Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Junk Gypsy, a Book, and Me

Ever heard of the Junk Gypsy Company?  Who hasn't heard of these two beautiful sisters who turned their backs on college-degreed careers and made a life for themselves out of hunting, repurposing, and selling junk?  From selling their wares in a booth at First Monday Trade Days in Canton, Texas to hosting their own HGTV series, running a store in Round Top, and making over homes and Airstreams, Amie and Jolie Sikes, along with their parents, children, and Jolie's husband, have created a junk dynasty.  And now you can read all about it in their new book, Junk Gypsy:  Designing a Life at the Crossroads of Wonder and Wander available through Amazon.

I've been a fan of the Junk Gypsies since I learned that they were working with my former student Miranda Lambert, having designed her guns and wings logo and designed and carried out a makeover of her tour bus.  I visited their website and I was hooked.  I joined the Blacktop Rambler Cafe forum and ordered more than I could really afford from their Gypsyville online store.

Then I met them!  I doubt if they would remember, but I was at Miranda's concert in Tyler in 2006, and when I walked up to the will call window to get my meet and greet pass, the Junk Gypsy girls were standing right in front of me!  Me being me, well, I had to speak to them.  I introduced myself and said something inane about their jewelry, but they were polite to this crazy lady.  I also met Blake Shelton there at the Lambert's tailgate party that I crashed.  In my own defense, I have known the Lamberts since their and my children were knee high to a grasshopper.  My son was in the same class as Miranda, and my daughter was in the same class as her brother. Blake and Miranda had just begun dating.

The next time I saw the Junk Gypsies was at a Cause for the Paws event, hosted by Miranda to raise money for a local animal shelter.  I actually had a conversation with Amie about the way their art pieces and style was being copied by others.  Who knew they had started a trend in junking and bohemian fashion?  She was so cute dressed in her striped 70's flared jeans and vintage band uniform jacket.  (if I recall correctly)  And she was sweet, too.

The last time I saw them in person was in Round Top during Antiques Week soon after opening the Junk Gypsy Headquarters, an amazing store and showplace, and worth the trip!

You can imagine how thrilled I was to be included in the Junk Gypsy Book Launch Team!  The book does not disappoint.  It is the world of Junk Gypsy at your fingertips:  biographies, personal insights and tidbits about the family, beautiful photographs of projects and places, and ideas and instructions for redoing and repurposing junk!  If you are a fan of junk, or the Junk Gypsies, you must. Go. Now.

Go forth and buy.  If you want an autographed copy, the Junk Gypsies are touring around the country for specific book signing events.  I plan to be at the one in Lindale, Texas on October 15, getting my copy signed!  I hope to see you there!


Friday, August 19, 2016

What the Writers Guild Has Done for Me

Image from here

I guess I never really thought about joining a writers guild until I was invited to speak at a guild meeting last year.  My eyes were opened.  You see, I always thought a writers guild was something like a book club or a quilting guild where you got together to write.  I never wanted to get with anyone else to write.  I write better on my own.  I had entertained the thought of attending a romance writers meeting but only because I wanted to hear the guest.  Then I showed up at the East Texas Writers Guild meeting to talk about grammar.

I was captivated.  Instead of stuffy people with one eyebrow raised and glasses perched down their noses, I found warm, personable, friendly people who have the same passion I do for writing.  They listened attentively, participated eagerly, and, without even asking, persuaded me to join their group.   That meeting literally changed my life.  What has the guild done for me?

1.  It has given me a good boost of motivation to write.  When you have someone asking you what you have written lately, it prompts you to write because you want to have something to tell them.

2.  It has given me a sounding board.  Being among others who have experienced and are experiencing the same frustrations in their writing that you are is comforting and uplifting.

3.  It  has provided writing opportunities in the form of contests and anthologies. I have entered several contests (I actually won a small one!) and have been published in our first guild anthology.

4.  It has provided opportunities for networking with published authors who are willing to share their mistakes and experience so that I don't have to make those same mistakes.

5.  It has provided opportunities for critique groups and mentoring.  I haven't mustered up the courage to join a critique group yet.  I don't think my skin is thick enough, and I have a mean independent streak, but never say never.

6.  It has provided access to a public relations company which has promoted my books and helped me advance my writing career.  I joined Y & R PR after they spoke to our group one night.

7.  It has given me a whole new group of friends and an opportunity to use my leadership skills in working with this wonderful group of people.  In less than a year I am conference committee chairperson and membership liaison!

What has the writers guild done for me?  So much more than I have listed here. I can't recommend it highly enough.   If you are a writer who needs support and inspiration, join us, or find a group close to you!  (or Google "local writers groups")