Thursday, January 31, 2013

Post Release Post #2: Readers


So now it's been almost two months since my book came out. It has been a crazy whirlwind.  I have to say that the strangest part about having your book published is this:  everyone you know reads it.  And I do mean every one.

People you never thought would read it--they read it.  People who are self-professed non-readers?  They read it.  People who haven't read a book in 10 years?  They read it.  Your 82 year old grandmother?  Yeah, she reads it.  The gaggle of aunts you have who are the sweetest, kindest, most decent human beings you've ever known in your life who you're certain will be scarred for life by the more disturbing scenes in your psychological thriller?  They read it.  All your writer friends?  They read it.  Your friends from grade school?  They read it.  Your friends from high school?  They read it. Your friends from college?  They read it.  Former work colleagues?  They read it.  Neighbors?  They read it.  Your boss?  He reads it.  Your dentist?  She reads it.  Your accountant?  He reads it.  Your fifth grade teacher?  She reads it.

The list goes on and on.

Even your brother and sister-in-law's dog, apparently,  reads it!


This.  Is.  Amazing.  And somewhat nerve-wracking at times!

First let me say that I'm ridiculously flattered and humbled by the response I've gotten from people who actually know me (or know people I know).  My family and friends and friends of friends and neighbors and people I run into at the bank and the doctor's office and the store. . .  have been so enthusiastic, so incredible, so . . . I don't really have words.  They've made this already exciting time about a million times more exciting.  Thank you to all of you!  What is so awesome is that people have taken time out of their lives to spend hours reading something that I've written.  That is so freaking cool!

So because my family and friends are so awesome, they all bought paperbacks and many of them bought paperbacks to gift to coworkers and friends.  So for the first few weeks, almost on a daily basis, I would get an email or text or FB message saying, "I'm on chapter 24" or "I'm on chapter 11" and I'd have to rush over to the end table and flip furiously through the pages of my book to see just where they were.  I honestly have no concept of the chapters.  I only know the order of the plot.  So if I'm not near my book and can't flip to the chapter, I have to say, "Well, what just happened?" and then I know whether they've already gotten to the most disturbing stuff or not!



All right, so if you've read my book or followed my blog for any length of time then you know that my book is not for the faint of heart.  It is dark, gritty and violent.  Lucky for me, I've had almost a decade to get comfortable with my book and what's in it.  Given what real life children in Claire's situation go through, I did not and do not believe there was any other way to tell this story.  I don't think you can tell this story without writing about the violence these children experience.  Would you write a book about a Prisoner of War's experience in captivity and never once speak of what he endured?  I don't think so.  But that's a post for another time.  My point here is that the book is disturbing in parts and while I believe in my book, I was very nervous about certain people reading it--like my grandmother and the gaggle of sweet aunts!

So far, almost everyone I know who has read it is still speaking to me.  The sweet aunts?  The ones who have read it so far have had good things to say.  My 82 year old grandmother?  She loved it!

I get a lot of different responses.  Some people are very enthusiastic and want to discuss the intricacies of the plot and talk about the characters at length.  They're upset and angry that the book is over.  They gift it or vigorously recommend it to everyone else they know.  I think these are the people who enjoyed it the most.

Then there are people who have a lot of great things to say about it and are also very enthusiastic and will recommend the book to others.



Then there are people I think maybe didn't like it all that much--or even hated it--but won't come right out and say it.  These are people who were in the middle of it a few weeks ago and have not spoken of it since.  Or people who say only, "I read it."  Or people who say with a tight smile, "I read it.  It was good."  It must be difficult.  Certainly I've been in the awkward position before of having read something I didn't like or didn't connect with and not wanted to hurt the writer's feelings.  It's that whole if-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say-don't-say-anything-at-all thing.  But I know that not everything is for everyone, and I appreciate that people have taken time from their busy lives to read my book--even if it isn't their cup of tea.  There are even people who have told me they couldn't finish it because of the subject matter.  And that's fine with me.  Kind of like how I could never watch The Sopranos because the type of violence portrayed (visually) was too graphic for me.  I'm fine with that.  If I wanted to write something that anyone could read, I would have written a children's book.

Fortunately for me, thus far, the amount of positive reader response has far, far, far outweighed the lukewarm responses which is really awesome.

