Catching Up. . .or What I Did Over the Summer

Remember when you went back to school in September (I grew up in places where school never began before Labor Day) and your teacher would assign you an essay about what you did over summer vacation?

Well, today’s post is that essay.

If you follow my site, you might have noticed that my personal posts have dwindled over the summer.  I apologize.  My summer began with the release of Restless on June 28th and all of the planning and work that went along with that.

And shortly thereafter, I became a full partner in Promotional Book Tours with the incomparable Mandie Stevens.  Mandie has handled the bulk of my own promotions and publicity, and she is smart and savvy.  Working with her has been a huge learning experience!

For instance, I now know how to put together a rafflecopter, a linky tool and the set up for scheduling a tour. I’m always a little slow at first, but eventually I figure it out.

You may have noticed that I’ve been promoting lots of other books on my site, too.  These are all PBT clients, and all are books I can personally recommend to you. I hope that you’ll check out these books and authors (and enter the giveaways for some really cool prizes!).

So I’ve been adjusting this summer to a new schedule, balancing PBT work, housework, child care, family time and my own promotion and writing.

Writing has been especially hard. It’s difficult for me to just pick up and write in dribs and drabs; I need devoted writing time, a few hours or anything open ended, where I can get lost in the world and let the words flow. That kind of time has been in short supply lately.

So what else have I done? Well, we have a new cat in the house (yes, that makes me the crazy cat lady officially), and she’s slowly getting acclimated to the other cats.  We didn’t choose her; a neighbor found her and delivered her to our house. But seriously, folks, she’s so cute you wouldn’t be able to turn her away either! Look at that face.  Her name is Mrs. Lennon, named by my Beatles loving children. I call her Lenni.

What have YOU done this summer?  What books did you read, what movies did you see, what shows on television captured your evenings?  Did you eat any delicious food, travel to exciting places, meet new people?  Share below. . .that’s you assignment.  Minimum 25 words, single spaced.

And. . .go.

Stephanie Nelson Anniversary Giveaway

I’m happy to help author Stephanie Nelson celebrate her first anniversary as a published author!

July 25th marks one year since I published Craved – Book 1 in the Gwen Sparks Series. It’s been an amazing roller coaster and has forever changed my life. I’ve met some fantastic people, learned a lot and most importantly, found something I want to do with the rest of my life—write.

 

The support of my readers, friends and family has been amazing to say the least. To show my appreciation, I’ve put together one heck of a giveaway. Because of you guys, Craved reached #1 on Amazon’s bestseller’s list and #5 on Barnes & Noble’s bestseller’s list. Thank you guys for making my first year of being publish something I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Check out what you could win below!

 

 

 

 

Plus swag (postcards, boomarks, magnets, mousepads from multiple authors!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Why review?

I love fan mail, and in the last few weeks, I’ve gotten some wonderful messages from people who really enjoyed Restless. Thank you so much!

I usually respond by reminding readers to stop by Amazon and/or Goodreads and leave me a review. The other day, someone responded, “Why? No one cares what I think about books.”

Au contraire, my friend! Reviews are essential to all writers, and they are especially important now, in the age of ebooks.  Readers go to sites like Amazon, Smashwords, BN and Goodreads looking for a book to download. They can’t pick up a physical object, skim through it and get sense of its value.  Most people judge by the cover, glance at the blurb and then skim down the reviews. Those few lines left by previous readers can make or break a sale.

So how can YOU help? It’s pretty simple. When you read a book–whether it’s mine or any other author’s–go to the author’s page on Amazon and leave a review.  It doesn’t have to be an in-depth analysis of the meaning, the plot or the characters; you can simply say that you liked it (or didn’t) and one reason why.

And while you’re there, read through the other reviews.  If you agree, hit ‘yes’ at the end.  If you don’t, hit ‘no’.  This will bring the most accurate reviews to the top of the page and keep the less helpful ones to the bottom.

Thank you so much for every kind word, every recommendation and referral. It really does make a huge difference!

Author Olivia Hardin Guest Post!

