"What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come." Oprah
Maybe it is lame to quote Oprah, but I'm desperatly hopeful
that she's right. This blog is really to try to deter the premature insanity that was beginning to emerge while I am learning web design, and following my passions. If you have a strong stomach, and good sense of humor, or are one of my friends or family (not optional for that group) please enjoy the ride.
The story starts with post #1, and continues to present day. I will keep you posted (pun intended), with the lasted chapter daily. Also, I will share my reviews of the books I escape with along the way.
Please, read, enjoy, comment, link, or message me. I'd love the feedback, it makes it seem less like I am just talking to myself.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Conversation of Books

That is my passion. I am so excited when I hear, read, see, or engage in a conversation about books. Honestly, that is what prompted Ijustfinished.com in the first place. It is happening all of the time, in the real world, in classrooms, at the watercooler, bookclubs, virtually in oh so many ways, and even on the radio.

It was just this morning that I heard what was supposed to be a movie review, turn into a conversation starter for a book. Listen here as Kenneth Turan of NPR turns his review of The Watchmen (the movie) into a great compliment of the graphic novel. I am sure that many people went to work this morning with just that topic on their minds for lively debates with their friends and coworkers about the validity of books to movies.

That excites me. Call me crazy, or maybe just a passionate book nerd, but I think that the conversation of books is so very important. That is going to be the focus of this blog from now on. I am going to do my little part to ensure that we all keep talking about books.

Next post: the new books I am editing...current title: Let's Talk About YOUR Book! Teaching authors how to promote the conversations of their books.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Here is my contribution to NPR's This I believe....

This I Believe
Renee Giroux

When I was in high school, trying to decide what I was going to be when I grew up, I thought my calling was to help people. I only qualified education, medicine, or some other care taking job as worthy of 'helping people" and making a difference. Following that theory I took the obvious path of nursing, following in my mother's footsteps. I spent the next 15 years as a pediatric nurse, helping people, and hating it. The emotional burden was something that I never successfully walled my heart away from. I grieved for every child, and their aching loved ones. I have never forgotten the names and circumstances of the kids that I cared for. Especially the ones who died. I specialized in the care of chronically sick children, and nurtured their families. I grieved everyday. A child I cared for, for over three years, whose family I have become a part of; died suddenly. It was the breaking point for me. The desire to make a difference in the world was tearing me apart.

After a year or so of soul searching, and asking myself questions like "what do I want to do with my life", and "what am I passionate about?", I finally had a moment of inspiration. I love books. I am a bibliophile through, and through. Reading is my escape, my drug of choice, my worldly (and sometimes otherworldly) adventure. After turning the ideas over in my head and heart for a short time, an idea took hold, and a new career was fashioned. A crash course in web design, and some amazing supporters in family and friends allowed me to take off my stethoscope and launch a website for authors and readers to promote the conversation of books. Until recently, I have felt a little like I comprised that original idea of saving the world, by selfishly following my dream.

I now realize that helping people, as with the rest of life, is not black and white. There are many shades in between. I now know that one does not have to compromise oneself in order to help others. Quite the opposite, actually. In striving to be a balanced person, and seeking joy, I have so much more to offer those who I care for, instead of being a victim to grief, and martyrdom. Having the courage to follow your dreams, take care of yourself, and lead others to do the same is worthy, and noble. By allowing authors to promote their dreams, readers access, and sharing my story with the followers along the way, I am touching people. I believe that following your heart, and pursuing your dreams is not a selfish act, but in fact is touching people around you in ways that are intangible, yet so inspiring.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's been one year, or Thank You Note for Tim, Anne, & Hannah

It was about a year ago that this little blog and big, huge life change started for me. If you follow the blog then you can skip this part, since you already know the story:
Otherwise here is the cliff notes version.
I was a nurse, pediatric, high tech children to be specific, for about the last 14 years. It was the back up plan for me to become a nurse, since I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. Something that is never really taught, or discussed much in the medical profession is the high emotional cost. Grief is a very expensive emotion. As apedi nurse, I tried to kid myself about the ability to compartmentalize, but that requires effort as well. Especially since I usually was caring for a child who had major medical problems in their own home. There is no clinical buffer for the nurse to lean on in pedi home care. Not to mention that it is impossible to not grieve when one of those patients dies. It was a culmination of this emotional overload, one of my beloved patients whose family had become my family, died suddenly that sparked my urgency for a career change. After that, my heart was never 100% the same.

As with all things in life, the need for change in my life brought, well change. I had a beautiful child on the way. She is amazing, and the light in my life. It was shortly after her birth that I went back to home care forpedi patients, for the last time.

