Why iBooks? (iBooks FRiDAY 1)

Once upon a time, I read books just the same way the rest of the world did: paperbacks or hard-cover books that I could hold in my hands and turn the pages . . . usually procured from the library or a book store.

And then came ebooks. I had a Nook first . . . I bought my first Kindle Fire well after I’d published my own books. But even before that, in 2011, I had my very first iPhone. Still, I didn’t know anything about iBooks (which wasn’t really even a thing then).

In the last three years, though, I’ve read more on my iPhone than on any other device. Yet I’ll admit it: I usually read using my Kindle app. I’ll bet many of you do, too.

Recently, though, I’ve realized that it’s kind of ridiculous. After all, my iBooks app is specifically designed to work on my iPhone. And there are features which are super-cool on iBooks, like integrated music and playlists . . . and many of my favorite authors release exclusively on iBooks now, too.

So I’ve made a commitment: for the next year, I’m only buying–and reading–my books on iBooks. I’m also going to share what I’m reading and maybe give you some fun things I learn about along the way.

Which leads us to the next part (a bonus post for this first iBooks FRiDAY) . . . which is about how to navigate in iBooks for those of us who haven’t been there before and might find it a bit confusing.

Read it here–and be sure to follow along with me!

Can we chat?

14183769_10154105636729145_3475893206531129845_nSo this is how it works.

I finish writing a book. I have about two minutes of absolute euphoria, and then reality hits.

This wonderful story, the one I’ve just dedicated my life to writing, the one that has wrung every emotion from my heart, now must be shared with the world, which means I need to work on the dreaded P word: promotion.

If you ever become exasperated, feeling you’ve seen the same post over and over or perhaps different posts about the same book . . . trust me, we authors feel the same way about promoting. It’s not our favorite part of being an author.

In my perfect world, I’d finish writing my book and then sit down with a group of my favor readers to chat with them about it. We’d get lost in characters and plot lines and so on . . . and at the end of our lovely tea, they’d go out and tell their friends about the book, who would in turn tell their friends . . . well, you get the gist.

Meanwhile, I’d sit back and work on the next book.

Now, though, my chatting takes place on social media. When I post a picture or a link, it’s my only way of telling people when to expect the next book. Live events are lovely and give me a chance to talk to readers in person, but there’s a limit to how many of them I can do. And so the internet it is.

Of course, I’m very lucky that I have my dear Temptresses with whom to speak. They let me go on and on about characters and stories, and I’m grateful. (If you enjoy my books and want to join us on the Temptress group, go here.) If only we could mystically meet up each time I finish a book and talk it out in person! They’re also awesome about sharing and twisting friends’ arms to get them to read my books . . . I adore their enthusiasm. It’s what keeps me writing.

Regardless of the opportunities offered on the web, nothing beats word of mouth when it comes to books. You telling a friend about a story that captivate you is more effective than fifty Facebook ads. Sharing your favorite reads is so important!

Well . . . since it seems no one is going to come bring me tea and chat about Days of You and Me just now, I guess you’ll keep seeing the pictures, the promos and the posts. If you feel spunky, shares are always appreciated, as are posts and tweets and emails . . . whatever does the trick.

That’s part of this author’s life.

It’s Hard to Have Faith on Fridays

{For a long time, I’ve had plans to write a weekly post on faith and what it looks like today. I even set up the category on my site here: Faith on Fridays. I hoped to begin at Advent last year, and then again earlier this year. For a variety of reasons, that didn’t happen. But this morning, I woke up and knew today was the day. 