What has been really cool is that literally not one day has gone by without me getting some kind of message--an email, Facebook message, Tweet, text, etc.--from a reader saying something positive.  One day I got five messages all within a few hours of each other.  Needless to say, I was on Cloud 9.  Just last week I got a beautiful email from a reader who connected with the book on a personal level, and that was very gratifying.

In fact, the reader response thus far has been doubly gratifying to me since it took me almost a decade to get this book into their hands.

Next time, I'll talk about the dreaded reviews!  And after that . . . FAQs and after that . . . I'm considering a post on misconceptions of the newbie author's life.  Stay tuned and THANK YOU for stopping by!

A friend of a relative

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Interview with Author, Donna Huston Murray



I'm really thrilled to welcome Donna Huston Murray to my blog today.  I recently joined my local chapter of Sisters In Crime where I've already connected with many incredible writers.  Donna was published by a Big 6 publisher for many years, and recently she has gone Independent with a new suspense novel that is a departure from her successful cozy series.  I was quite anxious to hear what she had to say about writing and  the publishing industry.  So let me give you the skinny.  Here's her bio:


Donna Huston Murray writes character-driven mystery and suspense novels from the perspective of a woman who doesn’t take herself too seriously.  The seven Ginger Barnes Main Line mysteries (four now e-books), were recently joined by Murray’s suspense debut, CURED…but not out of danger, described by Publisher’s Weekly as, “a gripping page-turner,”  “with an admirable, down-to-earth heroine.” (Kirkus Review).

Her new novel is called CURED . . . but not out of danger


The synopsis is thus:

Cancer survivor and ex-cop, Lauren Beck can’t seem to catch a break.  Now her friends, phone, home, credit and credibility are all gone, severed with surgical precision by an enemy intent on framing her for murder. Is it one of the insureds she was hired to investigate? The fellow employee she upstaged? Does the daughter of her landlady and dear friend, Corinne Wilder, hate her even more than she thought?

Whoever targeted her should beware. Lauren Beck knows how to fight for her life.

You can get it here:

B&N


And here is my interview:

You’ve had several cozy mysteries published by St. Martin’s Press. What drew you to writing cozies?

I began reading the Nero Wolfe whodunits by Rex Stout when I was ten. It can’t be true, but I felt as if they were all I read for fun until I got to college. It is true that they made me want to write mysteries, and I never changed my mind. Stubbornness is our family trait.
    Regarding the cozy part, early on cozies were probably the most age-appropriate. Then, after dabbling with articles and short stories, when I was ready to write full-length fiction, my kids were in school and my husband headed a private school. Rather than embarrass them with anything inappropriate, I stayed with the genre I knew best. My aim was to add more of what I was looking for myself–a lighthearted character dealing with a serious crime, an Archie Goodwin who had to be home to make dinner.

Since your first novel was published, how has the publishing industry changed?

Cozies aren’t quite as hot, for one thing. They became over-purchased around the time I was ready to experiment with a different style. My second editor (of four) had recommended that I try a “bigger” book, a challenge I welcomed after seven Ginger Barnes books. However, the learning curve was steeper than I expected, and a couple of agent mismatches slowed the process. When you’re insecure, you’re inclined to adopt any well-intended advice in the belief that it’s what you have to do to succeed. Discovering that most writers ride a rollercoaster of confidence and insecurity was extremely helpful to me. Now when I’m at the bottom, I recognize the terrain and can say, “Oh, right. I’ve been here before. Next!”
    The real trouble is that insecure people make bad decisions, and writers have to make decisions all day every day. So scraping together some confidence is essential. It was a long time coming, but now I feel genuinely secure in my work, enough to publish it independently, to promote it and stand by its quality. That’s a huge personal accomplishment for me. Probably more significant than being published by one of the Big Six, to be honest.

Can you tell us a little about your writing process?

Readers of mystery and suspense are usually the sharper  pencils in the box. They’ll catch any inconsistency, any slip of logic, any typo, any sort of mistake you can name. Being a mystery geek myself, I can’t help doing that, too (although for obvious reasons I’m very forgiving.)  So from the outset I try to be as careful as possible, beginning with the plot.
   My system is this: Put every little piece of action I know I want on its own white file card, hot action on pink, reference stuff on green. Banish the dog, then put the white and pink in some sort of order on the living room floor. Read it in order. Shuffle as needed. Add transition. Watch that the pink cards are spaced to create a wave of tension and relief, tension and relief. Note where I need more research. When I have about 40 cards, I stack them in order and flesh out paragraphs on the computer–my outline. Divide into chapters, and now I know where to start every morning.
   Usually I stick to one scene a day, which I “see” as if it were a real event; so when it’s done, I’m done. When my head is in a book, it’s like living a second, secret life.