I was assigned to Hannah, and her family. If ever people are sent into your life who will touch it irrevocably, Hannah and her family were sent to me. I cannot tell you what an amazing a family they are, since it would seem sappy and like I was sucking up. You will just have to take my word on this. They are amazing people! And Hannah, what a little ray of sunshine! She was a few months older than my daughter, and I was working nights, so I got to manage her care during her cutest time of the night. She was the perfect patient, and they had wirelessInternet to get me through the nights. (Yes, I know you are wondering, I did have to stay awake the whole night)

I was struggling with an infant at home, the need to sleep, postpartum depression, and trying not to bond with this beautiful baby and her amazing family. My friend suggested that I work with her as a virtual assistant. I was trying to help her grow her Internet business. Then it happened. I remember the night. I read a blog about following your passion, and that is how you know what to do with your life. I was stuck on my "passion". So I went to my book to escape, and had the light bulb. Books and reading are my passion.

It was then in those early hours at Hannah's house while I was watching her sleep and making sure she was breathing (fundamental part of my job) that the whole site, and my need to become a web developer came to me as clear as if it was all being laid out for me.

Anne (Hannah's mom) was the very first person that I told about the idea. She willingly listened, and feigned excitement. Of course, I then began to tell everyone I knew and my enthusiasm took on a life of it's own. I, of course, had no foresight, or in site to my own computer ignorance. I had always taken on the world by, "if there is something I want to know I will learn it. After all I read, and am resourceful." So, I thought, web design, no problem! Silly girl!

Well, lucky for me, and here is where the thank yous and the mushy part starts, Tim (Hannah's dad) is a computer guy. I use the term loosely, but trust me, computer guy for BIG Austin computer company, and really, really smart. He began educating me, and believe me I needed schooling, about the basics. I tormented him with endless questions and broken computer issues. He patiently fixed and answered my endless stream of "so what is a server, again?" and "so open source means free?" questions. He also introduced me to life savers like Google docs, (which I use EVERYDAY) and Mozy.com, (since I had no idea what backing up your files meant), and well even here, blogger.com.

All I was bringing to the game was them sleeping knowing their daughter was secure for the night. They were opening up a WHOLE new world for me. They humored me with looking at my sad, oh so sad first design ideas. They gave me tips and tricks, and were so supportive and friendly.

They were also amazingly understanding when I finally got the need to walk away from nursing all together and jump off the cliff of wed development and start up business owner, without notice. They have continued to be supportive, reading my newsletters, and looking at the site.

Most importantly, they have continued to include me in Hannah's updates. I have celebrated with them (virtually of course) when Hannah's trach tube was removed, when she started walking, and I still cherish reading Hannah's blog to hear about the day to day in Hannah's world.

This post was originally to commemorate the year mark of the whole about face in my life, and that light bulb that went off in my head, and my life, at Hannah's bedside a year ago. Every time I thought about what I wanted to write, all I can really remember is how much I appreciate Anne and Tim and Hannah. What am amazing profound affect they have had on me and honestly, everyone else in my life, by proxy.(little computer humor)

My life will never be the same, and I have now reached the point in my new journey that I no longer introduce myself as a nurse. I know that I will not ever have to go back to nursing, and that is a dream come true, really.

I am also so thankful that Hannah was my very last patient, and she is such a little miracle that I plan on attending her graduations, all of them! She is a special child who will undoubtedly touch every person that she encounters. She certainly touched me. I have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, and Hannah and her family are on that list.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Here is the first post on the blog, that begins the journey and tells the story from that point of view: the very first blog post!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Start Up Growth is a painful process.

Today I took my toddler to her second day at her new daycare. We toured the center last week, and met with the owner. She told us about how they had been renting the back part of the center for the last 3 years, and had just purchased the entire shopping center, and were in the process of renovations, and redesign. At the time, I was totally focused on my daughter's new school, not the relations of startup pain.
Then this morning, I was dropping my daughter off when her class was heading to the lunchroom for snack. That meant that they were going to walk around the building, holding their rings (on a rope to keep them together), down the step, along the rock path, and up another step. Awkward, and inefficient, but not awful. Probably more stressful on the teachers, and the kids than the center's owner realized.
As I was walking back to my car, I thought, I guess those are the growing pains of owning, and growing a business. (yes, here is the tie in) Then I realized that those are the same type of awkward inefficiencies that we have had with Ijustfinished.com. The steps, rock paths, and ring ropes until we find the best way to do something.
That is the burden of a start up, well the learning curves, and all the money, but that is a whole different post.
Tomorrow, the whole team is meeting to do a big planning meeting, finalize the redesign, and refocus. I think that is the way we cope with the learning curve. Identify what works, what doesn't and put an action plan together. Wow, I am a very long way from my comfort zone as a nurse, and despite the general discomfort, it feel pretty damn good.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The 2008 Nationl Book Award Finialists ( and my six degrees of seperation)

