Garage Sales and Annie Tales



I am a garage sale afficionado. So much so that I avoid scheduling classes or appointments or meetings on a Saturday morning, especially now, in spring when garage sales abound. Love hunting sales. Love having sales.

At garage sales, I have gotten not only incredible deals for household and gifts, but also great ideas for stories and novels. And today, after I had read Molly Greene ‘s blog post Yes, the Barn’s For Sale, I decided to share a few of each.

Garage Sale Finds 001

FURNITURE DEAL: One of my earliest, and perhaps one of my favorite, is my oak hall stand, bought years ago. My husband and I went garage saling very early that morning; my parents were visiting and my father was champing at the bit to get on the road. A good choice. Had we been two minutes later we would have missed this steal of a deal.

Passages Book Cover


STORY IDEA: One came from a lady who invited me in to her house to see all her wares. I followed her as she shoved the door open and “navigated her way through a four-foot high labyrinth of cardboard boxes, newspaper stacks, and clothing mounds.” She told me how the loss of a loved one had sent her on a spending spree, one in which she rapidly “amassed four hundred thousand dollars worth of place settings, ornaments, dolls, linens, and Christmas ornaments.” Her story moved me and inspired me to write  Lost Foreverwhich is now in my collection, Passages.




Garage Sale Finds 001FOUR ART DEALS:  When I see a painting or needlework that speaks to me, if the price is right, I grab it.

1) I love the depth of Light and Shadowsa print by F. Carmichael.



Garage Sale Finds 0052) I love theGarage Sale Finds 004 detail of Pinkie and Blue Boy; I have done some needlework and have great respect for the patience and talent required produce this pair. It’s difficult to see in the photos, but the work is petit pointe. I may have walked by them though, had it not been for the oval matte and the octagonal frames.


3) I love my copy of The Forest Has Eyes by Bev Doolittle; every time I run into a problem with a story line, I stare at this picture and hunt for camouflaged faces. (Apparently, there are thirteen of them although I have never counted that many.) The images remind me to look at my story from different angles.Garage Sale Finds 010

Garage Sale Finds 002



4) I love this cross stitch of mother teaching child; it evokes a sense of a roadmap through generations.






ANOTHER STORY IDEA: One day, at a flea market, I noticed a woman who was wearing “knee-high, gold leather, gladiator sandals,” a black, leather mini-skirt, and had long golden hair. Her back was turned to me, but her confident strut brought to mind the image of a femme fatale:  “A blonde Angela Jolie–minus the Brad Pitt connection and the eclectic collection of children.” As she turned, she shook her head slowly from side to side, and her blonde locks waved at passersby. When she faced my direction, my jaw dropped. Why? It’s in the story, Tall Letters. (Again, in Passages.)


Garage Sale Finds 011SPA DEAL: Okay, one more household find. Simplicity here. I like the spa quality of my bathroom; in order to enhance that, I wanted a fancy towel set, you know  what I mean: the ultra-fluffy kind you hang, never use, just throw into the dryer every now and then to get rid of the dust. But I didn’t want to mortgage the house to buy them. I am usually leary of buying any kind of linen or upholstered furniture at garage sales for obvious reasons, but in this case, I knew and trusted the seller. So I bought this set of towels which included 3 bath towels, 4 regular towels, 2 hand towels and 2 facecloths. A stunning deal.


‘NOVEL’ IDEA: And last, my best garage-sale-inspired writing idea to date, is one which arrived at a sale I was hosting. At the time, I was working on my novel, Castles in the Sand, and was seeking something that would represent Castles in the Sand Thumbnail‘forever’ to my character, Sarah. The something wasn’t readily apparent, so I decided to throw the problem out into the universe and see what would show up. Well, into my garage strolled a lady who was wearing flip flops. I noticed that she had tiny paw prints tatooed onto the instep of her right foot. When I asked, she explained that her tiny dog had a habit of parking his front paws on her foot whenever he wanted her attention. She loved that dog and wanted to keep the memory with her always so she used an ink pad to copy his pawprints and headed off to the tattoo parlor. And there, I had it. Sarah’s forever.


Gotta love garage sales!

Wait… you want to know the costs, don’t you?
Oak Hallstand: $30; Light and Shadows: $10; Pinkie and Blue Boy: $15/pair; The Forest Has Eyes: $20; Mother and Daughter Cross Stitch: $10; Towels: $7/set. (Note: All art/needlepoint came with the frames seen here.)

Can’t wait ’til Saturday so I can treasure hunt again!

Annie Signature Light Blue




The Business of Writing: Media Kit & Media Release

Post VI: Media Kit & Media Release



A most helpful book in terms of marketing on a budget is The Frugal Book Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson.  Carolyn’s instructions re: setting up a media kit and creating a media release are clear, easy and accessible. Also most helpful is Carolyn herself who responded promptly to my email! Thanks, Carolyn, for granting me permission to spread this invaluable info!


Media Kit:

Start it now! How?

Make a new, major folder in your computer titled MEDIA KIT GENERAL. All caps. It will contain subfolders labeled in lower case for different sections (e.g. Announcements, Media List, Praise Page, Bio, Photo, etc.) Amazing things happen when you do this: when you need information, it is already at your fingertips. How do you keep it up to date? You develop the habit of Immediacy. As soon as you acquire a piece of info, you drop it into the relevant subfolder. (See The Frugal Book Promoter for a complete list of subfolders.)


Media Release:

Start that now, too! How?

Do this using the following ten puzzle parts: (See The Frugal Book Promoter for detailed instructions.)

1. The Header:

M E D I A    R E L E A S E   ( Caps, large type 18 point Arial typeface with a space between each letter and three spaces between words. Left justify.)

CONTACT 14-point Arial caps, left justified

2. Release Information:

  • Type For Immediate Release (12-point, bold Times New Roman Left Justified)

3. Your Headline:

  • Seize the attention of editor or produce by using the most newsworthy element of your release. (Centered, sixteen point, Arial bold.)

4. Your Dateline:

  • List place, not date. Local media? Type your town/city. Internet? Type ‘World Wide Web’

5. The Lead:

  • Make it simple and brief. It will also be the first sentence in body of your release (below)

The Body:

  • Use Single-spacing. Leave space between paragraphs. Do not indent. Mention the single most newsworthy aspect of event in paragraph after the lead. Next paragraph: type author’s credentials.

7. The Logline:

  • Pitch your book. This is your mini-synopsis. Use one or two sentences only.

8. A Paragraph About You:

  • Type your mini- biography (better yet, copy-and-paste it from your previously prepared MEDIA KIT)

9. Your close:

  •  Type ‘Title is available at ______.’ On another line, type “Learn more at: www…..” Leave a space and type three pound signs ###. Center these.

10. Mention your media kit, photos and other support material:

  • Underneath the pound signs, type “Support material available upon request.”


NOTE: Save what you have as a sample, a template. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you submit a release!

Thanks, Carolyn for The Frugal book Promoter. It was of great help to me and I am sure it will be to others. Highly recommend!

My best to you,
Annie Signature Light Blue