Yesterday was Nice!

Being nice really does matter.

When I sat down yesterday and vented my thoughts on being nice, I never expected the amount of love and support I received. It’s so easy to feel alone in my thoughts and feelings, but I know without a doubt today that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

I am humbled and so very grateful.

Yesterday began in darkness. Now I’m back in the light. I can’t thank you all enough. You made a difference. Every kind thought sent my way, every nice word and gesture, made my day brighter.

Yesterday I wondered why I try so hard. Today, I’m ready to brighten the world again and I have you all to thank for it.

Most of all, I hope you’ll all join me in practicing 80% positive because I know it makes a difference. I can’t wait to see the change we can make together!

Happiness can only exist in acceptance.

Why Being Nice Matters To Me

Over the past 24 hours, there have been several posts floating around social media that really struck a chord with me. Some of you may have seen them:

Jennifer Aniston wrote an essay about how she’s fed up with being questioned about maternity (among other things).

Victoria Beckham is being villainized for kissing her daughter *gasp* on the lips.

And then, randomly, a Buzzfeed post where their Try Guys were photoshopped to look like famous photos of women.

After being bombarded by all of this for the last day– and so much more over the past few months– I’ve decided I need to rant a bit and I hope you’ll follow along.

I’m really tired of all the hate and judgment that exists in the world today. When did everything become so negative? It’s ALL the time, everywhere. So much hate and shame. It’s hard to function.

I live in darkness a lot. Some of you know that I am bipolar. My official diagnosis includes Bipolar Disorder, Severe Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, and PMDD. What all of that means is that I’m an emotional mess most of the time. Most of you don’t know that about me though. Just as many of you don’t know that over a decade ago, I had a nervous breakdown. I was told I’d never work again, and yet, here I am, a successful author who also has a full time job with a company I not only love, but also believe in completely.

Why am I sharing this? Well, because the mental health issues really affect me on a day to day basis. I have to fight to stay positive. I’m sometimes picked on for it. I find it amusing, to be honest. The running joke is that I’m “Perky Poppy” and I’ve embraced that nickname fully. Because the reality is, I’m not very perky at all. But I try, very hard, to find the positive and to have fun in the little things. Otherwise, I’ll be back in that pit of despair that I fell into when I had my breakdown.

That’s not the only thing I have to fight though. Cause guess what? I’m fat. Yep. Said it. And you know what else? I have other issues too, medical stuff like a skin problem that is really no one else’s business but strangers seem to think it’s okay to make nasty comments about these things. I am made to feel ashamed for looking the way I do. Because that’s the truth. I’m ashamed of those things. But I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been made fun of for one of those physical features by some random stranger while I’m out shopping or even through some comment on a photo of me on social media by someone who is labeled a “friend”.

So when I see posts where someone is having to explain why they choose to not have children, or who are called names for showing affection to their child, or where our physical appearance is altered to make us more ideal… I feel shame. That’s what we do, right? We shame each other to make ourselves feel better.

I’ve done it too. And that I really do feel shame for and should. Who am I to ever make fun of anyone else? It’s something I try really hard to not participate in. Most of the time, I succeed. Sometimes, I don’t.

True story. When I go to events and I’m in Poppy-mode (which is the way I like to think of how I mentally prepare myself for events. I gird my loins, as it were, and try to force the fear and shame and terror away so that I don’t show all that negative emotion to the people around me), I’m often complimented on my appearance. And it makes me both uncomfortable and really happy at the same time. And can I tell you another truth? Just about the only time in my life that I’m EVER praised for my looks is when I’m with this crazy internet family of fellow book lovers whom I adore.  I don’t know how to handle the praise. I usually smile awkwardly and say thank you.

See, I know that there are so many people out there just waiting to usher in another bushel of humiliation so actually believing someone who thinks I’m pretty? Ha. It’s so much easier to believe the other is true. Ever seen those horrible, terrible, people of Walmart posts? I think those posts are the ultimate evil. And yet they are in some crazy way beloved. I don’t get it. Their sole purpose for existing is to dish up a healthy dose of humiliation to those unfortunate folks who are captured on camera in an unflattering moment. I don’t use the word hate a lot, but I truly hate those posts and what they stand for. Can you imagine for a moment what it must feel like to be one of those people who are included in those posts? Can you imagine for a moment being one of those people who goes around seeking out someone to take a horrible photo of that you can share with the world?