I know people. I am a social girl, I have always known people. This time it is different. I was researching, being the good book website owner, the National Book Awards nominees that were announced today. (Please refer to the official site for the whole list and video of the announcement)
I was reading through the list, and of course recognized some names, but then, like a bolt, I read a name that I knew. Not that I recognized from the book world, a name of a person that I KNEW, like as in a family friend! Almost like reading your own name, shocking.
I am honored to know Kathi Appelt, 2008 National Book Award Finalist. My kids have her books at home on their bookshelves. I have heard her read from her books at church. She a great woman, a good friend to my mom, and is very passionate about writing children's literature.
It is true that people can stay persistent to what they love to do, and become successful. I am sure that I am my own worst critic, but I'd bet Kathi can relate to that. So I have a huge CONGRATULATIONS to Kathi, and thank you for inspiring me to keep doing what I am passionate about as well! Don't forget to visit Kathi on her site: http://kathiappelt.com/ and read her new book: http://kathiappelt.com/articles/the_underneath

Sunday, September 21, 2008

IJustFinished's Book Reviewers Made My Day!

For those of you that follow this blog, you already know that this blog/website(Ijustfinished.com) and start-up are all the pursuit of my dream. For those of you just landing on this page, or just finding Ijustfinished.com for the first time you may see a nicely polished book website. Regardless,in reality there are a lot of blood, sweat, and tears behind the site. Last night was I had a "Thankful Gratitude" which was again rekindled this morning.
Here's what happened...
Last night, (Sat) I had a lot of business to do in Austin. I still consider Austin home, and all my friends are there as well, and a couple of Ijustfinished.com's team members. We (SilverBack and I) were with Luvyaduvya, and out of the blue one of our oldest friend calls and invites everyone over to have dinner, and hang out. After debating the luxury of a social life, since we are at least three weeks behind with work for Ijustfinished.com, we decided to stay for a while and you know, socialize.

Although we had a great time, I felt very guilty that during this 'free time' I should have been working, and the site was being neglected. We drove home (about 2 hours) and just got settled to bed, and my phone chimes (hey Renee, you have new email), so I check my email on my phone. Yes, I do know that I have issues, thank you very much. There in my in box on Sat night, two new reviews submitted for the website. I was so excited that people think enough of Ijustfinished.com to go there and write and post a review, even on Sat night. I went to bed thinking, "the site is going to make it after all, the people we have are just amazing".

So then this morning, I began to manage the reviews that have accumulated over the last 24 hours, and here is the really cool thing. We also had a new reviewer register yesterday, and she (Alexis88) submitted a review. Her review was in response to another review posted on the site previously, giving "All Ye Zombies" a 1 rating, and the newest reviewer loved the book. So she was compelled to write a dissenting review of the first review. HOW COOL IS THAT!! That is the conversation of books! That is the whole point of the site, for people to talk about what they like and hate and how books affect them. That is the reason why the site was founded in the first place, and today I feel like a very proud parent.

I cannot begin to thank all of the reviewers enough. Since Aug 1st, 2008 when the redesign, and the ability to upload reviews went live, the amount of reviews, and quality reviews posted is amazing. Reviews are posted everyday, and we are nearing 100 reviews posted. There are sites with years behind them, whose numbers we are gaining. I cannot thank you all enough!

We are continuing to schedule authors to interview on 'Coffee with an Author' and working to bring authors and readers together for the conversation of books. The reviewers are amazing, and I spend a large amount of my time working to get more books from publishers, which I can in turn send out to this amazing, ever growing community of book reviewers. I am honored to so for you all, and am humbled by the passion and intelligence demonstrated on Ijustfinished.com everyday.

Thank you so very much!

(Forgot to mention the last trip to Barnes & Nobles 18 books that we have reviews posted were being featured, 5 on the first table when you walk in!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Young Adult Series Trend

The biggest trend that the entire publishing industry seems to have embraced is the young adult series'. Fantasy series seem to be the favorite. Maybe since youth have great imaginations, I am not sure.
Here is my observations. I distinctly remember my parents mentioning Harry Potter as is was just beginning to gain momentum in the US, and I thought 'why are they so excited about a kids book'. Then they went on and on about how I needed to read the book, so I did. Needless to say, we all would go the first day or pre-order the books as they were published. We had to each get our own copies since no one wanted to be the poor schlup who has to wait until everyone was finished to read the book.
For me, and the rest of the book world it seems, that was liberating. Not only have I picked up many more YA books and series, authors were able to write to that audience that was youth, crossed over to adults. The YA genre is one of the biggest requests that we receive from Ijustfinished.com's reviewer profiles. Not only that, it is an almost sure fire hit for publishers. Many of the series have such a loyal following, that people (note I did not say kids) pre-order and line up for the next in the series. To follow that up, they seem to translate to the big screen quite well. Many YA series have been become movies. Many successful movie series actually started as successful book series, including "The Princess Diaries" by Meg Cabot, and of course the latest due out this Dec is "Twilight".
That brings to mind the down side of the trend. Series are nothing new, even the James Bond movies that are books first and then became movies. The pressure to continue characters and story lines has to be difficult, but keeping YA readers happy is a challenge in itself. Teenagers are a fickle bunch anyway, and just in the way that characters evolve and grow and present themselves differently through their experiences, so does the YA demographic. I clearly remember the tone and mood change of Harry Potter in book 5, when he became a full blown teenager. He was darker and more brooding. As an adult reading, you know that is part of the process, but as a teenager, that might be enough for them to put the series away. That pressure has to be tough, along with the leaking of plots and rumors of story lines.
The great thing about the trend, however, is that it allows for the most creative worlds, and stories. Marie Rutkoski author of "The Cabinet of Wonders" dropped by 'Coffee with an Author' a few weeks ago, and the world she created is so original and creative that it takes you back to childhood. Maybe that is the attraction for those of us adults that enjoy YA so much.
I really hope this is a trend that finds a permanent place in the publishing industry, and doesn't flicker out.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Go to the Bookstore

