Have you heard the phrase, "If you're not _______, you're not fangirling hard enough." To be honest, when people send me this particular meme, it scares me, but I get the sentiment. I do.
You know what takes serious effort? Being a superfan. Most indie authors have what is called a street team, and most of those street teams have names. Two years ago, a reader asked me if she could create a street team for me, and it evolved into what is now known as the MacPack. MP members come from all walks of life and live all over the world, like Clare and Lucy from the UK, Niky Moliviatis from Guatemala, Jasmin and Nina from Germany, and Katerina from Czech. The MacPack is full of a lot of enthusiastic, hard core fans who post peacock wedding cakes, possible candidates for my most-loved character, Travis Maddox, and they even have T-shirts. Yes. T-shirts, and lots of 'em. They make graphics with my book quotes, organize meet ups, they support one another when a child is ill, someone is hitting hard times, and even when a big test is coming up for nursing school.
Together, this group, of their own volition, has raised over $4,000 for charity, most of which has gone to the Alzheimer's Association, a cause that is personal to me since Papa McGuire passed away last year due to complications from the disease. Love you, Papa.
These women and a few men of 3,000+ are a tight knit group. There is Michelle Chu, who is arguably my number one fan. She wants everyone to read my books. She gets cranky if she doesn't have the most recently released foreign copy of Beautiful Disaster on her shelf. She has attended at least five of my signings, the last one she even helped carry books. I watched her tiny body carrying this forty pound box, wondering how it was physically possible, but she did it. Michelle is always, ALWAYS on my side. She might be the sister I never had.
Deanna Pyles and Selena Lee were the first out-of-towners to attend one of my signings, before anyone knew who Jamie McGuire was. They traveled over four hours from Ft. Smith Arkansas to Ponca City, Oklahoma, and were absolutely giddy, and I had no idea why. Now they're two of my best friends.
Megan Davis started out as a MacPack member. We transitioned from reader/author to friends when I asked for her help after the Great Vegas Signing Debacle of 2015 when I learned the blogger/event planner of the Beautiful Wedding Vegas BookRave, Trini of TrinDee Events had "redirected" the money from ticket sales to other events... and her pocket. Megan took over the planning of the event and she saved my hind quarters in a time that could have broke me, both emotionally and financially.
I remember taking a picture with Megan at Book Bash 2013 and thought she was a kind person that I'd like to get to know better. Now she comes to my house once a month to help me organize my chaotic life and helps with book promotion.
Jessica Landers has to divide her time between several authors who love her as much as I do, but she is the MacPack admin and runs the Travis Maddox Facebook page, so I'm going to claim her as mostly mine. MacPack couldn't continue without her. She wears these amazing black frames that she doesn't need because she's just that beautiful, and I steal them from her and take a selfie every time we meet.
Liis McKinstry is everyone's favorite Canadian, even author K.A. Tucker's, who is also a Canadian. It's confusing, but it's true. That's how much Liis is loved. If you feel her name is familiar, it's because she is one of the most enthusiastic book bloggers out there, and I named one of my characters after her. I also have a book dedicated to her. She travels to signings for fun and usually ends up working at my table, just because she's that kind of person.
At first, Misty Horn was iffy to me. I wasn't sure about her because she was always giving things away. She rivals Colleen Hoover in the generosity department. My cynical side thought surely she was an aspiring author (that happens in street teams, you know) hoping to gain some followers because no one is that committed to giving. Then I concocted this fantasy that she was an undercover billionaire who liked my books. She's neither of those things. Turns out she's just amazing. Misty is a refreshing reminder that people can be kind for no reason.
Amber Cheeks has an entire wall in her home dedicated to my books.
Heather Moss travels across country to my signings with a baby in tow.
The only time I see Heather Summers's posts in my feed is when she's posting about my new release.
Sarah Sweet will dress up like a zombie and walk around in public not anywhere close to Halloween for me.
These women show up at my signings in huge groups, they dine together, bring me yummies and wall art and encouraging words, and take road trips. This is the power of reading, street teams, books, and girlfriendships.
Cecile, Milane, Lisa, Susan, Christie, Erin, Jorie, the Butter sisters... there are really too many to name. But they put in hours of work a week to promote my books just because they love to do it. These women (and a couple of men) inspire me.
This is why I love to show up at their weddings...
...have brunch with them during book event weekends...
...and invite them to my house for a reader retreat, because really... thank you isn't enough.
This is odd. This blog started out as an update about Shepley and America's novella Something Beautiful, and that for the first time ever, an indie novel--my indie novel, Beautiful Redemption is on the shelves at Wal-Mart and I want them OFF, meaning bought and sent to me to sign and personalize (read how here).
I'd also planned to remind you that SWEET NOTHING, a USA Today pick for a fall romance, is out November 1st and the preorder links are up, but this ended up being about my readers. I guess that shows you where my heart lies. I never forget why I get to do what I love. Thank you. ((<-- click on the link for an awesome giveaway that begins at midnight tonight!))
Ivory Ella long-sleeved tee giveaway for Sweet Nothing release promo here.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. <3