I have a very dear friend who is one of the most gorgeous men I know. Seriously. I think he’s stunningly handsome and I get that little flutter in my belly when he’s around me. And you know what? He’s ashamed of how he looks. He’s incredibly body conscious. I know the feelings are irrational, because I have them myself, but damn, the man is gorgeous and he’s embarrassed over not having a 6 pack or 8 pack or whatever the hell pack of abs men are supposed to have to be attractive. (Um, and sweets, if you’re reading this and figure out that I think you’re gorgeous… well, surprise! But you are!)

So after all that, I have to wonder. Why am I so uncomfortable with compliments? I know so many friends who are as well. Why is it easier to believe the ugly and not the nice? I want to change that, both for myself and others. I don’t want there to be humor in humiliating random strangers or celebrities on the internet. Instead, I want the norm to be a world where we make it a point to praise the people in our lives and not be so quick to put them down. Heck, I get that it’s easier to jump in with your opinion on whatever latest scandal is rocking the world. But having an opinion and spewing hate are two completely different things. And somehow that difference has been lost in translation.

My day job is in marketing. There’s this cool “rule” in marketing known as the 80/20 rule. I’m not Pollyanna enough to think that negative thoughts and comments aren’t going to exist, but maybe we can work on keeping them to only 20% of what we do and think and say. Is that too much to ask? Can we actually succeed in being positive 80% of the time? Is it a pipe dream? Can we at least try?

I remember an essay on parenting I read a long time ago– and I can’t find it now but I wish I could so I could share it– that basically said for every time you tell your kids no or correct them that you should praise them for something at least 4 times. Can you imagine how cool that would be? If we actually had people around us all the time who were looking for the positive? I would love that. I mean, it would be really great if I just didn’t give a crap, but lets face it, I do. And I’m sure you do too. It’s a thing, right? Part of what makes us human or something? We have to care what other people think about us… right?   It would  also be great if I could actually believe the praise. I’m working on it. And I don’t know, maybe if I heard good things on a daily basis instead of hate and shame…maybe it would be easier?

I know there is a lot of philosophy out there about getting back from the world what you give to it. I don’t mind being known as Perky because maybe, just maybe, that means I’ve made someone else happy for a moment. Maybe, just maybe they accepted a compliment I gave them and for one moment were able to believe it as truth. I want to put more positive out into the world because God knows I need it back. It’s how I survive the days when my illness gets the best of me.

So how about it? Can we all try? Or is it too much to hope for? Can we strive for more nice? Because it’s more important than we think and it’s so easily overlooked. Kindness matters. Thoughtfulness matters. Hope really fricking matters and sometimes, for those of us like me who struggle with darkness, those random nice thoughts make all the difference in the world.






Marketing Minute: Don’t neglect your Facebook Page

Poppy Dennison Marketing Minute


Welcome to Marketing Minute! In this series, I’ll give a quick tip along with a few resources you can use to make improvements to your Author Marketing Strategy!




Today’s tip: Don’t neglect your Facebook page. 9-FB-Posts-to-Engage-Pin-408x1024

I’m often asked by authors why they should bother with a Facebook Page as part of their marketing strategy. Most of us get the most interaction on our profiles anyway, and the majority of posts on a Page don’t get shown to readers anyway. So why bother?

When a reader finds your page, and there hasn’t been any activity on it lately (or ever), what does that look like? It makes it seem like you aren’t an active author. If you’re lucky, they’ll hunt you down in another way, but that’s not always the case.

Page posts don’t have to be daily, but you should post something once a week or so. This is a great place to post links of reviews and other happenings for your new releases. Don’t know what to post in between book releases? Check out this post: 30 Facebook Business Page Post Ideas. I’m a big fan of the infographics in this post! I even printed the one shown here and keep it in my Marketing Binder for when I’m stuck on ideas.

Don’t be afraid to use your Google-fu to hunt down other post ideas. I’m a big fan of Pinterest searches too! (I have a “secret board” where I pin ideas that I stumble across so I’ll have them all in one easy place.)

Also make sure your Facebook Page is as up to date as you can make it. Add milestones of important events, like a book’s release or attendance at a conference. Is your website address easy to find from your Page? Is your profile image consistent with your branding?

I love that I can schedule posts on my Facebook Page. Make sure you take advantage of this when things get busy in Author land and schedule ahead a few posts. Don’t forget to check for comments though!


Do you have a Facebook Page? How do you use it? Leave me a comment and let me know!




Dear Saturday: New Series with snippets from my week

Dear Saturday- I’m stealing the idea for you from my friend Kim. Well, not stealing exactly, as Kim said okay. But at least this way, I’ll be able to let folks know about the stuff going on in Poppyland in a fun and interesting way. Right? Also, Kim loves Supernatural. So here’s a picture of the boys, just for her.