My new favorite way to regain focus and feel great about the site is to go to the bookstore. Yes, I know you are saying, I am sure trips to the bookstore are not a new found thrill. (And, yes I buy all books on the site through Amazon now anyway.)
It has taken on a whole new meaning. I used to go to the book store to pick out books to read, like normal people. Now I only go to the bookstore to take a mental health break, and count all the books that we have posted on Ijustfinished.com. It has become a new game. I go to all the "New Arrivals" "New Fiction" and "Best Sellers" areas, and any other cool displays and look to see how many of 'our' books are there. I really got excited to see Kathleen McCleary's book House and Home displayed on the "New Fiction" shelf the other day. I thought, hey I know her, she just interviewed on our site!
Today I counted 11 books that have current review on the site, and I was just passing through the store. It is so exciting to follow along the life of a book, and know that I am participating in it's journey. It feels like the tiny parts of a dream coming true.

Speaking of my dreams, we are planning on attending the Texas Book Festival as press, so any of you readers and writers alike please let me know if you will be there, we want to meet you! It would be so great to have the members of the site participate in the "Conversation of Books" video series. Look for lots of great info to follow regarding the Texas Book Festival (Nov 1 & 2).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New book trends: The Digi Novel

A perk of becoming a book world insider is that you get tons of info on the book world. I really had no idea, although I am not sure why it never crossed my mind, books are like any other industry, there are behind the scenes things going on all the time. One of the cool things that I have begun to notice are the cool new trends in the publishing world, and I thought instead of just making a note in my head, "oh, that is a cool idea" I would make them a new segment here. That way you all can enjoy the new trends as well, or at least become aware of them and decide what you think. I'd love to hear either way, what you think about them, and if you are buying in or opting out...

Here is the latest on that has gotten my attention:

The Digi Novel
This is ever book lovers fantasy, the mystery novel (series) will be accompanied with movie footage. Not in the usual way however. You read the book, then you have codes to unlock the footage on a website to watch the movie, and get more of the story. Kind of like the old choose your own adventure books, but much more. Then there will be interactive communities built around the books. Both Dutton, and Scholastic are launching their own type or version of the idea, but I can tell you that id done well, these could be a really cool new trend.

Here is an article explaining more details in Publishers Weekly about the Dutton deal.

I will keep adding new trends installments along with the Ijustfinished.com story, thanks for following along!

Monday, August 25, 2008


I love love love books! I know that goes without saying,and at this point, that is no secret. Strangely, since really digging into ijustfinished.com about a year ago, my time actually reading has fallen off. I have been so busy I have not made time to read. Long story short, I needed a tiny mental health break. So, I took some “me” time and have dug into my To Be Read pile.
After zipping through Katie MacAlister’s latest Silver Dragon’s novel,
then I got cozy with Fearless Fourteen. Good ole Janet E. knocked it home. Now, I am juggling Dr. Karp’s Happiest Toddler On The Block and How Come No One Knows About Us (yes I know that is work related, but it is also going to be the push over the edge on the site’s success), while being teasedby a new fresh copy of Twilight waiting to be cracked for the first time on my nightstand. I am eager to get sucked into another vivid world, but diligently finishing my non-fiction first.
Last night Harry Potter was on TV, and I was actually wishing I had not yet read the whole series, ’cause I miss the excitement of that story unfolding. I guess it is a good thing that I had to wait the year between each book like everyone else, since I think if I just found it now, and read them all straight through I would probably have to start taking medication for the sadness I would feel when it was over. The sense of loss of the story would have been too much.
That is precisely why I love books. I love being compelled to feel joy and sadness, grieve, and reflect , made to think, and moved to rejoice. How cool that someone else’s thoughts, ideas, dreams or knowledge can evoke those emotions in me, or the entire world. That is really an amazing way to touch people and be touched.
Now, I am getting back to the reason behind the my motivation for ijustfinished.com, and I feel more focused, and excited that when the ijustfinished’s idea seed first took root in my brain. I cannot think of another group of people that I’d rather spend my life working for, talking with, and helping succeed, than readers and authors. Thank you for fueling my passion.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Pink Felt Hat 2

Pink Felt Hat 2
Originally uploaded by JunieFlickr
I have been beating myself up for not blogging as often as I should, but struggling cause most of what I think to blog seems like complaints that I have too much to do and not enough time to do it all. No one likes a whiner! So, I pulled up my chair (well ball actually, yes I sit on a giant pink ball to work, don’t laugh) and decided to take off all my other hats, and there are many, and put on my blogger hat, to get the creative juices flowing. Of course, the idea was a metaphor when I went to Flickr to find a cool hat picture, (something about scanning Flickr for just the perfect image helps me get in the writing mood), and I found this hat. I think it is so stinking cool, now I am going to have to go out and find one.

