What would you like more of?

My question of you today is a simple one!  What would you like more of on my website in 2019?

 

I look forward to hearing from you.  You may comment on this post or write an email to carmen at carmenshenk.com with your thoughts.  And thanks so much for participating!

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Would you Like to Write a Book?

would you like to write a bookDo you have a message the world needs?  It’s simpler than ever to write a book and share it with the world, but the marketing part of things can be a little overwhelming.  And truth be told, most books – even from the Big Five publishers – sell an average of 200 copies.  None of us want that after we’ve invested so much in writing a book.  And just to be clear, I’m not what I’d call a successful author.  I did a lot of things wrong with my first book and there are some mistakes I won’t make again – and maybe I’ll make a whole new set of mistakes with my next book.  I’m a work in progress, we all are.  I do know some things NOT to do… and believe me – that’s important information!

If you’ve been looking around out there for great resources that will show you what to do and how to do it, all the while hoping that it comes with an affordable price tag… well, that might not exist – but pretty close.  Educating yourself is going to cost you something, time… money… you name it.  Education is costly.  Good news: You’re worth the investment!  I spent some time in the Stanford Creative Writing Program ($$$), I hired coaches and took classes ($$$$), I even did an internship.  In short, I spent a great deal of time and money!  Knowing what I now know… I would do some of that differently.  I would invest my resources very differently!  Experience is a great teacher!

In short, I’m no book guru.  I can’t show you my sales figures with all the commas and zeros, and I won’t point out my extensive list of 6-figure successes!  lol!  I have learned a few things the hard way, and that’s a great place to begin.  I also believe that the best way to learn something and really get it to sink in is to turn around and share what you’re learning.

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I’ve created a Patreon Community where you can come behind the scenes with me and explore what it’s like to be an author and owner of a brand.  I’m very transparent in this community about What, How, and most importantly… Why? I do what I do. There is a small investment – like anything worth doing – this is an investment in your own dream of becoming a published author.  Learn more…

I’ve also created a Facebook group called the Tiny House Authors, and you don’t have to live in a tiny house to be involved!  Join now!  Let’s explore the business of books together!

Tiny House Authors

Thanks so much for reading, I really appreciate it!

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Honor Your Health

I recently met author Karen Creamer, RN.  I heard her speak at a Writer’s Conference and I was immediately intrigued by her message.

Book Honor your HealthIf you ever wanted an open minded friend to explore some alternative health options and report in on what works and what doesn’t… well… Karen is that friend! Having had a harrowing experience with the medical profession during the birth of her first child, Karen was determined to learn for herself how to help people on the path to wellness with compassion, warmth, and wit. The stories in this book are literal page-turners! I could not put it down. Secondly, Karen goes through a whole list of methods of alternative health and self care that can be very helpful and she shares her experience with each of them and makes recommendations – including helpful resources to explore for more in-depth learning. I found these suggestions very helpful and the stories engaging.

The book is an empowering look at common sense self care in a world where health care is paying more attention to their computer screens than they are to their patients.  I was impressed with her encouragement to choose effective holistic health methods and be a advocate for your own health with the medical profession to create a life of clarity, comfort, and connection.  I think you’ll find this book an empowering read.

Find Karen Creamer’s book here: Honor Your Health

Check out her website here: KarenCreamer.com

Find her on Facebook here: Karen Creamer Author

Simply,

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Would you like a Tour of my Skoolie?

Screenshot (45)Deek Diedricksen of RelaxShacks.com dropped by for a tour of our Skoolie and here’s what happened: See the Video and leave a comment! ❤

So what’s it like to have someone tour your home and post a video online about it that gets 2K views overnight?  It’s cool.  I’m pleased.  I read the comments and it’s like there is a pocket of nice people making comments on the interwebs – and all of them are right there at the same place at the same time.  How cool is that?!

I really enjoy the tiny house community because it’s a place of creativity and ingenuity.  And if you love Le Corbusier from the 1920’s Bauhaus like I do… then you make a version of the iconic Le Corbusier sofa for your Skoolie.  If you are a rock-n-roll guy, then hang your guitars on your wall and put your drum kit in the living room instead of a sofa.  If you love your old upright piano, then make it into a Murphy bed and put a keyboard where the keys of the piano used to be.  (BTW – I’ve seen all of these and they are pretty spectacular!)  Do your thing!  And in this community, that’s not only accepted – it’s celebrated.  Is it any wonder I love tiny house people!?

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What Your Clutter is Trying to Tell You!

Kerri Richardson

Kerri Richardson

Kerri​ Richardson may not remember this, but I dropped in on something she was doing. I think it may have been one of her Facebook Live coaching calls. I said “Writing is difficult” and she told me that as long as I told myself that writing was difficult – writing would be difficult for me. Those few simple words struck me like a two-by-four because I knew she was absolutely right! The next morning I sat down to write and had a little talk with myself about what an amazing thing it is to write, and how blessed I am that I get to create great wads of words that people actually read. Then the new words showed up, and I put them on the page. That’s why you’re mentioned in the acknowledgements of Kitchen Simplicity, Kerri.  Who knew when I tuned in, that I was in for a real #lifelesson !!