Dear Blogging- You do not come naturally to me. But I’m going to try. Especially since my new website is so pretty. I keep saying that I will blog more, but I don’t. I do have things to say, however, just don’t make the time to say them. It is an interesting conundrum. I would like to say I will promise to blog more, but I’ve made that promise before and haven’t kept it. I’m working on it though, so here’s hoping that counts for something.




Dear Snowmaggedon/Snowpacalypse- Thank you for not making me lose power and internet. Those things make me cranky. And nobody likes a cranky Poppy. Except JP Barnaby, who thinks my outside voice is hot. It’s not hot. It’s scary, I tell ya! SCARY!



Dear Jeffree Star– You don’t know me, but my name is Poppy. And I love makeup. I also love red lipstick, but haven’t found one that makes me happy. Until I found your Velour Liquid Lipstick in RedRum which makes me very happy and makes me feel very pretty. I can’t wait until Androgeny returns on February 12, because I will be buying it!




DBook Launch Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to a Bestselling Launchear Tim Grahl– I’m really enjoying Your First 1000 Copies and am looking forward to reading Book Launch Blueprint: The Step-by-Step Guide to a Bestselling Launch. I plan on telling all my author friends about you. You have some really great ideas and an interesting way of looking at book marketing that I find really helpful.

Also, I really loved this quote from one of your blog posts. I couldn’t agree more.

A big part of my success has been the ability to surround myself with people who are way smarter than I am. Input from other authors and business people—clients, colleagues and mentors—has dramatically aided me in getting where I am today.

We all need each other. 

We need people who have walked similar roads to help show the way, to help us step over the pits and potholes that so many of us fall into.

~Tim Grahl, Author of Your First 1000 copies





Dear Coastal Magic Convention- Only 12 more sleeps until I am in Daytona having a blast! I can’t wait!

Coastal Magic Convention Daytona Beach Florida





Dear Marketing- I really love you, most days. I have a question for you though: Is there any chance you could become a little less complicated? And if, perhaps, you could see fit to create a magic formula that would make my life easier, I would appreciate it greatly.




Dear Upstairs Neighbors- Please stop dribbling your basketball throughout your apartment every single night. Because it’s loud. And annoying.

In other news, your mattress is very squeaky. You know, in case you didn’t realize.




That’s all that’s new and exciting this week!

Poppy Dennison Dear Saturday

Why Marketing is Like Spaghetti

marketing, marketing for authors

In the first post of my new Marketing for Authors series, I thought I’d go back to basics. What the heck is marketing and why do so many authors feel lost and overwhelmed when faced with marketing tasks? How better to answer those questions than an with an analogy using food! (What? I haven’t eaten yet! I’m hungry!)

1-Marketing is hard.

If you are fancy and get your pasta fresh, then this step may not apply to you. For the rest of us, who get their pasta from a box, this will make perfect sense. When you are getting ready to start making your spaghetti dinner, you get the pasta out of the box. And the noodles are hard, right?

When you’re getting started in marketing, it’s hard too. There are a lot of variables and a lot of decisions that need to be made. You have to have put thought into who your audience is, what your brand is, and how best to position yourself among the competition. Basically, your marketing strategy hasn’t been cooked yet, and who wants to eat a raw noodle? Click to Tweet

2-Marketing takes time.

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Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we could simply wiggle our noses and have our spaghetti dinner magically appear on the dinner table? If only it were that easy! Marketing takes time to “cook” and you get out of it what you put into it. Now, if you’re like me and not only does your pasta come from a box but your sauce comes from a jar, the cooking process will be faster. But wouldn’t you agree that a homemade pot of sauce that has simmered all day is so much better than anything you can get from a jar at the grocery store?

One of the biggest hurdles I face as an author is making sure I balance my time between writing and marketing. Bottom line is that if I don’t write a fantastic book, no matter how much I market it, I’m not going to succeed. But if I do write a fantastic book, and no one knows about it, I’m not going to find a level of success either. Sure, there are those occasional books that take off (we tend to call them “lightning strike” books), but those books are rare and no one can really say what happened to make them such an instant hit. (Oh, would my job be so much easier if someone could!) Think about it this way: it took time to write the book, to go through edits and formatting. Shouldn’t it take time to market the book as well?

3-Marketing needs a recipe.

Whether you’re following the directions from the box and jar, or pulling out grandma’s super secret passed down through the generations sauce recipe, you’ll have certain steps that you follow to make your spaghetti turn out the way you want it to. Marketing takes a recipe, too, and the way you make it work for you will not be the same as any other author out there. Yeah, some of the ingredients are the same– in order to make spaghetti, you have to have the noodles, right?– but how they come together is as unique as you are.