More to the point…..What is going on here in my crazy world. You may have noticed that the new look has launched on ijustfinished.com and is getting great reviews.
Some of the bugs, and my “ideas” as the rest of the teams likes to call them, are still being hashed out, much to my frustration, but overall it is rocking.

We have tons of new reviewers. They are signing up, entering their profiles, and sending feedback. That is very exciting. Soon they will have a meet the reviewer page, so the community feeling will continue to grow. That is what I am the most excited about!

Publishers are sending up ARCs for review, and beginning working relationships with us, that I hope will one day turn into advertising, once they see how invaluable the site with be for marketing their authors, and new books.

You might have heard me and my Texan drawl along with the rest of the ijustfinished.com team on the first “Coffee with an Author” podcast, up on the site, or on iTunes, or blogtalkradio.com. The show is our weekly podcast where authors chat about what they just finished. You can subscribe to the weekly show via iTunes or Blogtalkradio.com, or listen from our site.

We are also working with a videographer, Debbie, who is polishing our video cast, “The Conversation of Books”, and expect to have the snappy new intro and a weekly installment for the everyday reader, giving candid reviews of what they are reading.

That is the cliff notes version of the goings on here at ijustfinished.com. As you can see, I have many hats, and am a busy girl. Now, I have to put on my errand girl hat (think really stylish news boy hat) to head to the post office, so I can get all these books out to our awesome reviewers!


Monday, July 21, 2008

The Social Media Maze

Digital Identity Mapping
Originally uploaded by fredcavazza
In the marketing push I have been diligently building up our social media networks. Today I planned on posting about the unexpected complexities of the task. As usual I went to Flick.com to find a relevant picture, and typed in Social Media as the key words.

So, now I am going to post, while in tears, that unless you are willing to make social media marketing your full time job, it is so very daunting. Even the images, like this one, still have sites missing. It is a dynamic, overwhelming, maze that can easily be overwhelming.

That is my sole purpose of my post today, not books, or reading, or Ijustfinished.com, but to tell all of you that are overwhelmed by social marketing/media you are not alone!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Originally uploaded by Dave & Bry
I have no excuses, instead I thought I would use the random excuse generator. I have a plenty of distractions. And, I can blame the boys (Silverfox and Silver Back) who are finishing the programming aspects of the site, but the bottom line is that I should have been blogging my setbacks and distractions. I mean, that is the point of blogging, right?

So, enjoy the excuse generator, and look for a better blog, I promise! I will blog, even the crying and whiny days.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Nice to know you are still reading...

I have not written in a while. It is true. I am shamefully embarrassed. I have been in transition in my life and with the site. So, to be honest I have thought that I don't have anything original to contribute. That is my whole excuse. Not a great one, I know, but I have felt like I keeping telling everyone to check back and see the new look and feel of the site, but it keeps being held up. So, I am frustrated. Plain and simple. I have this chronic problem of biting off more than a mouthful, and then expecting it to happen tomorrow. So rest assured that the new look and feel of the site is coming, and I am working hard on the site. I am also receiving awesome reviews everyday from our great reviewers. They will all be posting with the new look. There is a whole interface and page for reviews, as well as a profiled review on the homepage.
So, I will keep trying and hanging in there, and I hope you all will as well!
Thank you all so very much!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Better to light a candle...

Better to light a candle...
Originally uploaded by Inners
I am not going to feel guilty for not blogging! I will not feel guilty for not blogging, hey wait, is that a double negative. I will not feel guilty for bad blog grammar! I will not feel guilty for bad blog grammar! Okay, I will make a sacrifice to the the blog Gods, and move one with my day, maybe light a candle or something.
I am still here and still making my way through this crazy journey into cyberspace. Admittedly some days, I mean some weeks are easier than others. The bottom line is that I am not a patient person. I have the site redesign all laid out, and ready. I have an action plan for the new launch, and tons of marketing ideas. The coding is stalled, it just takes time, it is complicated, and I ask a lot of the people that are helping me. So, much to my discouragement, there is not a SHAZAM moment yet! There will be, soon, I am sure, but in the mean time, I am trying to stay focused and keep my head up!

