Why did I drive 1.5 hrs to use a US post office? When I need to order supplies that will fill a large box or two, such as Sunday school supplies from the Christian Dollar Store in Zanesville, Ohio, I'll pick a calendar date for about a month in the future and start my list:
Shipping: I'll do all the on-line ordering that I've saved over the past few months and send them to my Noonan, ND post office box. This saves shipping costs. Yes, I pay taxes when I take them across the border, but that's okay with me because the taxes aren't nearly as much as the S&H charges would have been.
Mailing SASE: I had a partial manuscript of An Outlaw for the Lady to send out to the editors of Steeple Hill in New York. I needed a SASE (Self Addressed Stamped Envelope). The reason it has to be SASE is so that the editors can reply with either a rejection or a request for me to send the full ms. (Sometimes, they'll offer suggestions.) However, since I can only buy Canadian stamps in Canada, I would have to buy an International Reply Coupon and include that with the envelope. The last time I did that, the IRC cost me $5 Cdn and yet when the SAE came back, it had a .72 US stamp on it. Clearly, I lost money there. So, this time, I left my envelope open, questioned the postmaster, and stuck a 1.20 stamp on the self-addressed envelope. This will ensure postage to Canada for up to 9 pages. Since I'm only expecting 1 page, I think I'm safe.
Mailing Out: By sending my pkg from Noonan, I didn't have to worry about it being stopped at customs enroute. (don't laugh...it happens) I know my precious partial parcel will arrive in New York by the end of next week.
Recce: My contemporary inspirational trilogy is located in my imaginary town of Prairie Junction, North Dakota which in my mind is located part way between Noonan and Crosby, to the west, both in Divide County. Each time I visit, I take photos of the flora and fauna of the season. It also allows me to have a 'feel' for the area which I hope relays back into my writing.
Mail Pick Up: Many authors give away free books just for leaving a comment on their blogs or where they guest blog. This past summer, I was blessed to win books and other prizes just for leaving blog comments. I had picked up over half a dozen pkgs like this enroute the ACFW conference in Sept, but some hadn't arrived yet. (When I know I'm going down, I let the US authors mail the goodies to Noonan to save themselves S&H costs.) So this time when I went down, I was pleased to find the following from:
- Tina Russo at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/ - a very nice Foray roller tip red pen (I expected this) and the book Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King (surprise!)
- Betty Hanawa at http://www.writersatplay.com/wordpress/ - a copy of Not Without Her Family (Count on a Cop) by Beth Andrews
- Lindsey Brookes at http://www.writersatplay.com/wordpress/ - a gorgeous silver bracelet which I'm wearing as I type. It glitters...
- Stacey Kayne at http://petticoatsandpistols.com/ who also is a member of Writers at Play (WAP):
- I expected: The Bounty Hunter and the Heiress by Carol Finch HH#909
- Stacey said she'd throw in: The Gunslinger's Untamed Bride HH#904 (Yippee!!!)
- Surprise in the pkg: a Stacey Kayne autographed Petticoats & Pistols fan, a Stacey Kayne 'dragonfly' pen and pin, a Tawny Weber (WAP) magnetic bookmark, and 5 'book cover' bookmarks including one of Stacey's with a beaded dragonfly attachment.
As you can see, I'm still excited about my gifts.
So, a humongous Canuck hug and thank you going out to Tina, Betty, Lindsey and Stacey. As you can see on the right, your blogs are a regular part of my day.
Library Exchange: And finally, before heading down to ND, I gather all the books that I've read but aren't 'keepers' according to my Book Reviews and bring them with me to the Divide County Public Library in Crosby. I love this library. So, on Tues, I brought down about 18 books and then checked their 'free books' for any I hadn't read. I walked away with 15 new-to-me incl'g Marta Perry and Jillian Hart's Love Inspired series books that I was missing, and 2 Linda Lael Miller's Stoney Creek books incl'g the one she's promoting now. Those 4 books alone are worth the gas money for the trip down. Now, I realize the author doesn't get any royalties from these books (just like in a used book store), but there's something so exhilarating about a free book exchange without limits, membership or monetary exchange. The only requirement is the need to read and be read. Most libraries will only accept donations for books published in the previous 2 years. Plus, even people who don't have a library card can borrow these books.
I think it's a great system for used 'unwanted' books. What do you think?