Take some time to create a recipe that works for you. Add the ingredients you need, and cut the ones you don’t. Remember that you don’t have to be everywhere (and that includes all those social media platforms you have accounts for and never update). Sometimes the simplest sauce is the one with the fewest ingredients, and sometimes the most successful marketing efforts are the ones that are simple and well thought out.

Back to my opening question, why is marketing such a challenge for authors? Because we haven’t taken the time to learn exactly what marketing is and how it can work for us and our books. We haven’t created our own secret recipe–even if that recipe involves reading the back of the jar for instructions. Determine what level of marketing “chef”  you are, and create your marketing plan accordingly. You don’t have to be an expert, but you need to know the basics before you dive in and create something inedible.

So authors, what do you think is the hardest part of marketing? Leave a comment below and let me know what topics you’d like to see me cover in this series. I’d be happy to help you create your own recipe for fantastic spaghetti, er, I mean, marketing.

An Update and a New Beginning

This post comes a little late, but there are reasons. I promise! I wanted to give an update on what’s been up with me and make a new commitment to my blog. I’m thinking a post like this is a great place to start.

First, let’s go back a bit to 2011, when I wrote Mind Magic and suddenly things began to change. I never thought for a million years that it would be published. No really. I never dreamed it. But I was encouraged by a fantastic group of friends to give it a go, and submitted the book to Dreamspinner Press in August of 2011. I got my first contract at the very first GRL retreat in New Orleans that October. I cried like a big old baby. Sobbed. No kidding. It was a life changing moment, and I knew it.

From then on, writing became even more of a passion. I’ve always loved to write, but now I found a focus for that passion. An energy that I didn’t know I possessed. I whipped out a few books using the fuel of the excitement over Mind Magic and the Triad series came to life.

And I kept writing. And learning. And loving every minute of it. Until early 2014, that is. Then I hit a road block. I found that I’d run out of steam, that the passion and excitement had started to disappear and it broke my heart. I tried to force myself to write, but just couldn’t.

The passion was still there, however, it just transformed into a different one. I became passionate about helping authors understand the ideas behind branding and marketing. I had a degree in it, after all, so it seemed natural to me to help fellow authors out behind the scenes. I’d been helping all along, actually, but the passion really began to shift for me.

I decided to take some time off from writing. I didn’t make a public announcement or anything, I just…stopped. I needed a breather, and in a series of very fortunate events, my breather happened to coincide with Dreamspinner deciding to add a new member to their marketing and social media teams. It was the opportunity I’d been waiting for, and I didn’t even realize it. Suddenly, everything started coming into focus again.

I’ve been working for Dreamspinner for a while now, and I can’t tell you how happy I am. Funnily enough, my self-imposed writing breather came to an end as well. I told myself I was going to take off until the beginning of 2015 to regroup. In January of 2015, I sat down and wrote the first book in a new series that began burning a hole in my brain during my sabbatical. Books two and three are also partially written.

The first book of the Holly Creek series, Dogwood Days, was just contracted for a September, 2015 release date.  In early March, I attended the Dreamspinner Author Workshop and made my first “public appearance” as Dreamspinner’s new Marketing Director. Both the new series and the new job have brought me back to where I wanted to be.

I realized something, however. I wasn’t practicing what I preached as far as author marketing was concerned. I listened and I advised, but I wasn’t doing what I needed to do either. How could I ask our authors to do things when I wasn’t doing them myself? I couldn’t, and I can’t.

So here I am, laying it all out in front of you and telling you that I am new and improved. It’s been a rough road in some ways, but mostly, it’s been a dream come true. If you’d told me in 2011 when I hit submit on that first book that I’d be here today making this post, having this job, and this many books under my belt, I’d have laughed at you. But I did it. And I’m so dang happy.

For readers, I’m promising to be around more. You’re going to get to see the silly side of me that you’ve seen in my books. You’ll see even more of me in Dogwood Days, as it’s based on a small Southern town very much like the one I grew up in.

For my author friends, you’ll be seeing me practice what I preach on marketing. I’m hoping to give you all some tips and tricks on this blog as well. Why not, right?

So thank you for reading this post! I know it was a long one, but it had been a while and I had a lot to report. I can’t wait for you guys to see what I’m cooking up for you!


New Year’s M/M Writer’s Buffet: Pack Worthy Broccoli Salad

When you’re planning a buffet, you have to keep in mind those meat eaters of the bunch, even when you’re in charge of salad. So how do you get your favorite alpha to eat his veggies? Why not put some bacon in it!