Oh yeah, and it is almost July and I may be the least tan person I know. I should get some sun! The problem, it is hard to see the computer screen when it is sunny outside, plus I sweat, and God knows if I am going to be sweating, I better be doing more than just typing!
Oh well, I am off to send out more books for review. BTW, if you'd like to review books for the site, just drop me a line. I'll get you on the list!
Off to work, work, work!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

"When I came to, I had a revelation, a vision, a picture in my head" Doc Brown...Back To The Future

I laugh when I watch this video, right until I realize that Doc is sounding like me. I have a revelation, a vision, a picture in my head. And I have dedicated my time and money to making it work. I just hope it is not 30 yrs and my entire family fortune. LOL!

The reason for my self deprecation is that I have again had a revelation. We have to redesign the site. When I originally designed the site, it was very very pretty. I found my self asking, "wonder why no one else does their site like this?". Then the design restricted the function, so I opted for a quick redesign to simplify, but really felt like I was settling on the look.
Now, the learning curve is slowing,and I am understanding a basic web or maybe life concept. Function must dictate form. Period.
While it is not totally back to the drawing board, I am crumbling up the current design and implementing a whole new one. And, yes it is "a vision, a picture in my head". That is the trouble with all that reading for fun... cultivates a vivid imagination.

Looking forward to any feedback you guys have for the new design! Reassures me I am not always talking to myself.

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Secret to Successful Plate Spinning

I love YouTube! You can learn so much form that awesome sight! For example, I wanted to post tonight about how much difficulty I am having managing all the jobs in my life, my many hats. So I was going to use the plate spinning analogy. I went to find a nifty picture, but soon realized that you lose the effect of the spinning without video. So, you know..light bulb.. get a youtube video instead. Here is what I found:

But, then I watched the video, and had a moment of clarity. See, here is where I have been going wrong. (hopefully you are watching the guy look cute with his viking hat and metal brassiere, stand there and look pretty, while his assistant get the plates spinning, and well.. keeps them spinning. That is where I am falling short. I am trying to be the one with the metal brazier remaining perfectly balanced, and do the job of the very busy assistant making all the plates spin, put them in place, and keep them freely spinning, all while staying perfectly balanced, and looking cute.

Guess I'd better get an assistant! QUICK! and I may check into a metal brassiere too, just in case.

Friday, June 6, 2008

"I'm so happy that I can't stop crying"

ripping hair out
Originally uploaded by Dan4th
Yes, another song playing in my head. The one by Sting. Well, just that line anyway...

Today is a defining day in the painful learning curve. It is the growing pains of spending a huge effort networking, and getting attention to the site (ijustfinished.com), then not having the foresight to set the forums up properly. So, now that there is a nice little community building there, we have to reset the whole forum boards. Posts will be deleted, and people will be disgusted I am sure. I am!
It is frustrating, but I am reassured that it is part of the process, and the learning curve that comes with the beta testing, and such a huge project.

The great news is that Jeremy is so freaking smart, that he in untangling the forums, and his also smart daughter has started working for Ijustfinished.com also. That will take a lot of pressure off of me, since there is enough work for 12 people right now!

So, as I laugh myself delirious, please have a heart help get the forums rocking! Or call with sympathy...either way, thanks for the support!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Newfound BEA Coolness Factor

There are lots of really cool things that happened at Book Expo America 2008. I will blog about them over the next weeks I am sure, after my brain can catch up with the weekend, but I obsessed over one minor selfish tidbit.

I know it will seem silly to most of you, but when you have a name like Giroux, no one ever pronounces it correctly, and I never, ever meet anyone else with the same name. The way that most people get "oh, I know a Smith in your area, any relation?" after you rintroduce yourself, that never, ever happens to me. Most people just try to ignore the weirdness, after mutilating the pronunciation of my name.

Except at Book Expo! Know why? Cause Giroux is the last part of Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux a HUGE publishing house. If you ever notice on your books, many of them are published by F,S, & G as they are commonly known. So as soon as I (well, me and 25 thousand other people) walked in to the trade show floor, what did I see....


Yep that is right, my last, Giroux, name big and bold, on the GIANT banners with lighting, and a gorgeous booth, and general coolness all the way around!!! So there, Spencer Anderson for making fun of me in the 6th grade, see, my name is cool! (yeah Dad, this post is for you too! See, we rock!)

Book Expo America

I am still here and reporting from Los Angles, CA, the biggest book event in the world. I am in book lovers heaven. You can see from the pictures that we are "press" which is very cool, especially since it is this blog originally got us that status. I am there with Micah (luvyaduvya) then chocking Naomi (musesacres) since she forget to turn her phone on all day, and never checked her email. She was is big trouble!
After the long day we trekked to an Irish Bistro and Michael was our waiter. I promised him a shout out! He brought over Evan (his boss) who was from Austin and relocated out here. It was a nice meal, and they were fun and friendly.
Then spent the rest of the night doing pressly things for the site. It feels great and fulfilling to be doing and living my passions and seeing me make things happen. It is however, work. There is no sugar coating that. So anytime that I feel discouraged I remember that at least this work is not wiping someone's butt, or doing mean things to kids.
Speaking of kids, though, Hannah ( my last little patient) got her trach out, and has gone home a normally breathing, happy, healthy toddler, who is also now learning to walk! Go Hannah. It warms my heart to end my nursing career with such a wonderful family and outcome! That girl is going places and changing the world, that I can assure you all!
So, now I gotta go, so I can keep working on making my mark on the planet. See y'all later!

