Goodreads Giveaway Winner, a Booksigning, and a Barrista

Good morning, everyone! A few things to share.

Well, I just completed my first Goodreads giveway. I was happy and elated to discover that 437 people requested my book, and more than 186 of those lovely readers have added Folly Beach Dances to their list.

I received the winner information via email today, and I’m happy to say I’m sending a complimentary copy out to Carolina M (sent you a direct message) in the next week.

I’ve opened up the Goodreads Q&A panel for the first 3 weeks of August, at one question per week, so feel free to pick my brain.

Connect me with at Goodreads, on twitter at @ShereeKNielsen and @follybeachdance.  Click on Folly Beach Dances to visit and follow our facebook page.  And our official website is Beach Dances to order books.

Our photography exhibit and Folly Beach Dances booksigning at Van Buskirks Chocolate Bar went well last evening.

A constant stream of people, including friends, and new faces Vb's booksigning - Sheree and Russellcame by to chat with Russell and me.  They enjoyed espresso, chocolate, libations, and purchased books supporting our mission to donate 10 percent to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Some  shared their love of Folly Beach with us. Others admitted the book would make a great addition to their guest room.  And a friend from high school, Steve, said he was going to kick back and enjoy Folly Beach Dances on his deck with a good cup of coffee. Another friend was the winner of another giveaway – a lovely matted print with prose from the book.

Our booksigning was a little bittersweet, as well. We said farewell to our favorite Van Buskirk’s female barrista, Alexis, who is moving on to big and better things.  She was the sweet smiling face you’d see when entering the cafe. She crafted some of the best espresso drinks west of the Mississippi. With her super personality, natural good looks, and street smarts, I’m sure she’ll do well.  Hope she comes back to visit once and awhile.

Alexis & me

Alexis & me

Another event is scheduled in the next week, August 9 – a booksigning at Main Street Books, St. Charles, Missouri on August  from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

See you there!

 

 

 

 

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Folly Beach Dances – Reflections on a book launch party

May 1, my husband and and I, released our ‘healing’ coffee table Folly Beach Dances for purchase on the book’s official website Beach Dances.  May 4, we kicked off with a IMG_0073book launch party and celebration at Grand Opera House in St. Charles, Missouri.

Our ‘healing’ coffee table book, Folly Beach Dances, combines our love affair with Folly Beach, South Carolina, along with lyrical movements and universal beauty – expressed through dance names. It tells the story of sandpipers, babies, dogs, and yes, even structures moving in infinite rhythm.

Literary interpretations from five award-winning women authors, including us, accompany our photographs of Folly Beach.

Diagnosed with lymphoma in June 2012, I’m donating 10 percent of every book sale to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Debbie Kersting, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Gateway Chapter Director, has written the foreword for the book.

Sunday night was beautiful.

Friends, and family wore the colors of sand, sea and sky.IMG_0184 Ashley Delgado

The sweet vocals of Ashley Delgado mixed with the acoustic musings of Chris Griffith, guitarist extraordinaire.

The three food tables were a cornucopia of sorts. Chocolate-covered almonds, sesame-honey coated cashews, coconut macaroons were a few of the dessert delectables.  Cheddar bay biscuits, prosciutto wrapped mozzarella, and kalamata olives provided sustenance.  Friends arranged the tables for Russell and I, so we could focus on the event.

IMG_0015White tablecloths draped with weathered gray and sandalwood hued napkins complimented the white and caramel-colored candles under glass hurricanes, and balloon bouquets hung from the ceiling and rails.

The speakers for the night – Representative Bryan Spencer, Wentzville district; Deborah Marshall, Warrior Arts Alliance; Kristy Makansi, Treehouse Author Services, and of course, Debbie Kersting, Gateway Chapter Director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Kris Makansi (Tree House), Russell, me, Deb Kersting (LLS), Deb Marshall (WAA)

Kris Makansi (Tree House), Russell, me, Deb Kersting (LLS), Deb Marshall (WAA)

Contributing Authors Pat Wahler, Patt Pickett, Mary Horner and Tina Solomon read a selection of their poems, accompanied by appropriate photographs projected on the wall behind them.

I spoke about the book’s mission, and how important it is to take care of yourself.  There were tributes to friends Rick Wheeler, diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, and friend Dave Reed, who’s overcome Histocytic Sarcoma, a deadly cancer.

And finally, as the program came to a close, Russell and I called Debbie Kersting back up to turn over our donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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There were many door prizes – the book, greeting cards (photos from the book), sparkling juices, and even a black pearl bracelet from the Caribbean.

Friends shared how touched and moved they were by the entire evening, and gave big hugs, kisses, and “I love you’s.”  And even one couple whispered in my ear, “We made a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society this evening.”

Russell and I hoped we made a difference by hosting the book launch.

It’s not really about the book, it’s about the people.

The people you meet at your local Starbucks, the people you’ve known forever, the friendships you forge, the family life time relationships, those you’ve made a difference in their lives, and loved ones that have passed on.

And when you think about it, everybody’s got something.  Physical ailments, issues, hard times, relationship troubles. Isn’t it true?

This book is dedicated to dreamers, the beach lovers, the dancers, the Mom’s and Dad’s, Folly Beach residents and all those with ailments – everywhere.

It’s meant to be a book of self-hope and positivity.

So when you got out into this big fat beautiful (sometimes cruel) world, remember to dance!

It’ll make you feel real good.

