Branding and the Independent Creative


Infographic courtesy of Tom McCall.

I recently attended a panel discussion designed to help the independent creative — musician, writer, performance artist, artist, photographer, etc. — learn how to brand herself. It wasn’t meant to be just about branding, but also about distinguishing one’s self above all the other artists who are also on their independent grind and who are all flooding social media platforms with their brilliance, and drowning would-be consumers with choices. A herculean task, no?

Though the panelists, all in marketing or PR, could not drill down and give specific solutions for each and every industry and certainly not specific individuals, they did offer professional suggestions that could be applied by anyone and that struck a chord:

  • Find your tribe, or as one panelist put it “who are your people?” Connect with those who like your work and with those who are in your same industry.
  • Do the groundwork. Figure out who your audience is and the best way to reach them.
  • Have a plan. Have a team.
  • Remember that social media platforms are not the only platforms that reach people; use every resource.
  • Get out and connect. Go to events specific to your industry and network, as human contact is still the best resource.

What I took away from the discussion is that there’s nothing new, there’s no magic trick to it. There is some luck involved along with the hard work, and that the traditional/old school methods are still quite viable.


Today at the Lakefront


In recent years I’ve mostly used Chicago’s lakefront for utilitarian purposes: running or walking. I’ve rarely gone to just hang out and enjoy the day. I’m always too busy. In years past, especially when one niece in particular lived in the city, we’d go there almost weekly to sit on the rock croppings to talk, be quiet or just enjoy nature as we watched the waves crash or the sail boats glide by. Even when she was a tiny thing, she’d always ask for a trip to the rocks, even occasionally — very occasionally — foregoing a trip to the nearby playground for quiet contemplation in front of the water.

Today I decided to just go hang out and it felt so very good. I was out for about four hours and I loved it. Granted; a significant chunk of that was spent on a phone call with one of my sisters, but still. It was such a pleasure and I realized that I’m going to need more of that — more contemplative time where I just sit and be quiet. It doesn’t always have to be at the lakefront, but I will have to be more deliberate about taking the time.



YUMMY MEXICAN FRUIT SALAD (I could only finish half):


Above are pictures from today and days’ past. Due to erosion, the lakefront has changed drastically just in the past 18 months. The new look is definitely a lot blander, but I understand about conservation and they have re-purposed the old rocks so that we’re still able to enjoy them. I’ve also included a photo of the awesome Mexican fruit salad I was able to buy from a pushcart — something new this year I think. My mouth watered as I impatiently watched the vendor cut up the fresh fruit (pineapple, jicama, melon, watermelon, etc.) and then season it with fresh lime juice and cayenne pepper. The result was 16 oz of heaven.

Catch up on The Meadowlark Saga

with TWO exciting new sequels to Gee Whiz it’s Christmas

Sometimes the best family is the one you make for yourself…
Leonie Brooks will never forget the day she and her three sisters were put into “the system.” At twelve, she’d been the oldest, and used to being in control and responsible for them all. The day that control was snatched away was the day she promised herself that she’d send the world to hell before she’d ever let herself be put into a situation where it could be stolen away again.Sixteen years later Leonie is flying high and riding on a wave of success in the exclusive private equity firm she works for.

She realizes she’d been lucky to have been placed in the foster home of the owners of The Meadowlark, one of the finest restaurants in Atlanta and will be forever grateful for having found another family that supported her and helped her get to a place in her life where she has control. Her hard-won control is as precious to her as a baby is to its parents. The one person she can see herself willingly giving it up for is the boss’s son and it terrifies her, which is why she has made it a point to keep him at arm’s length.

Buck Kilpatrick, IV has loved Leonie almost since the moment he met her when they were 21-year old summer analysts in his family’s firm. He doesn’t know everything about her, but he knows that her past is what’s keeping her from letting go just a little bit and embracing a future with him. She knows they’d be good together, but is too afraid to try, and while he loves their friendship and the sexual teasing they engage in, he wants more — so much more. He has a decision to make, and so does she: continue with the status quo, or cut ties completely.

She had known him for most of her life…

Having suffered horrific abuse as a child that left her deaf, Tabi has worked hard to assert her independence and learn how to survive and thrive as a deaf woman in a hearing world. Her foster brother Scrapper has always been there, lending his support and protection. He’s been both playmate and Knight in Tarnished Armor. One mistletoe-fueled kiss changes all that and now Tabi finds herself struggling with new and unexpected emotions. Intrigued by her attraction to Scrapper she wants to explore those feelings, but there is one major barrier; Scrapper.

Having lived most of his life in foster care Scrapper knows what it is to have nothing and no one, not even his own name. His foster family is the lodestar of his life, the foundation that helps him contain and conceal his deep-seated fears and insecurities, and he is determined to hold onto it at all costs—even if it means he can’t have Tabi, the only woman he has ever loved.




But wait! There’s more! Oh, What a Christmas comes with a FREE BONUS BOOK,  Rumors of Wars

Bounty hunter Perish Blackburn has an unquenchable need to make money. The world is a dark, dangerous place in 2075, a place where only the strong and the wealthy survive. Perish is strong, but she wants to do more than just survive. And to do that, she needs money. Those without money are little better than slaves, a fate she is determined to avoid. Fortunately for her, in a world where paranormal beings are literally falling at her feet, she has a unique arsenal of skills.

Her talents are quite valuable, especially for someone who isn’t squeamish about putting those abilities to use, or particular about whom she uses them for. Things are going quite well and she’s on her way to accumulating another sizable sum of cash when she comes to the attention of the one organization that can totally derail her plans, end her life, and quite possibly, the world, in the process. They have need of a talent Perish has just discovered she has, and given that they’re not the kind of people you can just say no to, she has to figure out a way to say yes and live to tell about it. She’s pretty sure she can, even with the unwanted help of a werewolf with the disposition of an Old World gentleman, a housemate who can only be described as eccentric and a couple of relatives who have been dead for centuries…

BOOM! There you have it: A fabulous way to keep yourself fabulously entertained for several hours, and all for less than six bucks! You better get you some!

Please Accept Our Sincere Apologies

As Ros said, those of you who pre-ordered the book from amazon, please accept our sincerest apologies for this debacle.

the one who writes

If you pre-ordered Oh, What a Christmas and/or Christmas Wishes & Kisses from Amazon you did not get the entire file. There were changes made that for reasons we don’t understand did not go through. THIS IS FOR THE PRE-ORDERS ONLY.

We apologize for the inconvenience, but in order to get the corrected books, you’ll need to return and then re-buy them. Again, we are so sorry this happened.

Hold on to those pre-order receipts and we’ll make it up to you on the next book in the series, Putting the EX in Christmas. Again, this is for the pre-orders only from Amazon. All other copies of the book are fine. 

Oh, What a Christmas

Christmas Wishes & Kisses

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Get Your Binge Reading On! Enter to Win the Binge Reader Sustainability Kit!

The next two books in the Christmas at the Meadowlark Series drop on March 18th. Pre-order the books by midnight EST March 11 and be entered in the random drawing to win the fabulous Binge Reader Sustainability Kit!*

Get Gee Whiz, it’s Christmas; Pre-order Oh, What a Christmas; Pre-order Christmas Wishes & Kisses

Meadowlark Promo RHHMeadowlark Promo RHH 2


Get Gee Whiz, it’s Christmas; Pre-order Oh, What a Christmas; Pre-order Christmas Wishes & Kisses

*We’re terribly sorry, but only readers in the U.S. are eligible to enter the random drawing for the Binge Reader Sustainability Kit!