Blog CPR!

This is me breathing new life here........

As those of you know who follow the ijustfinished.com site blog know, I am at Book Expo America in Los Angles. After attending a bloggers workshop, and talking to a few people, I have learned that people want to follow my insane journey. There was a request to go back to this blog, so here I am. Humbled and honored!
Actually, since I am reporting from BEA, I am slightly more insane than usual. I think I may have developed adult onset ADD, cause I cannot even process it all!

After looking back at this blog, it is very clear that there is a big gap of missing work. You will have to check out the www.ijustfinished.com to get filled in on the new look, link to the blog for the posts that bridge the gap, and talk on the forum.

Otherwise, in my life....what is new?
My baby(Bella) that I reference from the beginning, she is a toddler now. My son(Josh) is starting high school next fall. I have an amazing new boyfriend (Jeremy), and am in love like I have never been in my entire life. Expect to be hearing lots more about him.
I am doing freelance design and writing from my other site www.inspireddesignconcepts.com.
I am also doing reviews for several online sites, and recently got accepted to review for Publisher's Weekly Magazine. I am very excited about that.

Today was a full day at BEA, and I hope to have more exciting stuff to report, more pictures, and more brain power. So, stick with me kid, this is going to be a fun ride...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yes, I admit I stalked him...

It is true, I have resorted to stalker tactics. I found Matt Herzberger, not that he was hiding so much as not getting my emails. So I resorted to AIM. Then strong armed him in to lunch today. HE was very gracious about it, and did not inflict the 5 or 10 question limit that some of my family and friends have resorted to when we have conversation. I did give him the warning label, that I was a question asker, and still he agreed to lunch.

I thoroughly picked his brain to the point that my poor brain is on overload. Bonus, he suggested a cool place for lunch that I had not been to, they have WIFI, and so I will be working at Blue Baker often, now. (nice booths, good food, and my favorite jazz streaming in)

So the plan is a big brainstorming/marketing/site meeting for Monday, and I will announce some really cool new stuff we will be doing.

Also, tomorrow, at class, we will be installing the database to begin loading books to the site. Keep watching, something really special is happening here!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!!! I couldn't resist the picture, that is Bella, yelling greeting to everyone. I though I should do the same.

Today's news is good. Lots of brainstorming going on, and Robert reports that he finished the back end of the database that will manage all the book info. I am working on beautifying the message boards. We are also planning on using the networks of writers groups to beta test teh site, before the big user launch. A marketing plan, and task action plan is forming, and we have all agreed that by May, in time for Book Expo America, we will be fully functioning. It is a lofty goal, but we will succeed, the is no other option.

Also, we are going over a press plan for Book Expo America, so we get as many interviews from Authors, and other book insiders that we possibly can. That way we can get them on to the site for everyone to enjoy, as well as get that info out there to bring others back to the site. Don't be jealous, I know we would all love to meet all our favorite authors, but I cannot afford to take everyone, so you will have to live vicariously through us!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Matt Herzberger.com » Bio

Matt Herzberger.com » Bio

Exciting times! I have lots of exciting things going on around the I just finished camp.

First: Today was the social media luncheon for the IABC. Matt ( refer above ) was the guest speaker, so I have been looking forward to the speech. So much so that I talked Robert the web teacher into going, also. I was one of those talks, that we went away from brainstorming the whole drive home. Matt offered so much insite and information that my poor brain is still spinning. I sent him ( Matt) a lunch proposal, so that I could further exploit his knowledge. No answer so far, but he seems really nice.

Second: The site is up, not really functional yet, but up none the less. We are still working on the database that allows us to load the books, but that should be finished by the end of next week. I also finished the bookmarks ( the first run anyway). They are really beautiful, and I think they represent the site well. They were popular at the luncheon today. Feel free to leave a comment or email me, and I will happily send you some.

That is the news of the day, now I have to go actually gather some real "book news" so I can get the book news section written.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

"Live, Love, Laugh" I have been fond of this way of thinking for years. Should I say before it became a decorating technique? When I opened up my Oprah magazine and found a small excerpt with Elizabeth Gilbert's new book "Eat, Pray, Love", I was intrigued to see if she thought in a way that might change my way of thinking. Who wouldn't want to include eating in their passions? The small excerpt was interesting and left me wanting to read more. The next day I rushed out to get this new book. It was only in hardback at the time so it was definitely a sacrifice for me to pay extra to read a book by an author that I knew nothing about. To my surprise, the book was great. I really enjoyed Elizabeth's journey and she kept my interest with the small story about the "guy from Texas". I read to the end hoping to find out the Texan was my neighbor or even our governor. Needless to say, she kept it a secret and probably for good reason. If it would have been Matthew McConaughey I would have been booking a trip to a Budhist retreat.

