Samara O'Shea

Archive for April, 2009

End of the Line

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Here it is. The final day of April. It’s been an exhausting month. I’ve sent and unsent 30 letters. I’ve discovered that I don’t always like blogging about the letters I’m writing, but that I do like blogging as often as I’ve been doing it—just about every day. I’ll keep up the pace!

Google analytics tells me that there are roughly 200 of you (some days more and other days less) who stop by here each day. I’m grateful to have you as an audience, and hope we can meet in person someday.

Show and Tell

Thursday, April 30th, 2009

This is a fun find I thought worthy of sharing. It’s a personal library kit. Too cute! Rumor has it that women are having clothing exchange parties (though I haven’t been to one . . .) to save money in this uncertain economy. This seems to be the book equivalent of that.

What I’ve Got so Far

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

It’s been four days and I’m not fitting into my twitter skin just yet. I’m not sure if I should tweet in the first person: “I wish CNN would stop presenting useless stories about how germs spread.” Or the third person: “SamaraOShea wishes CNN would stop presenting useless stories about how germs spread.”

Want to hear something strange? I prefer writing in the third person. What in the world does that say about me?! Perhaps its because Facebook status updates are usually written in the third person, and I do enjoy journaling occasionally in the third person. It took me a while before I felt comfortable updating my Facebook status. I’d always post something and then get self conscious and take it down moments later. THIS from a girl who writes openly about her sex life in both of her books. It’s because a book isn’t written in real time. First it’s written a while after the fact, and then it’s published even further after the fact. Status updates and tweets are published in real time, which makes me feel more vulnerable—even if the comments are fairly innocuous.

Ah well, I’m getting my feet wet slowly. Here’s what I have thus far:

Grey Gardens: Brought to you by Letters and Journals

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Earlier this month, Jezebel posted a fun clip about the HBO movie Grey Gardens and how Little Edie’s letters and journals played a big role in the research for the film.

The Final Countdown

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

It’s the home stretch of National Card and Letter Writing Month. I’m actually told by some that it lasts until Mother’s Day, but I’m going to consider myself accomplished when I mail my last missive this Thursday. Although I will write my mother a letter for M-day. And I will continue to write letters at will—it’s still something I LOVE doing. Admittedly, it’s more difficult to do when you’ve given yourself no choice, but it wasn’t as chore-like as I feared it would be. Most of my anxiety centered around all the other things I had to do on top of writing a letter. I was afraid I wouldn’t get to those other things. I managed. I made the letter-of-the-day the center of my schedule. I learned to rotate everything around it.

My last letter will be to my friend Guillermo. He’s living and working in Beijing for six months. I have no idea how long it will take to get there, but I wish I could follow my little letter on its journey. I am hoping to head to Beijing to visit Guillermo over the summer—budget permitting.

What I am really is excited about now is reading the essays that have been submitted for the Giftsin24 essay contest. We’ve received many, and they are sure to be heartwarming and entertaining. I’ll announce this winner here as well as at Thanks to everyone who entered, and thank you to everyone who stops by here to read. I shall continue to write!

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, and I’ve vowed to write one letter each day. Also, please check out the essay contest I’m hosting with

A Spoonful of Sugar . . .

Sunday, April 26th, 2009

I remember well one of the first quotes I ever loved. I spotted it in a Power of Positive Thinking pamphlet my mother had (she had many). It went something like:

“Lord, please make my words tender and sweet for tomorrow I may have to eat them.”

I come before you today with my spoon in hand ready to swallow my words bit by bitter bit. I joined Twitter. I said that I wouldn’t here and here.

It started with a conversation I had with a friend of mine (Jesse, the guy in my book trailer) on Friday night. He said he reluctantly joined Twitter but feared being left out of the self-promotion loop (he’s a stand-up comedian). I presented him with the arguments from Slate magazine—that Twitter has no historical basis. E-mail = new way to send letters. Skype = new landline. Blogging = Pamphleteering. He grabbed the last one and said, “Okay blogging is the new pamphleteering and twitter is an 140-character blog.” Oh jeeze! Jesse said, “You might as well just join while SamaraOShea (the twitter URL) is still available.” I didn’t fear that all the other Samara O’Sheas in the world would snatch up my potential URL, but a few hours later another fear set in.

