Finding Your Story: My Wolcott Public Library Workshop


I am someone who tries to maintain normal when things are anything but normal. It’s how I cope.

So I didn’t mention that a loved one was hospitalized in late May/early June. I couldn’t talk about it. They are now home and recovering.

ย  I was also in a really bad car accident. I’ve been and still am in a lot of pain so I cut back on my work. Doing the bare minimum online. Trying to keep the blog hop going.

I had a workshop and booksigning scheduled for June 27th. This is my livelihood. My only source of income. So I had to find a way to do my job despite the pain.

I have sciatica. It means I can’t sit without nerve pain. So I did my presentation by walking around.

My workshop was called “Finding Your Story: How to Tell if an Idea can Become a Novel”.

It focused on how everyone has a story inside them. Could be based on a person, a place or a situation. Something they know as only they can.

I talked about how to find that one thing and walked them through how to develop that idea into a novel.

Photo by Sandra Tansley

Photo by Sandra Tansley

ย The library made these gorgeous flyers that they put up all over town.

Photo by Sandra Tansley

Photo by Sandra Tansley

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do anything to help set up that evening.

Luckily, my mom and my Aunt Cindi swooped in to help. My mom carted in books and all our stuff. That’s 7 trips to the car.

My Aunt Cindi showed up early like an angel of assistance and helped move tables and chairs. But she didn’t stop there.

She did an amazing job with the refreshment table, bringing her own dishes to display the pastries.

There was punch with sherbet to keep it cool…


Photo by Sandra Tansley

And beautifully arranged Twix…

Photo by Sandra Tansley

Photo by Sandra Tansley

And an assortment of pastries on her exquisite serving dishes. She even brought a fancy tablecloth from home.

Photo by Sandra Tansley

Photo by Sandra Tansley

My Aunt Donna helped too. She brought my Grandma H and ran the giveaway, which my Grandma Eileen won (free author swag bag). She was delighted and couldn’t believe she won.

We had a terrific turnout!

Photo by Sandra Tansley

Photo by Sandra Tansley

Thanks to a great audience, especially Bonnie, Bobbie, & Roberta, we had a lively Q&A that kept me on my toes!

When it came time to do the book signing, I knelt on a pillow.

I sold 25 books at the event and signed books until the library closed.

I want to thank everyone who helped make this night possible!

Suzanne from the Wolcott Public Library set up the laptop and projector and did everything behind the scenes to arrange the event for me

The Friends of the Wolcott Public Library for sponsoring my workshop

My mom and Aunt Cindi for helping set up and clean up

Mom for working the cash box on top of 100 other tasks that night

And all my friends, family, and readers who made the night such a success!

Thank you!

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41 Responses to Finding Your Story: My Wolcott Public Library Workshop

  1. You poor thing, I can’t believe you didn’t mention the accident. I hope your loved one is better now and that you have no lasting injuries. 25 is awesome, congrats on the turn out too and hooray for handy helpers.

    • I briefly mentioned it buried in one post. When something really bad happens, it takes me a few weeks to process and be able to talk about it. He is slowly mending. Slower than he’d like but he’s home at least. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be in physical therapy for a while. Thanks. I was really pleased with the turnout as was the library. I couldn’t have done it without Mom and Aunt Cindi. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. winsomebella says:

    Hooray for Team Kourtney :-). So sorry you are having to deal with this pain!

  3. Despite the adversity, it looks like a wonderful event.
    (Keeping a list of the questions asked? Hmmm those might be useful sometime in the future?)
    Speakers actually do best when moving and walking around – it makes you look confident and holds attention.
    Great flyer! Libraries are always a winner and a perfect place for events like this
    (Glad you made it through – hope you feel better soon!)

    • Thanks. They go by so fast. It’s the setup, then waiting for arrivals, then speaking, then signing, then cleanup. I don’t–I probably should, but it’s really hard to run the event and be the presenter. I’m usually the behind the scenes person not the main event person, so doing both roles is pretty exhausting. I definitely did better walking. It helped dispell the nervous energy. Plus I had to advance the Powerpoint presentation. Yeah, they really did a lovely job. The library hadn’t had a good turn out at their last few author events so I was thrilled to bring in a good crowd.

      Me too. Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Congratulations on a great event, Kourtney, despite your challenges. I’m a library manager and we don’t usually expect our authors to clean up! Plus, sadly, author events don’t always get a great turn out, so good work!

    • Thanks Andrea! I asked if I could serve refreshments and they said as long as I cleaned up. I figured it might get a few more people there. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I think a good amount of the audience was word of mouth. I grew up here in Wolcott so people in town came out to support me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. So sorry that you have been going through all this. And I can imagine it must be really hard now that you have something of a public persona to know how much you want to share. Please don’t feel like you need to respond to my comment–I just wanted you to know I am following what’s happening and am thinking of you!

    That said, what a fantastic idea for a workshop. From the photos, it looked as if the audience members were completely engaged. Bravo!

    Sending you healing thoughts.

    • Thanks Audrey. The really bad stuff is something I usually need to process alone. Plus no one wants to hear me moaning about stuff. I’d rather acknowledge what’s happening and try to keep going as best I can. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m always going to respond to your comments. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aw thank you. I am so proud of your short story award. I can’t wait to read it!

      Thanks. I came up with a dozen potential topics that I offer to venues when I offer a free talk/workshop. Once a venue selects a topic, I develop the workshop to their specifications. ๐Ÿ™‚ I tried to keep in mind some are readers and some are aspiring authors and find a nice balance between the two.

      Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. i am so proud of you for getting through the event, Kourtney, despite the pain you feel. I do hope your injuries from the car accident get better soon. It means a lot that you made time to stop by my site xo Take care and rest my friend.

    • Thanks Christy. I’m lucky it was only a couple hours. I rested all day before and the next day after. Thanks! I’m trying to visit everyone who made the time to comment on my blog hop posts. It’s going to take me a week or two but I want to show my appreciation. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Gemma Hawdon says:

    So sorry to hear about your accident Kourtney, I hope you and your friend are on the road to recovery. On the upside, it sounds as though you are doing great things with your novel with such a great turnout – congratulations! (And thanks for visiting my site)

    • Thanks Gemma. We are both making some headway. Thanks–I was really surprised by the turnout at the library and the sales we made! Aw thanks for commenting on my blog hop posts–it was a delightful way to meet you!

  8. jmmcdowell says:

    Kourtney, you are absolutely amazing! And I’m not exaggerating there. I’d been slowly piecing together the realization that the accident was worse than you let on in your Facebook post, but it sounds worse than I’d imagined. You are unbelievably strong to be continuing with the publicity and tours through the pain and rehab.

    Something tells me you would do anything for the family members who came to your aid for this workshop, too. And it’s wonderful to see families that are still supportive in this day and age!

    Focus on getting healthy again, and rest as much as you can. Kai has nothing on you when it comes to strength in adversity!

    • Aw. thank you JM. It was pretty awful. I couldn’t talk about it at the time because I kept having nightmares of the impact. I really had to not think about it. I definitely cut back to the bare minimum online the past two weeks. I was lucky that I had written my posts a couple weeks ahead so I only had one more week of posts to draft. I lost too much time to my previous spine problems. I wasn’t going to let this derail me. Sideline me, yes. But not derail.

      I would. My mom is my biggest help. She works the cashbox, she brings in the boxes of books. She helps me set up. I couldn’t do this without her. And last week my Aunt was an absolute gem taking some of the weight off my mom’s shoulders. I’m very lucky. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I’m still resting lots. LOL. Thanks I think that’s something Kai and I share. A refusal to quit when quitting would be the easiest thing to do.

  9. Arlene says:

    Kourtney, What a great turn out – congrats! I hope the PT and rest help and the pain subsides soon! Do you have any other workshops coming up and if so, where?

  10. Sounds like a truly successful event, Kourtney! Nicely done. ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait until I can be in the audience for one of your talks.

  11. Tuan Ho says:

    Selling 25 books an at event like that is awesome!

    I only sold 3 when I attended an event last time lol ๐Ÿ™‚

    So good on ya! Hope you heal up quickly! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Tuan. ๐Ÿ™‚ I exceeded my expectations for the event. One event I only sold 4 books but one of the readers enjoyed it so much she emailed me to tell me. Sometimes you have to build your readership one person at a time.

  12. Sounds awesome! You rock! Sending over hugs xx

  13. Lori D says:

    Wow, Kourtney, what a wonderful family you have. And, what a successful outing! Very proud of you. Now, I hope you’re taking care of yourself.

  14. Cat Forsley says:

    You amazing Human Being You xxxxx
    i love You xo
    let me just remind you of This Moment
    a Little while ago
    cuz we all need good reminders ๐Ÿ™‚
    look how far You’ve come xxx
    ๐Ÿ™‚ amazing amazing xo C
    love is the best medicine ever xxx
    sending tons xxx

    • Thanks Catherine! Aw how long ago that seems. My hair was red. My dreams were far off on the horizon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for featuring me. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Lots of love and hugs,

  15. Sounds like your signing was a success! Go you! Hope you’re starting to feel better since your accident.

  16. You’re a trooper! And such great support. This is an inspiring story.

  17. EllaDee says:

    It fantastic that amongst all the things you manage so well yourself, you also have Team Kourtney. Being able to accept and appreciate assistance is a huge factor in success, both personal and professional. Sometimes it’s less energy and easier to downplay or keep stuff to yourself… but I hope all the stuff in your world is on the improve ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks EllaDee! I’m lucky to have such wonderful helpers. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it’s the introvert in me. I need time to process before I can talk about things. I hope so too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. The pictures tell a great story, and you make it even greater with the details and the ups and downs. Life, it seems, is but a series of challenges and stories. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Pingback: Life is one grand, sweet song… | elladee_words

  20. Pete Denton says:

    Great you have a good support team around you. This sounds like a great idea for an event and a nice sales at the end of it too.

    I hope you’re feeling better sooner rather than later. ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Mayumi-H says:

    So sorry to hear about those terrible troubles, but congratulations on such a successful evening, Kourtney! It sounds like it was a lot of fun, and well-deserved. I especially like the little detail of you kneeling on the pillow to sign books. I imagine a very Zen, very intimate experience – always a great thing to experience with an accomplished author and teacher!

    • Thanks Mayumi. It was a tough month to get through. But I was able to get through the might with a lot of help. Aw thanks. I had a good time and I think the audience did too since they clamored to buy my book. LOL. It was a bit of a challenge kneeling and trying to personalize 25 books in 35 minutes but I managed to pull it off. I was sweating by the end of the night. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Aw thanks. I learned a lot about presentations from writing conferences and my previous career. I think that helped me put together a fun interactive workshop.

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