How long did it take you to find an agent? How many rejections?  How long were you on submissions?

Let’s just say that when I wasn’t writing publishable material, I didn’t sell. When I was close, the rejections became personalized, and I felt as if I were standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Getting to the other side required some serious calculation. I chose a saleable topic (the internationally famous Philadelphia Flower Show) and the title FINAL ARRANGEMENTS. Then I devoted all the time I thought was necessary to do the best job I knew how. The result interested an agent, and he got me a three-book contract rather quickly.

Your newest novel, CURED…but not out of danger is a departure from cozies. Why the change?

Now that my children are adults and my husband a consultant, there’s no reason not to let my fiction grow up, too.  Also CURED is the “bigger” book the editor who supported me most recommended.

You were published successfully with a Big 6 publisher. With your newest novel, you’ve struck out on your own. Why go independent? Why now?

I wrote a blog explaining that more completely (“Declaring My Independence”), but I’ll say here that expedience, freedom, money, and control are all factors. Also, the support you get from everyone involved is fantastic. I feel as if I’ve caught a wave, and that’s really exciting. For me, it’s much more fun being in business for myself. An entrepreneur at heart–who knew?

What do you think are the most important things that any author can do to successfully market their book(s)?

Write a book that’s interesting to both you and others like you. Then study the offerings and choose what seems logical for your audience. Each success story is different, and trends shift quickly. If I knew a better answer, I’d be doing it myself.

What advice would you give to writers who are just beginning their journey to publication?

DHM:  Learn to be a tough self-editor. Believe in yourself. Don’t quit.

For more about Donna, please visit her website:  http://www.donnshustonmurray.com




Polar Night Cover Reveal!

I'm very excited to be a part of debut novelist, Julie Flanders' cover reveal for her upcoming novel, Polar Night, which will be released on February 7, 2013 from Ink Smith Publishing.  Julie is a wonderful person and a very talented writer so I hope you'll all check out her book when the time comes.  For now, I'll whet your appetite with the following:



When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case.

The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny's instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems.

Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same. 

About Julie:

Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is her first novel. It will be published by Ink Smith Publishing on February 7, 2013. Find Julie online at her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.

(I can't wait for this book!!!!)



Sunday, January 20, 2013

Psst . . . It's a stop on the Healing Summer Blog Tour with Elizabeth Seckman!



I'm so thrilled to be a part of the Healing Summer Blog Tour.  Healing Summer is Elizabeth Seckman's second novel.  I discovered Elizabeth's blog last year and have been totally enthralled ever since.  She is warm, witty, hilarious and so down to earth!  I'm excited to have met her online and doubly excited to help her promote her new book!



Maybe Love, Not Time, Heals All Wounds

Ditched at the altar…biopsied for cancer…Mollie Hinkle is having a bona fide bitch of a summer. When life sucks so hard it takes your breath away, what's a girl to do? Pack a bag, grab a few friends, and leave the past and the worry in the rear view mirror. What wounds can’t be healed by a drive across the Heartland, where quarter flips at cross roads determine the route and the future? All roads lead to Craig, the second son and bad boy of the haughty Coulter line. Has fate brought her to the miniscule Montana town to find happily ever after or will it just break her heart?

“Healing Summer” is the second book in the Coulter Men Series.


Now, since I have Elizabeth here, I asked her which one of her characters she feels most attached to and why.  As writers, we all have that one character who is closest to our hearts and most compelling to us (ahem . . . Claire for me).  So here is what Elizabeth had to say on this topic:



So, you want to know which one of my characters I feel most strongly about and why?

In “Healing Summer”, hands down, I love Jack.

Jack, or Polly to those who don’t call her friend, is the spunky stalwart for the quiet MC, Mollie Hinkle. It was Jack who leaped the pew in a swirl of purple taffeta to take a swing at the squirrelly Justin. Okay, so a fistfight in front of a man of the cloth isn’t exactly lady like, but Justin needed a good knock in the head! Who waits until they are at the altar, in the midst of vows and guest, to dump your bride-to-be?

He had it coming and Jack is the kind of pal who delivers retribution. And helps bury the body..then provides the alibi…or steals the get-away car if that plan fails.