The other day, she did it again. Kerri (with Melissa’s voice in the background chiming in) talked about getting their home ready to sell… and how we could get our homes ready to live in – so that WE get to enjoy our homes at their best…. instead of making the place cute just to get it sold. LOVE that idea!  So guess what I’ll be doing around here in the near future!  Ya know… when I have time. HAHAHAHAHAHA!

This morning she did it again. A little email wound it’s way into my inbox (I signed up for her email list) and was exactly the reminder I needed.  She talked about the “Shoulds” in our lives and her insight that when we tell ourselves that we should do something – it shuts us down.  If instead, if we change our shoulds to coulds… then we can relax into our opportunities instead of being overwhelmed by the list of things that SHOULD be done.  She’s right – that’s a world of difference.

Her email really hit the mark with me because I have been responsive when someone puts a great big SHOULD on me, but recently I have been learning to say “No” more often, and when I don’t… I really pay the price. I’m learning. My Mister keeps yelling “BOUNDARIES are a THING!” with big Italian gestures and crazy eyes! You’d almost think I hadn’t been listening with the way he’s been going on. lol!

I bought a copy of Kerri’s wildly popular new book “What your Clutter is Trying to Tell You” and honestly I have not had time to read it, but I flipped through it. (I will take the time to read this book!)  There are little ovals that stand out in the text with special messages she’s highlighting and a few of those really struck me. I haven’t even read the whole book and I know it’s a valuable resource because I know SHE is a valuable resource. If you’re considering the transition to a smaller space, or just want to live more simply in the space you already have – I would very happily point you to her book and her email list, and her Facebook Live events that she does. I can confidently say that her work will help you, because it’s already helped me and I haven’t even read the whole book yet.  While you’re at it, consider signing up for her email list.  Getting a super-helpful email like this is a real pleasure!  And ya know… check her out on Facebook as well and then next time she does one of her Facebook Live events… make a point to be there.

Thanks Kerri!

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PS: She’s also a tiny house person – how cool is that?!

Launch Day

IMG_3744My cute little book is ready for the world today, and I’m so pleased to make it available far and wide.  This has been a long time coming!  Find your copy on Amazon.  I can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

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The Shareables are here!

And thanks so much to each of you!  This sweet little book has been a labor of love for me, and to hear you all responding with such interesting and thoughtful reviews and comments on social media has just been incredibly gratifying!  Over and over again I have been moved by the way people respond to this little book and I appreciate all of you so very much!!!  ❤

All my best,

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Can you Judge a Book by the Cover?

I am so delighted with the cover of my new book!

THF 1I had an idea that I wanted to create a tiny house with food. I tried it first with Photoshop and hated how it turned out. So I went shopping and brought home all the prettiest produce. I started carving and placing, and again… it just wasn’t working. My handsome husband came home and looked around at the mess I was making. And before you know it I had sucked him in! He was there with his pocket knife working on getting the pieces structured so they would stay where I wanted them. There was no professional food people putting shellac, no cardboard – it was just us two crazy people in the kitchen having a fantastic time playing with our food! And then he even created a little doggie with the radish – using the root of the radish for the tail of the dog! I was delighted! I snapped some photos and look how it turned out?! I love it!  I’m so pleased the book designer liked it enough to use it!

Back Cover (2)The back cover was almost as fun. There were many conversations between the designer and the publisher to get each detail right. I love the little kitchen graphic at the bottom with the ISBN code, the QR code, and the logo of the publisher. It was so fun to see the designer and publisher working out every detail with the faucet, saucepan – even the handle on the fridge door!

Back CoverBut that’s not all! There are quotes on the back from people I admire very much. I’ll tell ya, when the publisher sent off books to folks to have them read and respond – that’s a nerve wracking process! But look what happened?! Andrew Odom is the host for my very favorite tiny house festival each year, he puts on an event that is so much fun for thousands of people! Shirley Showalter is the first female president of a Mennonite college or University, and I admire her (and her book) very much. Susan Shaeffer Bernardo is a poet and author who has written a variety of books for children. In fact, Michelle Obama read one of her books to a enraptured group of children, and one of her books went up in the space shuttle to orbit the earth! Can you imagine? I think the world of these people and rest of the amazing men and women who wrote blurbs for this book. Seeing them all there on the back cover of my book brings me such joy.

IMG_3744I actually feel a little bashful that they liked my book and wrote such glowing reviews. Honestly, it was a true joy to read what they wrote and know that they really did understand what I was trying to do with this little book. I am so blessed!

Do you see that line at the top? “An Official Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection!” That’s thanks to our dear Kathy L. Murphy who has a knack for picking great books to pass along to her delightful book club – and her club has chapters all over the country! I’ve seen photos of the party Kathy throws each year where the authors and readers get together, play dress up, and talk about books! I’m so unbelievably excited that she chose my book and I’m totally looking forward to going to her party! I don’t have a tiara yet, but believe me… I’ll have one by the time for her party! I can’t wait!