Love and Peace and All That Stuff,

Sheree

 

7.5 DSC_0292 lead in photo to At the Beach excerpt sansumi font

 

 

 

 

 

 

A hospital, Heidi Glaus, and some adrenalin

Heidi GlausHave you ever experienced an adrenalin rush so ridiculously huge that you just couldn’t contain yourself?  Those times when words fly out of your mouth – you’re not even sure what you’re saying?  That happened to me yesterday.

My hubby Russell and I surprised a friend at St. Anthony’s Hospital by showing up before his surgery.  After the initial laughter, and “thank you for coming to see me” subsided, he was given something to help him relax for the 1.5 hour procedure.

Upon leaving the prep room, his wife, Sue, remarked, “Let’s grab something to eat.  I’m in dire need of food.”

Being espresso lovers, we discovered a quaint café on premises serving coffee and breakfast.  While walking through the pristine halls to reach our destination, we noticed the floor and wondered if it was coated with polyurethane – it was THAT shiny.  We strolled and talked, and eventually stopping for a bathroom break along the way.

As we approached the first information desk which lead to an intersection of four hallways, I looked up and noticed a familiar face standing at the station.

Adrenalin and the urge to speak overcame my body.

Heidi Glaus! I love you!”  I blurted out loud enough for anyone standing within a twenty-five foot radius to hear.

She turned around, and stepped out of the information station to greet us.

I shook her hand, all the while telling her, I’ve been watching her for years on KSDK.  I told her she had beautiful eyes.  (I know, I can’t believe I said this).  I felt like a star struck groupie meeting Bono from U2 for the first time.  (I love Bono.)

“I love your hair Heidi,” my eyes wide open in amazement.

She smiled and said, “Why thank you.”

Our friend, Sue, turned to Heidi and asked, “How are you doing?”  The two knew each other’s families. They conversed for quite some time, talking casually about a past connection.

I introduced Russell to Heidi, and the two shook hands.

“When you’re on TV, Sheree tells me to shut up.”

Heidi stated that she was filming a story on a special woman at St. Anthony’s.  (I won’t give the storyline away).  She even inquired as to why we were at the hospital.

I mentioned to Heidi I was a freelance writer and photographer.

“Where do you work?”

“Missouri Life, AAA Midwest Traveler, AAA Southern Traveler, AOL/Patch and others.”

I talked about the ‘healing’ coffee table book Russell and I were collaborating on Folly Beach Dances.  The book’s message conveys a photographic and poetic interpretation of how everything in life – people, animals, nature and structures dance — captured on special beach.  And it’s important to take care of yourself.  There are five women authors in the book, as well as Russell and myself.  Living with lymphoma, the project is close to my heart.  The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is involved, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the organization.

During the conversation, a nurse came up from behind and asked me to snap a photo of Heidi and her.  I thought to myself, why didn’t I think of that, and quickly asked hubby to snap a photo of the two of us.

Heidi Glaus is beautiful inside and out.

She’s gracious, caring, intelligent, warm and even funny.  While posing for the photo, she mentioned to my hubby, “Make sure and get my best side,” showing off her derriere to the lens.

Thanks Heidi, you made my day.

And to think, if I hadn’t stop to use the bathroom, our stars wouldn’t have aligned.  Sometimes, surprises happen when you least expect them.

Be sure and catch Heidi Thursday mornings on Today in St. Louis.

Oh yeah, our friend’s surgery went great.  Praise the Lord.

A World Vision sponsor child from Thailand thrives

A letter I received in the mail last week from World Vision International thanked my husband and me for helping our sponsored child Pattraporn over the past five years.  Apparently, our generous support made a huge impact in her life.

The letter went on to say that her community, Phan Thong, was concluding its final stage of development and completed its goals of becoming self-reliant.

It’s sad to say goodbye to a child that we’ve come to know and love.

A card and envelope was enclosed to pen her a farewell letter.  This mailing procedure was a little different, as we wrote our home address on the back flap of the envelope.

In my eyes, World Vision, is amazing.  I watched Pattraporn’s development from an impressionable young girl blossom into a happy teenager.

In my first correspondence to Pattraporn, I enclosed two photos (one of a colorful fish taken while scuba diving), three beaded bracelets and a ribbon.  Although, the children are able to receive gifts, World Visions suggests nothing of real value.  Much to my surprise about a month later, I received a brightly stamped World Vision envelope.  As I unfolded the orange-bordered stationery, I gazed at the signature line.  Pattraporn thanked me for the letter and the gifts sent her.  The tiny gesture of beads, ribbon and photos spoke volumes in her mind.

The young girl lived by the sea, and liked reading and movies.  While reading her return letter, I choked back a tear.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“I wish you could visit Thailand sometime, and me here.”

She ended he letter “I wish you and your family much happiness.  God Bless You.”

What a sweet, thoughtful child.

The recent correspondence from World Vision offered me the opportunity to sponsor another child.  I declined, channeling my efforts into another vision that hopefully will soon come to fruition.

Someone once said, “When one chapter ends in your life, another one begins.”

A photography book, about a special beach, in collaboration with my husband, is a personal project of mine and the next chapter of my life.  I’ve even rallied six local award-winning women authors to contribute to the book.

The monthly dollar amount previously sent to World Vision will now be channeled to the Gateway Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After a meeting with Deb Kersting, Director, I made a pledge verbally (and in writing) to donate a portion of the proceeds to her organization after the book is published.

Some of you may know have come to know me by browsing the pages of my blog. I have low-grade lymphoma.

This book will be dedicated to many.  Those with physical ailments are first and foremost in my mind.

And if you get the chance, sponsor a World Vision child.  It’ll make a difference in your life.