My favorite recipe for Broccoli Salad has a bowl full of goodness, including bacon and cheddar cheese! Best part is, you can make it in advance. It only gets better the longer the sauce soaks into all those bits of broccoli!

Image from: Boy Meets Bowl

You can make it even easier by getting one of those little bags of prepared bacon (not the crunchy bacon bits, but the pieces). Gotta be honest though, my crew prefers when I make the bacon myself. Of course they do.

Now doesn’t this just look yummy?

Give this recipe a try and let me know what your pack thinks!

And if your pack is more of the non-meat eating variety, try out this take on the recipe with cranberries and sunflower seeds! Another hit for my crew!

Also, be sure to check out the rest of the rest of the recipes for the New Year’s Progressive Buffet! Leave a comment at each site, and you’ll be entered to win one of three $35 gift cards to the venue of your choice. (Check out the linked post above for full rules!)

Everyone who comments here and leaves their email will be entered to win a free ebook of their choice from my backlist! Winner will be chosen on January 6, 2015 Good luck!

Now there’s a buffet I’d like to take part in!

Now Available: Accidental Alpha

Woo hoo! It’s release day for my newest paranormal novella, Accidental Alpha! You can find it over on Wilde City Press HERE

A quiet life. A break from the dangers of being a cop. Yep, Lex Tompkins has his future all worked out. That is, until fate—or rather the stray toddler from the house across the street—bites those plans in the ass. Well, technically Lex’s neck. Suddenly, he’s transformed into the Alpha of the secret werewolf clan hiding in the perfect, out of the way neighborhood of Lex’s dreams.
Now Lex is the unlikely leader of a dysfunctional pack… except for Spencer Robinson, the one shifter Lex can’t seem to keep his paws off. Will Spencer be able to teach Lex how to embrace who he has truly become?
Because accidents happen…
…but fate marks its own territory.

Suit Up Sunday: Charlie Harding

So this Suit Up Sunday post comes with a very special guest. I know, I know, all the handsome suited guys on here are special, but this one….well, you’ll see. 🙂

So just to keep things official-like, here’s the oh-so handsome Charlie Harding in a suit.

Isn’t he drool-worthy? *wibble*

As Charlie himself told me recently on Twitter, “They don’t call me DADDY for nothing.”

Oh Daddy. *ahem*

So not only is he really great in a suit, he’s really really great out of one.

And look at that ink! He has even more now, but this is a great pic of him so…yeah.

Just look. And enjoy.

Uh-huh. Where was I?

Oh right, why this is a special Suit Up Sunday post.

Because I have an absolute favorite picture of Charlie.


I am a lucky, lucky gal.

Charlie was kind enough to agree to be on the cover of my first Wilde City Press book “Accidental Alpha” which is coming September 11, 2013!

I think it’s the best picture yet. 🙂

Here’s the blurb:

A quiet life. A break from the dangers of being a cop. Yep, Lex Tompkins has his future all worked out. That is, until fate—or rather the stray toddler from the house across the street—bites those plans in the ass. Well, technically Lex’s neck. Suddenly, he’s transformed into the Alpha of the secret werewolf clan hiding in the perfect, out of the way neighborhood of Lex’s dreams.
Now Lex is the unlikely leader of a dysfunctional pack… except for Spencer Robinson, the one shifter Lex can’t seem to keep his paws off. Will Spencer be able to teach Lex how to embrace who he has truly become?
Because accidents happen…
…but fate marks its own territory.
You can find more info here at Wilde City Press.

Suit Up Sunday: Ben Affleck

Oh how the internet blew up at the news that Ben Affleck was cast as the next Batman. I didn’t really blow up. I mean, I think Ben’s a good-looking and talented guy. Okay, so Daredevil wasn’t my favorite…but I can’t think of many actors who haven’t had a miss.

Anyway, I thought I’d take this opportunity to spotlight Ben as part of my Suit Up Sunday posts, because I’ve gotta tell you, the man can rock a suit.

Now, I’d like to go back a year or two and say that I think Ben’s performance in Pearl Harbor was awesome. I really love that movie. Plus, he got to rock the uniform.

Oh I love a jaunty set of a hat!

Okay, but back to suits. Now, in order to be Batman, Ben also has to be…Bruce Wayne. You with me on this one? So yeah, Bruce wears suits. And tuxes. A lot. See comics evidence:

See what I mean? Suits. Tuxes. Bruce Wayne. Billionaire. He’s gotta be able to rock the suit.

I’d just like to toss out there that Ben can rock a suit.


That’s my official opinion on the subject.

Um, he also rocks no suit…but that’s a post for another day…