Category: One Big Beautiful Thing

Interview with Jera’s Jamboree

I was fortunate enough the be interviewed by Jera’s Jamboree, a UK book blog. You can read the full interview here. One of the interesting things that happened after the interview was that Sharon Goodwin, the interviewer, tweeted this:

“Did you miss my #interview with @Marie_Flanigan ? Another #writing shed :)”

Shedworking is big in the UK, so I thought it was cool that she pointed out that I work in a writing shed. Here is a picture of my shed for your viewing pleasure.

An Interview with The Pen & Muse

I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by The Pen & Muse today. There were personal questions as well as questions about how I wrote One Big Beautiful Thing. It’s a strange sensation to be interviewed. It made me oddly self-conscious, but I’m happy to have the opportunity to talk about my novel and to reach new readers. I’m really pleased with how it’s been received so far. I’m so grateful to everyone who has read it. It’s nice to know people are reading it and enjoying it. That’s very cool.

Artists Studio Tour

Yesterday, I went with my sister, my niece and two close friends to the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour. It’s a fantastic event that I look forward to every year. I really enjoy seeing where people create their work. It’s a fascinating look into the mind of the artist. Going on this tour every year and talking to the artist certainly helped inform Kate’s life and work in One Big Beautiful Thing. Over the years, I’ve developed some favorites, so I thought I’d share them with you here.

Generally, the first stop we make is always Shawn Grove’s studio where he works with Bryan Mattraw. Shawn and Bryan use a salt glaze in a wood fired kiln, that unlike an electric kiln, doesn’t heat evenly throughout, thereby giving the work a unique glaze that is masculine, raw and very natural. Their work is tremendous and unlike any pottery you’ve seen. They do functional pieces as well as art pieces and they always have something delightful and new every time I go out to their studio. I wish they had a webpage so I could show you their work, but they don’t. Here is a link to their tour page though, so you can have a tiny taste of what it’s like.

On the opposite end of the pottery spectrum from Shawn and Bryan is Kristen Swanson at White House Ceramic Studios. Kristen works in porcelain, which if you know anything about pottery, is the most difficult material to work with since it’s so soft. Kristen, however, has mastered it. Her forms are so graceful and elegant and her decorations are so beautiful, it’s simply amazing. She’s happy to take custom orders and seriously go to her webpage and see how stunning her work is. You won’t be disappointed

We also always stop in Waterford on these tours, not only because Waterford is a charming little town, but because it’s home to two of my other favorite artists: Katherine Riedel and Kathie Ratcliff.

Katherine’s studio is right in the middle of town. She does wonderful landscape and still life paintings of the world around her. Her work is charming and so evocative of all that is western Loudoun. She also does portraits and is wonderfully friendly and fun to talk to. Not to mention, her dog is often with her in the studio, which is always a bonus in my book.

A pleasant walk away from Katherine’s studio is Kathie’s Nine Patch Studio, where she creates miniature quilts, which doesn’t quite describe the intricate craftsmanship and artistry that goes into these wonderful creations. Kathie and her husband are a lovely couple and so knowledgable about the entire history of quilts. They offer a fun and informative tour of her work, which is just fantastic. You almost have to see it in person to believe it. I don’t think the pictures on her website quite do it justice.

There are many more wonderful artists on the tour, but those are some of my favorites. If you’ve never done a tour like this, you should definitely try it. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. The good news is there is another artists tour in November. The Catoctin Holiday Art Tour is another great Loudoun artists tour. They haven’t update the website for 2013 yet, but the flyers are out, so they should be doing that with dates and artists lists soon. It’s a great way to do unique holiday shopping and it’s another tour I look forward to every year.

Going to the Dentist Can Be Good PR

I went for my six month dental cleaning today. Not very exciting stuff generally, but today, I mentioned to the receptionist that I’d just published my first book. As it turns out, she’s a big reader and by the time I’d finished having my teeth cleaned, she’d already downloaded my book to her Kindle and posted it on Facebook. How fantastic is that?

Early on in this process, I created business cards with Kristin’s fabulous cover for One Big Beautiful Thing on the front and a brief, one-sentence description and “Available from” on the back. Today, not only did the receptionist at my dentist get one, but so did the woman I always see at the post office and the woman who sells me dog food every month. It wouldn’t surprise me if they all buy it, and I think they’ll enjoy it.

The truth is every writer’s personal network goes beyond family and friends to regular acquaintances who might be very happy to know you wrote a book. It’s worth asking someone who you think might be interested in what you wrote if they’re a reader and if they say yes, give them a card.

From what I understand, word of mouth is still the best way to sell a book, but you have to tell people about it before they can tell anyone else.


I was interviewed by Reading with Tequila today. I’m happy with the interview, but I’m also happy with the name of that blog. Best blog title ever!

I’m also happy to report that I’m finished with the Book Bloggers Directory P-Z in the General Fiction, Poetry, Everything category. Oddly, P-Z had more missing blogs, abandoned blogs, and blogs that weren’t accepting review requests than the other previous sections of the alphabet. I have no idea why. It’s a mystery.

A Life of It’s Own

I try not to focus too much on sales, especially during these early days when I’m still trying to get the word out about One Big Beautiful Thing, but this morning marked a turning point.

This morning I discovered I had four additional sales overnight and I had no idea who bought them. I mostly know who bought the others. Friends, friends of friends, my mother, her friends, my sisters, their friends. I have a really big family and a lot of friends. Most of my other sales have been followed by a note from someone at least tangentially known to me saying “hey, I bought your book.” But not this morning.

So, it’s out there, traveling, beyond friends and family. I hope the new people like it. I hope they tell their friends about it and it keeps moving and being read. It’s exciting and kind of weird.