The process of creating a book is often tedious and solitary. And this is my first book, so I had EVERYTHING to learn and I would not trade this experience for the world!Full Cover 05102018 (2)

I believe this book will help people navigate the transition to a simpler life – whether that means moving into a tiny house, a small apartment, or even a community for seniors – or even if that means living a more minimalist life in the home one already enjoys. I know living simply has made a huge difference in my life, and I am so pleased to be able to share my story with the world.

It really does take a village to make a book, and I’m so blessed that the good folks at HD Media Press published this little book! They’ve been so great to work with! It won’t be long and I’ll be holding that final copy in my hands!

Joyfully,

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Live a F.A.S.T. Life (Fabulous, Abundant, Simple, Tiny)

Reading this book is a little bit like cleaning out the car. While the tasks of scrubbing, vacuuming and polishing might not be that much fun – enjoying the new sparkle in your ride makes it all worth it. (So go on, get on with it!)  I suppose that’s the tough thing, nobody wants to be looking at all the changes that need to be made, but being on the other side having made those changes – Ahhhh!  Bliss!  Oh, BTW, I’m talking about Jenn Baxter’s new book, Live a F.A.S.T. Life: How Stripping Down and Cleaning Up Gave Me My Life Back.

Jenn has been through it, mercy me! She has experienced so much loss and she tells how she fought her way back from her many toxic experiences. I’m inspired by her moxy! And she’s right. JennBeing proactive makes all the difference. I know I feel better when I avoid gluten, dairy, and sugar (I also look better). I love my hair color and nail polish, but I know they are loaded with toxins. I feel better when I’ve taken time to quiet my spirit in meditation or prayer. Every time I clean out my tiny house or my office – I love how much lighter and brighter those spaces feel. Every time I take another load of unneeded stuff to my favorite thrift store, I feel lighter and more free. I have made a lot of progress on these fronts but this book inspires me to get back at it (without being preachy or holier than thou). I have not been taking care of myself lately and reading Jenn’s book has reminded me of how important it is.

I’m taking the evening off to take some time for me. It’s high time. And maybe I’ll even come up with a bucket list while I’m at it. God knows there is a lot of world out there to discover!! Thanks Jenn, your book is a worthy read.

For lots more help living a “F.A.S.T” life (Fabulous, Abundant, Simple, and Tiny) check out the many helpful resources at Jenn’s website LiveAFastLife.com.  Oh, and pick up a copy of her book.

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Coming Home: Letters from a Tiny House

I just put down Hari Berzin’s book “Coming Home: Letters from a Tiny House”.

I picked up this book earlier but my busy life bit me and I had to put it down.  Picking it up again today was like finding a box of hand made truffles I didn’t know I had.  Each chapter is contemplative and thoughtful and I have this feeling that the more I savor these words, the more I’ll discover the sweet hidden complexities found here.

I’m absolutely taken with Hari’s words, the atmosphere she creates with her writing, and the way she offers up the things she’s learning in the most transparent and unassuming way.  She doesn’t come off as a guru handing down truth from on high, though she’s been there, done that, and can show you how.  She writes as if she’s confiding in a journal which leaves the reader feeling like the closest confidant.  I read it through in one sitting because I was so drawn in, and also because I found so many echos of my own tiny house living experiences – some of which I had nearly forgotten.  I will read this book again, and when I do, I’ll go through it chapter by chapter to let it all sink in a little a little deeper.

familyHari’s creativity and hospitality strikes me as I read these pages.  Hari and Carl and their kids lived in the most micro of micro-houses… and still they invited people in to join them on the journey.  The family is all snug in their cozy lofts, and someone is downstairs sleeping on the couch as well.  There were sleepovers for the kids.  They invited people to visit and connect with them in their tiny haven-home.  I find that level of hospitality absolutely inspiring!  Also… when someone is sleeping on the sofa where you write your weekly newsletter and you take some cushions into the shower to make a make-shift office so you can write in the early still hours of the morning – that is some fierce creativity and adaptability.  Brava!!  I get it!  I need quiet alone time also or I’m no good to anyone.  I see so much of myself in these pages, the needs I have for quiet and alone time, plus the needs I have for connection with other authentic people.

I am absolutely inspired by the generosity, courage, and vulnerability it takes for anyone to share their story with the world, and Hari has done so beautifully, and I’m so glad she did.  Those of us who came along a few years later and dove into our own tiny house living don’t have to do it alone.  As much as I love making my own path instead of following the path laid out for me, it is awfully nice to pick up a book such as this one and know we aren’t the only ones out here wandering around in the woods wondering A) if the wildlife will get us and B) which way is home?

I love this book and I think you’ll love it too.  Get your copy!  Visit their website at TinyHouseFamily.com.

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The Advance Reader Copy of my Book is Here!

How exciting!  I feels so good to see a dream coming true.  In the video I ask the following question:  If you sacrifice to see a dream come true – and that dream comes true – was it really a sacrifice?  I suspect the question is more interesting than the answer.  I’m delighted that my dream of being a published author is coming true!Carmen Signature - Copy - Copy (2)