassing friends/family for likes or paying for promo?

It’s been a year and I have not sold a single book yet. I’ve had free promotions on Amazon and people have read them. You see, when I started out I decided I was not going to harass my friends to like my Facebook page or have them write reviews for me on Amazon. I wanted to do it clean. I wasn’t going to pay for ads to get my book out there. So many online blogs recommend having a blog to get readers, make sure you format the book right and have it proofread…. and you’re set.

When I got my first and only review, I cried. It was positive, but apparently they still found mistakes. I ran proofreading program more than a dozen times and mistakes still happen. I’ve been editing the book to make it better.

When I came out with children’s books and had free promotions I asked for reviews (good or bad) but there has not been any feedback. It is so hard to not feel like my books are just a needle in the Amazon hay.

I guess what my question to those successful authors out there is (assuming my books don’t suck) is what else do they recommend doing? Or should I cough up the money for promotions?

Why in Europe sometimes you just have to dump things on the street

When I was younger, I loved yard sales. I was able to sell some of the stuff my Mom never used and made a couple of bucks while at it. Then, a few years later, I gave my bike to somebody who needed it for free. I still remember the message he sent me, thanking me over and over that he takes the bike to work instead of walking there. He was so grateful and I was thrilled I could help. So, every once in a while, I still leave a box on my yard with a sign “Free stuff.” Someone always pickes it up.

Then, I did my study abroad in France. I lived in a furnished apartment I shared with other students. (btw, my book about the French study abroad is available on Amazon ;)) We only got the bare necessities, so we decided to buy a few things to make our lives more, errr, livable I guess.

At the end of the semester we listed them on a board at school and on a Facebook website where people who wanted to give stuff away for free were welcome to list the items. I mean, surely people will be happy to get nice stuff for free? Surely they will come on time and won’t be picky, right?? (btw, it is forbidden to dump stuff on the street)

We only had a few people genuinely interested… everybody else wasted our time, energy and generosity with the following stupidities:

1) “Your place is too far” (far being 15 minutes out of the way)

2) “I only want one of the items listed in the bundle” (yes, let me make a special appointment for each of the people who want to take the damn dying flowers)

3) Didn’t read the ad right (“I thought you were offering X” (when in fact it was Y))

4) Showed up 2-3 hours late (because of course, I have nothing else to do in my life)

5) Say they will show up and they don’t- without telling me (because again- apparently I have nothing else to do in my life than wait for them)

6) Book a time to come and cancel after they realize that it is too expensive to rent a truck (because checking rental prices prior to making arrangements would be nonsensical)

7) “Do you have it in another color?” (please, can I refer you to a furniture store??!)

8) “Could you deliver it to me?” (no comment…..*sigh*)

Ultimately, the amount of effort I had to put in to deal with these people just made it not worth it. It actually killed my joy to try give useful stuff to people. I follow the online blogs/websites and I am still a memeber of some of these groups and complaints like mine show up  all  the  time.

The biggest problem with giving things away for free is that people think you are also giving away for free your time, energy and sometimes even your transport. And it truly kills the joy of trying to do good and trying to help. Ultimately, after offering the items to some charities (which only took selected items), we sneaked out in the middle of the night and dumped the stuff on the street. Eventually it was all picked up but I promised myself I would never give stuff away for free anymore, not while I was there. When people have to pay, they suddenly realize their time and energy are vested in the exchange too.

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Merry Christmas! (Not happy Holidays)

America is getting too politically correct. Why is it so wrong to wish somebody a Merry Christmas? You are wishing something nice. Something positive. The last time I checked merry meant “cheerful and lively, characterized by festivity and enjoyment.”

I don’t get upset if somebody wishes me Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa. I am neither Jewish or Black, but I can always appreciate a good wish.

So Merry Christmas to everyone. I hope you spend some quality time with your family. I almost have a 100 followers which makes me really happy. And, I sold ONE book since I published it on Amazon (and no, it wasn’t my Mother since somebody from the U.K. bought it….thank you reader!!)

In the spirit of happiness, you can get my book on Amazon for FREE only today! It’s a great read, specially for your teen or college kid. I would appreciate if you leave a critique on Amazon if you read it, good or bad, I would just like to hear everyone’s feedback.

OK, no more computer for a couple of days. MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! ❤

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The remarkable overly air-conditioned rides

 “It was a remarkable morning; the lake was quiet, the light blue color of the sky was reflecting on the surface of the water and green trees were peacefully resting nearby.”– Jenna Gunner

Jenna Gunner, in my sort of cliché description, lives for the moments by the lake and finds those moments to be remarkable; the sense of peacefulness, tranquility and connectedness with nature astound her.

I, on the other hand, am a little simpler with “remarkable”. When you lead a crazy-busy schedule, you start finding simple things remarkable. I love my long rides in an overly air-conditioned car (Florida heat is terrible, ya’ll). I love them because they bring me peace and serenity (on those instances I avoid rush hour).

The point is, we all have different ideas on what is remarkable. What is worthy of remark in your life? Comment, like and share!

P.S: Another remarkable thing in my life: my book “Six months of Croissants, Café crèmes, Parties and Love” for FREE on Amazon from August 8th to August 12th! Please check it out and leave a review on Amazon, whether you love it or hate it 🙂 Thank you!

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Take a risk!

“It is not my first choice to go to the same vacation spot for the past twenty-one years of my life, but we are not the type of people that enjoy change.”

Jenna Gunner plans her whole life around the same cycle- school during the year and vacation in Syracuse at her Uncle Bruce’s house for the summer. The steady routine seems to work for her; she enjoys family BBQs and swimming in lake Oneida….and above all….she is in love! Jake Hudson, the love of her life, will notice her. One day. She just has to get his attention.

So how is it that she ends up going to France for half a year one day?

Read more in my new book, “Six months of Croissants, Café crèmes, Parties and Love” available on Amazon :))

Picture credit: Wikipedia

P.S. Thanks for reading my blog 🙂