Thank you to my fellow author Olivia Hardin for her guest post today. I hope you’ll enjoy it and read her new book, Bitten Shame!

No Regrets

It was a really, really bad day, but my wonderful friend and fellow writer Liz Schulte supplied some advice.  Punch someone… she said. Make it a stranger, then run like hell because they’re gonna call the cops.  As so often seems to happen with writers, I started spinning a little story around her suggestions.  I weaved in a little something from several other off-hand things that had happened to me recently and here you have it.  An appropriate title escapes me, but nevertheless, here is my short, corny bit of prose!

I’m too old to cry.  That thought circled the runway in his mind a few times, desperate for some place to crash and burn into a fireball of emotion.  He sniffed once, twice, then dropped his head and let loose a single tear.  He refused to allow more than that. Any more than a single tear would be stupid.

Roger removed the wetness from his cheek with a swipe of his hand, then pressed his body forward to heave himself from the park bench.  The sun shone bright overhead, but he kept his head down and shuffled along the city square.  He wouldn’t be shuffling if she were with him.  No, her ready excitement would have them springing this way and that.  She loved the outdoors and her enthusiasm always rubbed off on him.  Bees flitted and buzzed around the freshly planted flowers along the south side of the square and he remembered how eager she would be to smell each and every one.

Mentally he cursed the sun, the blue sky and the colorful blooms for their mere presence. His Katie was gone and all the rest of the world could just go to hell.

People were moving too fast.  Their bodies edged close to him, the expressions on their faces proof enough that they thought he was just an old man with nothing to do except get in their way.  He wouldn’t give them any quarter, just carried on at his steady pace so that they would be forced to skirt along either side of him to get by.

A brute of a guy appeared a ways down the walk in front of him.  The broad-chested man was heading right for Roger and the look on his face said he wasn’t about to step aside if the old man got in his way.

The fellow reminded him of a sergeant who used to bully him when he was stationed on Okinawa.  A tight ball of resentment grew in the pit of Roger’s belly and he harrumphed to himself as he watched “Brutus” get closer.  Memories of long ago years clouded his mind and he remembered the pretty brunette nurse who chided him over a few beers about the sergeant’s harassment.

“Next time you should just punch him.  Punch him hard and then run as fast as you can.  You look athletic enough and he’s a big bulky guy.  He’ll never be able to catch you.  Just do it.”

He remembered her winking at him, those green eyes of hers–the feature that made her look so striking–glistening like emeralds.  She’d laughed, “Think about what a great story that will be to tell your grandkids one day.”

He couldn’t seem to recall her name, although her lovely face was emblazoned in his mind forever.  They had chatted along for a while longer that day and before they parted she touched a small, delicate hand to his cheek and smiled, “Hey, even if you never do punch him, it’ll still be a great story to tell your grandkids.  People always believe what old people say.” He never saw her again and he never did punch that sergeant.

You’re too old for regrets he told himself.

Roger stopped in place and squinted up at the sun.  Damn, I miss Katie.  The pain assailed him again and he fought more tears.  No tears.

“Omph!” the air rushed from Roger’s lungs as “Brutus” shoved his shoulder to force him out of the way.  He stumbled a bit and heard another passerby dispute the big guy’s treatment of an “old man.”  While the two exchanged words, Roger brushed his sweaty hands against his thighs and felt a sly smile curl his lips.

Calm and cool, he approached “Brutus” and stood a step in front of the big man.  The years had shortened his height significantly, but Roger stretched his spine tall as he pulled his arm back and delivered a strong punch to the guy’s jaw.

It was anything but a knock-out blow.  Still “Brutus” was so surprised he stepped back two paces.  Laughter welled up in Roger’s belly as he turned, shook his throbbing hand and walked away.  There was no need to run.  The passerby had recovered his own shock and gone back to harassing the bully.

He could picture Katie laughing at what he had done. A life with no regrets was a great life; that’s the lesson he would impart to the grandkids.

So, thanks for letting me guest blog today!  No regrets!

~  Olivia