Yes, she has issues. She doesn’t trust just anyone. She has a history of people letting her down…her drunken dad for starters and the multitude of men she dated and dumped. But she’s like a mutt saved from the pound. Trust in her, put up with her sometimes scruffy exterior, and you have a friend for life. Hurt someone she loves and watch your back.

Who couldn’t use a friend like that?

Indeed!  And, uh, wow!  That makes me want to read this book even more!

Anyway, check out Elizabeth and her new book!


Oh and there's a rafflecopter giveaway for $100!!!!  Be sure to enter!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Happy Release Day! Michael Infinito's In Blog We Trust


A couple of years ago, a writer contacted me about my agent.  He had a full out to her and he wanted to know if I was happy with her or not.  We emailed back and forth and quickly became friends.  Eventually, my agent offered him a contract, which was really cool because now we had even more in common than before.  We were on submissions together for what felt like years.  We exchanged short emails almost every single day.  Usually one to two liners, just enough to keep each other's spirits up. That writer has come to mean a great deal to me, even though we've never met.  He is someone whose constant support and encouragement would be hard to live without.  Plus, he never fails to make me laugh in my darkest writing hours!

That writer is Michael Infinito and his first novel, In Blog We Trust comes out today!



It is not your standard fare--it's very shocking and twisty, which I found extremely refreshing.  I know I can count on Michael to keep me up late at night frantically turning pages only to be all "HOLY #*$$#&S&#*$" at the end!

Here is the synopsis:



Throughout history, people have sold their souls to the dark side in order to make their selfish wishes come true.  With the dawn of the computer age, the ritual continued.  A few rock stars, race car drivers, and even certain politicians found their fame and fortune with the help of a new and mesmerizing, evil website.  Little did these people know what price they’d pay for the use of its services.

When Carrie Palmer, a frustrated housewife, logs onto the website and enters an under duress comment about her husband, a chain of events begins to unfold that no one could have ever predicted. Now she must put two and two together and try to solve the riddle of the killer blog before it’s too late. With the clock ticking, and the fate of other people hanging in the balance, Carrie’s only hope lies twelve hundred miles away in the City of New Orleans. But will she make it there before their time runs out, or will her worst nightmare become a reality. Only time will tell.

Get it here or here.

In honor of his release day, I've asked Michael to indulge me and let me interview him!  So here goes!

How long have you been writing? Why did you start?


When I was in high school I used to write warped song lyrics and poems...really gruesome and raw stuff. I always had ideas for stories, but I never really put them on paper. About four years ago I bought a laptop computer with the intention of writing a novel. It didn't happen. Instead I got into blogging. I started writing short stories and posting them. The positive feedback I received for the shorts gave me the confidence to finally sit down and have a go at something full length.

How long did it take you to find an agent?

Between querying two novels, it took me probably 200 letters before I was even asked for a manuscript. I'd say at least 6 or 8 months.

What is the most challenging part of the writing/publication process?

By far the query letter. I always say that writing a novel is much easier than writing a query. I think it's because we're too close to our own work to effectively summarize it. I could easily write a query for someone else's story, though.

I've had the privilege of reading a lot of your work and many, if not all, of your stories have lots of twists and turns and some very shocking events. Where do you come up with this stuff and why do you enjoy writing such shocking, twisty stories?

I've always been about shock value. It hasn't always worked out well for me. I drew a picture of one of my teachers being decapitated when I was in high school. I got in trouble, but now-a-days they would have locked me up. lol  As far as the twists and turns go, that's just the way I think. When I write a novel, I know how its going to start and I know how I want it to end. Everything in between is subject to change as I go. The twists are not always planned, and the story is very loosely outlined.

Who are your favorite writers?

This is a tough one because I don't really read much. I tend to follow books more than writers. I loved the Da Vinci Code, but not Brown's other novels. I liked a few Stephen King books, and a couple by Dean Koontz, but honestly, aside from your stuff, I've probably only read one book in the last five years.

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

I would say that when a person sits down to write a novel, they shouldn't feel overwhelmed at the number of words needed to complete a full-length work. If you wrote only 500 words per day, in six months you'd have a 90,000 word novel. I'm also not a big fan of those 'write 50,000 words in thirty days' things that pop up. If you end up with 50,000 words of jumbled crap, it'll take you another month to sort it all out. So anyway, I guess my advice would be to take your time and worry more about quality than making a word quota.
Oh yeah, and no matter how bad you want to write a literary agent back and tell them to go @*#@ themselves after rudely dismissing your efforts, it probably isn't a good idea. Haha

                                                        * * * * * * * * * * * *


FYI - Michael's second novel, 12:19 will be out from MuseItUp Publishing in March 2013!