About a year later I heard Oprah announce a new book that "Will Be Life Changing". I had to have that book! I watched anxiously awaiting my life change. If reading a book was going to change a life then I am all into a good read! To my surprise the book that I had read so long ago was the life changing book she was talking about. I am not sure that "Eat, Love, Pray" was life changing for anyone but Elizabeth Gilbert or someone that was inspired to move to another country to find something to change your life but it was a good read and definitely made you think about what is really important in your life. It was a book that I passed on and recommended to others but I didn't give any promises with my suggestions. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

I took the day off!

Originally uploaded by Paleontour
Yes, it is true. I got the sites up, and online then I took a day off. It started with sleeping in, which with a baby is a huge luxury. Then, a friend met me for lunch, and afterward, we went shopping at the mall. Power shopping, all afternoon. It was the kind of afternoon you have to go home a relax from! I didn't buy much, since I have no regular income, but I did enjoy the process of looking around. It was so nice. Everyday, I have gotten so focused on "what did I do today?, it was nice to not worry today. My lesson for the day is that everyone needs a day off now and then! Tomorrow, back to the grindstone, and getting content loaded to the sites!!!

Monday, March 10, 2008

5...4...3....2.....1......blast off!!


We are live!!! It is true! Try for yourself. After a four hour class with Robert, both sites are up and running. No exciting content yet, but a step in the right direction. I will be spending the next few days and probably weeks loading content, especially into the database for the boo title population. I won't bore you with the gory details of how the back end works for the site to run smoothly, just bear with me, it is coming. Also, you might see that the message board it up for the Ijustfinshed.com site, but also has to be populated with the books, and authors as they are listed onto the site. I am also teasing you guys with a list of the authors I am loading first. I have some commitments for help from fellow reading book lovers, and these are the authors that they have agreed to monitor. Since they love these books, I am sure that many people do as well, plus seems like as good of a starting point as any. Also, a little tidbit for the followers of the blog, the link to the blog with become the monkey on the bookshelf. I think I will keep it a secret link, though. On with the list:
Nora Roberts
Laurell K Hamilton
Christine Feehan
Maggie Shayne
Patti Callahan Henry
Sophie Kinsella
Nicholas Sparks
Libby Bray
Sara Shepard
Kim Harrison
Lyndsey Sands
Stephanie Rowe
MaryJanice Davidson
Charlaine Harris
Katie MacAlister
Kelly Armstrong
Jim Butcher
Simon Green
PN Elrod
Casey Daniels

That is of course just the tip top of the iceberg!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Remember Me? Sophie Kinsella

A must read! I sound like those old dudes that review movies but I can't think of any other way to get you to run out and get Sophie Kinsella's "Remember Me?". It is great. You could wait and watch the movie because it is sure to be the next big chick flick right after Hollywood finishes her first movie, "Shopaholic". I am officially a junky! Lexi wakes up with amnesia. She is not the person she is. No really, she is sweet and nice and the bitch from hell boss. Each day she learns something new about herself that doesn't even resemble the person she is. Imagine waking up with a new smile, an amazing body, different friends, a posh address, an amazing job, a drop dead gorgeous, successful husband and hating it. All you want is your old raggedy life back and the great friends that went with it. Sophie takes you on a fun trip into everyone's dream day. I hope you run out and get it no matter what the old dudes review!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A whole new computer but better!

Writing Life
Originally uploaded by dcJohn
I am doing a happy dance. I have been plagued with a painfully slow computer, since the 512 of memory that the laptop came with is not enough to handle photoshop and dreamweaver, and the 14 other things I try to ask of it at once. So, I have been waiting for the UPS guy to bring me my new order of 2 gig of memory, from www.crucial.com (very cool site thanks for the tip, Tim). Today, it came! I was doing a happy dance all morning. It is like getting a new computer, but better, cause you don't have to reinstall everything, and transfer data. So cool! Now I am smokin' fast!
On another note, we are planning on going to Book Expo America in LA at the end of May. http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/ It is THE place to be for book lovers, and insiders. I am very excited, and will give updates, and keep you all posted about that.
Okay, now I have to go play with my new computer!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Preparing for Launch

Launch 057m
Originally uploaded by p_c_w
I am feeling the anxiety and excitement of the imminent launch for the www.Ijustfinished.com website. I have been working on it for quite a while now. I hope to have the CMS done this week, as well as the unchanging content. Then for the loading of the books. That is an undertaking in itself, but that should be fun. I am now recruiting my friends and fellow book lovers who are interested in helping admin the site. I am hoping to get people to claim their favorite authors, since there are plenty to go around. I'll keep everyone posted, and if you are interested in claiming you favorite author, please comment, or contact me, since I need all the help I can get at this point!