A little back story: I refused to have MySpace and Facebook pages for a very long time. I was proud of this. Proud of not jumping on the bandwagon. I remember the day it changed. The Summer 2007 Author’s Guild Newsletter arrived at my door with an article about how social networking sites can be good for book sales. Gulp. I didn’t think of it that way.

For myself, I can be an outcast. I have no problem being the odd girl out. For my books, however, they are my children, and I will do anything for them. Not to mention all parents have to be hypocrites at some point. It’s part of the job. When your offspring are clever enough to ask, “Did you smoke pot when you were my age?” And the parent responds, “Yes I did.”

Offspring, “Then I should be able to smoke pot, too!”

Parent, “Over my dead body!”

I won’t say that MySpace and Facebook have been necessarily good for book sales (that’s a hard thing to measure), but they have been wonderful for meeting readers. I have opened many a dialog with readers all over the country because they saw fit to get in touch with me through one of the two networks. In the end, I’m glad I joined.

Social Networks dangle a promise in front of you. It’s the promise of getting you and your brand in front of the one person who can send you on a skyrocket to ultimate success. They also present the promise of acceptance. Both promises are rarely met, I know, but it’s the fear of not trying that keeps you (er me) going after it again and again. God forbid you were the one parent who didn’t let your children watch Baby Einstein and now they’re way behind as a result. Again, it’s not the reality but the fear. I aspire to laugh at that fear someday. I’m not there quite yet.

Last November I joined a Twitter-like social Network called Pounce. I thought, What’s after Twitter? It looks like Pounce. I’ll just jump ahead one. I liked the idea of joining the lesser known group. My instincts, unfortunately, were way off. In mid-December I received an e-mail saying Pounce was closing. It hadn’t gained the momentum of Twitter.

And so I hope those of you on Twitter will join me, and the rest of you will pardon me. I will try to make my tweets (did I really just say that?!) insightful—posting classic quotes, political and pop-culture commentary, and thoughts, as always, on the written word. As with everything else I first feared and then enjoyed (MySpace, Facebook, and blogging), I will take this and try to make it my own.

I ate dinner at a great Philly restaurant called Pub and Kitchen Saturday night, and we were given little cards with quotes on them when the bill came. Mine prophetically said:

“Eating words has never given me indigestion.”
~ Winston Churchill

I Haven’t Given Up

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

It’s been a few days since I’ve mentioned my self-proclaimed project, I realize. I haven’t given up on writing a letter a day—I was just taking a break from blogging about it. In the spirit of living and learning, I’ve found the blogging to be the more difficult part of the process. I do love the idea of writing a letter and blogging about the person. It offers the designated recipient a bonus—in the letter, I tell them to go to my blog and read further about how much I admire / adore them. It’s also interesting in the way of perspective—I write a letter to someone in the first person and then blog about that very same person in the third person. Keeps me on my toes!

The problem is, it’s made blogging more of an assignment for me, and blogging has never felt that way. I love up and saying anything whenever I want, whether I’m responding to an article, posting a killer quote, or just waxing poetic about nothing at all. Writing a letter a day is difficult—it’s a commitment—and the satisfaction of finishing the letter is only momentary until I remind myself that I said I’d blog about it. This isn’t to say I don’t enjoy writing about the people I’m writing letters to—I certainly do! It’s feeling like I have to do it that’s taken some of the joy away. And thus I’ve decided I’ll only blog about the letters I’m writing when the mood strikes.

And it happens to be striking right now! I sent my friend Kevin a Valentine’s Day card this morning. The story is: He sent me a lovely New Year’s card last January. By the time I got to CVS to respond (which was mid-January), the card companies had understandably moved on to Valentine’s Day. Faced with a sea of red and pink sentiments, I bought him a V-Day card for fun. A week or so later I received another letter from Kevin announcing the passing away of a dear member of his family. I decided it was best to respond to that notice immediately and with a proper sympathy card. Now here it is, three months later and I still have (had) his V-Day card—so I wrote to him on that glittery piece of paper and sent it on its way today.

And for my next letter . . . earlier this week my friend Shawn sent out an e-mail offering the address of his new home. He started off with, “Addresses are pretty moot these days . . . but here it is.” I’m going to prove him wrong and show him just how useful his new address can be!

April is National Card and Letter Writing Month, and I’ve vowed to write one letter each day. Also, please check out the essay contest I’m hosting with