I am an author, and my site is about that. But I am also a woman of great faith, and not allowing myself to express that in some form is not being true to myself. I don’t force my beliefs on anyone else, and I don’t ask that my readers agree with me. You don’t have to read this weekly post. But I have to write it. I hope you’ll stick with me through it, and perhaps comment and start a dialogue, no matter your background and your own beliefs.}

~~~***~~~

Cross on top of american flag symbolizing memorial day in United States

Last night, I was just about to go to sleep, skimming through social media for one last check before bed. I saw the first posts about a shooting in Dallas. This time, it wasn’t police shooting an unarmed black man; it was police who were being shot during a protest. I stayed up, watching CNN until I couldn’t take it anymore. When I went to sleep, they were saying ten had been shot and two were dead. When I woke up this Friday morning, the numbers had changed; twelve shot, five dead.

It’s hard to have faith on Fridays.

Earlier in the week, I had been sickened and frustrated and angry about the two black men who were shot by police officers–one in Baton Rouge, one in Minnesota. I was horrified. This is America. On Monday we celebrated the anniversary of our freedom, of our proclamation that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL. All men. All women. Black, white, and every other color in between or beyond. Regardless of sexual identity, gender affiliation, religion, lack of religion and cultural background. All men are created equal. We have defended that peculiar notion for over two hundred years, we have bled for it and our soldiers have died for it. Yet we do not live it out. Not by a long shot.

It’s hard to have faith on Fridays.

My faith is rooted deep, from seeds planted in my childhood, carefully cultivated by so many men and women and books who helped shape what I believe and in Whom I believe. I follow Jesus, who tells us that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I try my best to make my everyday choices reflect that belief. I know that He is still in charge. I know that He is the ultimate victor. I know who wins this war.

But it’s hard to have faith on Fridays.

Several thousand years ago, on a Friday in Jerusalem, a man of peace, a man of love, Son of God, son of man, of His own free will, gave up His life for me and for you (whether you believe it or accept it or not) in a shameful, horrific death on the cross. He’d been the hope of a generation, beloved of His many followers, and within hours, he was dead, laid in a borrowed tomb.

It’s hard to have faith on Fridays.

If that were the end of the story, then what I believe would be futile. If that were the end of the story, then we could look around our nation and our world and have no reason for hope. If that were the end of the story, we should just give up.

But it’s not the end, because on Sunday, that tomb broke open and Jesus rose again, defeating death.

In the face of pain and horror and devastating loss, communities pull together. We support each other. We love despite differences. We embrace strangers. We march for peace. We hold our legislators accountable for making and enforcing laws that will make our nation safer and stronger, a country where ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL and are treated equitably and with dignity.

It’s hard to have faith on Fridays. But we hold on. We believe for a better day and a better way. We walk in His way, offering compassion and grace and love.

This isn’t the end. Love bats last, and there is not a single doubt in my mind about Who wins.

Keep the faith, even on Fridays.

Why I’ll Be in Daytona in Early February

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Way back in 2013, when I was still pretty much a baby author, someone told me about a book convention happening in St. Augustine. I don’t remember how I got signed up, but there I was, with a table assigned to me and a place on several panels.

Oy. I had no idea what I didn’t know!

The event was called Olde City, New Blood, focusing on paranormal literature, and since I had three YA paranormal books, off I went. I was excited; not only was I going to this event, but I was meeting up with a bunch of author friends I’d only known on-line, and my daughters were coming with me, as a mommy-daughter getaway.

That first year was . . . memorable. I still recall a few authors I met there (Carol and Adam Kunz, Damon Suade, Lea Nolan). There weren’t a ton of us indies, and in those days, there was still a lot of distrust and misunderstanding between indies and trads.

Plus, unfortunately the hotel was kind of a dud. There were huge, loud birds in the lobby, the rooms were sub-standard and there may have been bugs. But when I look back on that first year, I don’t think of the not-so-great parts; instead, I remember how cool it was to be with my fellow authors for the first time ever. To learn. To meet people who are still part of my author life today.

That’s why every year, I go back to what is now Coastal Magic. It’s a unique animal in the world of book events; it draws readers and a wonderful eclectic mix of authors. I always come away with new friends and new authors to read–and having learned more, too.  I drive home fresh, invigorated and ready to be an author for another year!

Coastal Magic feels like home to me. It’s the first con I do every year, easing me back into the ‘fun’ of author travel. I love the hotel. I love the people who come back every year. I love the readers, the bloggers, the staff and the organizer.

If you’re not signed up to attend Coastal Magic, you really should be. When people ask me about Florida events, it’s the first one I mention.

Come join me on the beach February 4-7!!

Do The Right Thing

This week, I spent some time with a friend of mine who needed help packing up her house before it sold. This dear woman is going through what I’d call a Bad Time, and I was happy to be able to do anything I could.

Now, we all go through Bad Times now and again. It’s part of the human experience. Some of those come to us because of our own actions, and others are merely circumstantial. But for my friend, she’s going through this Bad Time simply because of another person’s selfishness.

There were a group of us there, and someone asked about taking nails down from the walls, where pictures had been hung. My friend asked what we should do: leave them for the new owners or take them down? Our other friend said, “We should take them down and spackle the holes and then touch up with paint. It’s the right thing to do.”

And my friend going through the Bad Time nodded and agreed, “It’s the right thing to do.”

I was struck by the fact that this person, who’d had serious Wrong done to her, in the midst of her pain, still did The Right Thing.

We see people doing The Right Thing all around us, if you keep your eyes open. When the Pope stops to bless a child on the side of the road, he’s doing The Right Thing. When a woman sitting on the airplane senses the anxiety of the young mom next to her whose baby is screaming and reaches out to help, she’s doing The Right Thing. When you’re standing in line in the grocery story, with a large order, and the man behind you has two items, you do The Right Thing and let him go first.

It’s easy to see the wrong things. It’s easy to do the wrong things. In the last weeks, I’ve seen some of this, when authors treat other publishing professionals and/or fellow authors poorly. I don’t like it. It makes me cranky.

Let’s make a point of seeing The Right Things. And please, DO The Right Thing. Not because you’ll get rewards or applause or recognition, but simply because it IS The Right Thing.

And there’s my Thursday sermon. Go forth and be awesome.