Monday, January 14, 2013

The Importance of Minor Characters: Guest Post by Libby Heily, Author of Tough Girl

I could not be more excited!  Today is the release of Tough Girl by Libby Heily.  I had the pleasure and privilege of reading this book in its last stages of editing and to put it quite simply, my mind was blown.  This book is completely unlike anything I've ever read.  I feel like the word masterpiece even falls short in describing the greatness of this book.  I could go on and on but I have to leave room for Libby's guest post, so if you want to know all my thoughts, I encourage you to read my Goodreads review right here. Look, this is the read of a lifetime so do yourself a favor and get this book.


Here is the synopsis:


Danger lurks everywhere in eleven year old Reggie's world—from the bully next door to the unwanted attentions of a creep at school. Raised by her mentally ill mother, Reggie is left to fend for herself in a rough neighborhood. She escapes in daydreams, battling aliens with her alter ego, Tough Girl.

When Reggie's mother disappears, her fantasy life spirals out of control and starts to invade reality. She is hunted by a creature of her own design, and even Tough Girl is not strong enough to stop him.

Will Reggie survive long enough for her mother to return, or will her dream world take over?



Here are the purchase links and bio of the fabulous Libby Heily:

Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Goodreads

Twitter:  @LibbyHeily

Blog

About Libby:

I'm a bookworm and a writer, a nerd that's seen every episode of
Farscape and can't wait for the next Dr. Who Season to begin. I enjoy
running and playing sports and am always hopeful the Baltimore Ravens
will win a superbowl. I love movies but don't care about the Oscars.
I eat apples regularly but find apple juice bitter and don't like it.
I'm a foodie and a beer snob. I eat babies. Okay, just baby carrots.
I studied acting, video production and creative writing. I've had
very few jobs that reflect any of those years of study. I am Libby
Heily, and it's nice to meet you.

Finally, Libby's Guest Post:

The Importance of Minor Characters

Thanks Lisa, for having me as a guest today!  I decided to gear my guest post towards you.  One of the many things I loved about Finding Claire Fletcher was how you made your minor characters people, and not just place holders.  Today, I wanted to talk about how important minor characters can be.

In Tough Girl, we meet a whole host of people, some for only a scene or two.  They are no less important than Reggie, the main character.  Minor characters give texture to a story.  They add to the plot, character building, world building, or flat out entertainment.  In order to be effective, they must be well developed.

There's one scene in particular of Tough Girl that I love, and it's one that most likely no one will notice or comment on.  It's the scene where Reggie goes to the nurse's office.  Reggie has just had an encounter with the Octhmuslan, the imaginary alien that stalks her in reality.  She's fainted and been found by Mrs. Stegner, her first period teacher.  Mrs. Stegner accompanies Reggie to the nurse's office, and this is where we meet Mrs. Chumley.

It would have been very simple to never describe the encounter.  The point of this scene is to see how Reggie is able to convince herself that none of this ever happened, that she was just daydreaming.  It would have been super easy to leave the matter alone there.  But why miss an opportunity?  Instead, I focused on Mrs. Chumley, on who she is what she wants.  I gave her the hobby of reading romance novels during work.  Once I did that, I knew who she was.  Mrs. Chumley does not want to be a nurse anymore.  She does not enjoy her work.  She's bored, and much like Reggie, she escapes the drudgery by reading.  Like many adults in the story, she is not evil, but she overlooks Reggie's troubles.  Mrs. Chumley is too preoccupied with her own life, needs,  and disappointments to delve into any of Reggie's issues, medical or otherwise.  Instead, she focuses on getting rid of Reggie as soon as possible and with as little effort as possible.  Here's the scene:


The nurse’s office was tiny, big enough only for a single bed and a small desk.  Mrs. Chumley sat filling out forms.  A romance novel lay splayed open next to her.  On the cover was a man with long hair and rippling muscles.  He held an injured woman in his arms.  Her clothes were torn and her eyes were closed as if she’d fainted.  The nurse caught Reggie and Mrs. Stegner looking at the book.  She covered it with a half-filled out form.
“Mrs. Chumley, I’ll leave her to you,” Mrs. Stegner said, eyeing the documents carefully.  Mrs. Chumley had been filling out the form upside down.  Mrs. Stegner made a tsking sound as she left the nurse’s office.
“What do you need?” the nurse asked.  She put the forms right side up and began to actually read them.  “Little time out of class?”
“I was dizzy,” Reggie said.
The nurse put down her pen and picked up the phone.  “Who do I call, mom or dad?”
“What?”
“Mom or dad?  Which one?”
“But I’m fine.  I was just a little dizzy.”
Mrs. Chumley sighed but did not put the phone down.  “If you’re dizzy, puking, have diarrhea or any other serious symptoms, I have to call your parents.  If you just need a little time out of class, then you can take a nap while I read my forms.”
“Time out of class.”
Mrs. Chumley hung up the receiver and pointed to the bed.  “Anyone comes in, you have a mild headache and need some rest.”
“Okay.”
Reggie lay down and counted the black dots in the tiles above her head.  Mrs. Chumley picked up her book again.  The only sound Reggie heard over the next agonizingly slow thirty-five minutes was the turning of pages.  By the time she was excused to go to her next class, she’d convinced herself that none of it was real.  She’d fainted when she left math and dreamt the whole thing.


The whole scene is only a few paragraphs.  We do not know Mrs. Chumley well, we only meet her in the context of Reggie's story.  What we know is that she is bored and no longer cares (if she ever did) about the welfare of the students.  Her apathy allows the absence of Reggie's mother to go undetected, keeping Reggie in jeopardy.  This highlights a theme of the novel, how a child's problems can be easily ignored by adults.  We also get to see a brief but hostile conversation between Mrs. Stegner, the closest thing to a caring adult Reggie encounters throughout the novel, and Mrs. Chumley.  This conversation does not last long as Mrs. Stegner also doesn't want to delve too deep in Reggie's problems either.  She cares, but does not truly want to get involved.

Do you have a favorite minor character from a book or movie?  What made you respond to them?





Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Author Spotlight: Becca Ann's Debut, Reasons I Fell For The Funny Fat Friend


Today I'm thrilled to bring your attention to a new novel, Reasons I Fell for the Funny Fat Friend by Becca Ann.  Although this is a YA book, and I don't normally read YA, the title and premise are so intriguing to me that I find myself drawn to this book.  I've already purchased it and can't wait to read it!

So here's the blurb:


It’s stupid to fall for your brother’s ex. It’s even worse to enlist another’s help to win the ex over. But Brody is desperate and Hayley, his partner in American Sign Language, is more than willing to lend him a few tips. 

She’s the school’s matchmaker,’ and with her bizarre and positive personality, Brody finds her easy to talk to, even about the most awkward situations. Hayley’s tips seem to be working, but as Brody learns more about his matchmaker, he starts finding reasons to spend time with her, and not the girl he thought he was in love with. 

But Hayley isn’t ready to fall for anyone. Labeled the “Funny Fat Friend” within her group, her self image makes it impossible for Brody to share his feelings without Hayley shrugging it off as a joke. 

Convincing her Brody can, and did, fall for the “Funny Fat Friend” turns out to be harder than simply falling in love.

You can find Becca Ann on Facebook right here.

You can find and rate the book on Goodreads right here.

And Becca is also holding a giveaway (one paperback and one ebook) which you can check out below:

Get the book here:

Amazon

Paperback

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Post-Release Post #1: The Launch

My daughter said to me, "Why are we calling it a launch?  That's something only rocket ships do!"

I don't know, but that's what we called it: "The Launch".  It was mine and my mom's idea to have some kind of party to mark the occasion of me fulfilling my lifelong dream.  So we set about planning a Launch/Release party.  We ended up having it at the neighborhood Applebee's because, well, Philadelphia doesn't have a lot of love for its debut authors.  I grew up in the Roxborough/Manayunk section of Philadelphia.  After college, I moved back here.  Both sides of my family are from here--many still live here.  My husband is from this neighborhood.  I met him across the street from where we live now!  I wanted to keep the celebration of the release of my first novel in my neighborhood.  Many people seemed to balk at this idea, and I'm not sure why.  I was getting turned down by pretty much every place I approached.  Then my mom realized that our local Applebee's had a banquet room of sorts, and she approached them.  They were crazy enthusiastic and because of that, I couldn't wait to book with them!  And having had the launch there, I'm so happy and relieved that that's where we did it!  So the date, time and location were set.  Invites went out. Books were reserved.  Butterflies were all aflutter!

My fake Aunt Ava even surprised me by having a gorgeous giant, poster-sized cover image of Finding Claire Fletcher created for me and honestly, if I thought I could do it without crinkling or ruining it, I would be sleeping with this bad boy!  What a lovely and incredible gift!  My daughter made us all pose with photos next to it but I'll spare you . . .


So what does one do when one has been writing books for 25 years and one's dream finally comes true?  What does one do when the book they've spent almost a decade trying to get published finally comes out?

I went to work.

That's right.  I went to work. Cause let's face it, writing doesn't pay and my job has awesome benefits.  I worked an almost full day, during which time I thought my phone was actually going to crap out because of all the social media messages I received.  It was quite awesome.  Let's just say I was really feeling the love!

Then I picked up my daughter from school, we went home and got changed, the hubs loaded the car with all of our launch materials and we were off!  And I was actually late for my own signing cause Regans are like that.  Lucky for me, only my cousin Mark had shown up ahead of me, and because he's such a wonderful guy, he wasn't at all annoyed and even helped us transport all our launch stuff into the building.  So we set up.


If you look to the far right there, you'll see my daughter's book.  Yes, my daughter's book.  She's five and the world is so exciting for her, and I wanted this to be exciting for her too.  So a couple of months before the big launch I sat down with her and talked to her about what it would be like and we decided she would create her own book.  And she did.  She drew all the pictures and told me what to write in terms of the narrative.  She wrote her own name on the front of it.  We even did an About The Author at the end and I got to blurb her book.  It was quite creative and had a story arc and everything.  I got 60 of them printed up at Staples.  And, as she loves to tell people now, "I sold out all my books before Mommy did!"


There she is signing her very first book for one of her lovely teachers who came out to the launch to support her!

She had a blast and so did I!  I was amazed by how many people came out to support me in this endeavor.  The first hour or two was easy. There was a steady flow of people and I had time to work the room and chat.  Then all of a sudden there was a line out the door--yeah, a line out the door for little old me and my little old book that for six years was "great but not quite there"--I'm still pretty stunned!  People I haven't seen in months and years drove from other states to come and buy a book, have it signed and hang out.  A college friend I hadn't seen in a decade.  Friends I went to grade school with who I hadn't seen in years.  A former karate student from upstate who is all grown up now and going to college in Philadelphia.  One of my college professors and his wife.  Relatives, friends, neighbors.  Even the wonderful ladies I met at Bouchercon came!  Like I said, I was really feeling the love!  Pretty amazing stuff.

Some of the crowd

I signed and signed and signed and tried to talk to everyone who came and get my picture taken with them.  I didn't eat or pee for 6 hours and it was incredibly awesome.  Still when I think about it, I'm so humbled by the support I received on this night! If I calculated correctly, 155 copies of Finding Claire Fletcher went home with readers!  I actually ran out.  Most of these people were family and friends or friends of friends, but a good deal were people I didn't even know.  So many people brought people which was incredible. In fact, a woman having dinner at Applebee's popped in and asked me if I was Gillian Flynn (who is one of my idols).  Somehow, I managed not to blurt out, "I WISH!" and instead sent her off with a bookmark and the promise that my book would only cost her $3.99 on her nook!

I have to give a shout-out to Ian, who was our server.  He was brilliant.  I don't know how he pulled it off with so many people there, but he did an incredible job.  In fact, he was so good that for three weeks after the launch I actually had people come up to me and tell me how great he was during the event!  So Ian, thank you.  You're incredible.  Applebee's:  Promote this man and give him a huge raise.  He pretty much single-handedly made the night a success, and that part where he could read my mind and set things up exactly how I wanted without me even having to say anything was pretty cool too.  Oh and he kept bringing me food even though I didn't have time to eat it.  Holy multi-tasking genius.

We got home around 11 p.m. exhausted and completely exhilarated--happy beyond words.  We ate the meal that Ian so lovingly sent home with us--realizing that I had not actually eaten the whole time--and marveled over all the people who came out to launch Finding Claire Fletcher into the world!

I dressed to match my book!  Can you tell?  :)
And the next morning . . . I went to work.

Stay tuned for more Post-Release Posts!  I haven't even talked about what happens when people actually READ your book!