Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Forgiving Trinity and Rough Sales Numbers!

I'm very happy to let everyone know that Forgiving Trinity debuted! I'm especially happy about this one, because it all started one gray November on Blogger...

I don't want to be one of those parents who's always talking about her own kid and bragging about how many dance recitals and bassoon solos and French tests said kid aced, but c'mon, look at that little beauty! That's gorgeous, right? Props to my guy, Steve Peterson! I found him on elance...if you need a cover guy, I cannot recommend him highly enough. His rates are amazing, his work ethic is intense, and, well, just look at the magic he works!

What happened, that long ago November, is that I had finished Double Clutch (and Junk Miles and Slow Twitch...) and sent out a bunch of letters to agents, and was primed to be instantly on my way to a major publication deal!


Except I got a lot of really sweet 'no thank yous.' And I was starting to get bummed. But, more importantly, I was losing hours, days, weeks, pressing my email's 'refresh' button over and over again, on the off chance that in the three minutes it took me to get up, to pee, and come back to my laptop, some important agent had emailed me!

Then I read about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I was also, simultaneously, trying to build a platform, so I was floundering on Blogger. I decided to combine my desire to start a blog with my desire to participate in NaNoWriMo, thus resulting in my blogel/blovel Forgiving Trinity

I wrote a chapter a day. I badgered a few friends into reading the chapter and voting on what would happen the next day. I was psyched by the legions of fans who began demanding I write more (or the four friends and awesome blog lovers who put up with my obsession). Every single day I had people who loved books and words writing to tell me what they liked and didn't, what they wanted to see more of and what they thought dragged on. It was an incredible writing experience. 

By the end of the month, I had a book. Done. 

Well, not done. I had to edit it. Get it critiqued. Comb through suggestions. Make changes. Take things out. Add things in. 

And I loved it! I really, really loved it. And when I had tweaked it and done all I could to make it perfect, I got an amazing cover, and put it out there! So, if you have an ereader, it's available on Amazon and B&N. And if you love paper, I promise that will be coming out soon! (I promise.)

Oh! And I'm SUPER behind in sales figures, but I'd like to let you know how I made out the last few months!

October - I sold about 58 copies of Double Clutch. Woot!!

November - I released Junk Miles just before Thanksgiving. I sold a combined total of 381 copies! That made me especially giddy, because it was exactly 300 more than I sold in September! (Though, of course, I had one more book out this month!)

Currently, I'm on the cusp of 400, with the three books out. So that's very, very cool for me and makes me extremely excited and happy! 

I really wanted to break it all down more specifically, and I will. But I can tell you that the bulk of my sales come from Amazon Kindle US purchases, and that there has been an almost neck and neck tie between Double Clutch and Junk Miles, so releasing a second book definitely helped sales in a huge way.

And thank you. I love being part of the blog community. I love having people to share this exciting stuff with. I love that I can share a book that literally took root right on this blog. Amazing!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Post: High School Dances With YA Urban Fantasy Writer, Jo Ramsey!

The very cool, talented author Jo Ramsey agreed to be on my insane blog! I'm so happy to have her here and encourage you all to check out her website: www.joramsey.com. This woman is amazing!

Hey everyone! I'm just off my blog tour, and I'm very lucky to have the lovely Jo Ramsey gracing my blog with a story that my YA-loving soul absolutely loves. Remember prom? Was yours magic? Did you go? Did you dance? Ditch? Celebrate another way? Jo is sharing her story here, and I'd love to ask you guys to share your favorite prom memories in the comments. Also make sure you check the links to Jo's awesome book, From the Ashes, which is book 5 in her fabulous Reality Shifts Series, and the cover of her upcoming short story  The Harvest Dance (where we get to see Shanna enjoy her school's version of Homecoming)!

 High School Dances

If you’ve attended school, chances are you’ve been to a school dance. And if you’ve attended a school dance, chances are that at least once, you ended up upset or embarrassed.

Dances can be fun. My sixteen-year-old daughter went to a semi-formal dance at her school last year. Her unofficial date was her best friend, who’s male and who wasn’t interested in actually having a date to the dance. They went together because it was that kind of dance. Both of them said they had a great time, and my usually shy daughter told me she danced with people she didn’t know.

On the other hand, dances, especially semi-formal or formal ones, can be pretty stressful. I remember agonizing over what I was going to wear to my senior prom. My mother ended up finding her old prom dress and having it remade for me. The problem was, I didn’t have a date. The guy I wanted to go with was two grades behind me, even though he was only a couple months younger, so I wasn’t sure I could ask him. Or who would have to pay for everything if I did ask him. I ended up not asking.

The night of the dance, I got all dressed up, planning to drive myself to the dance and go alone. Then my mother announced that she was driving me because she didn’t trust me to drive her car in high heels. (Huh?) She drove me to the place where the dance was being held, and I saw all the couples walking in and froze. It was bad enough that my mother was my freaking chauffeur, but EVERYONE ELSE had dates and I didn’t. I ended up having an anxiety attack and not being able to go in.

I’ve always kind of wished I had gone alone. The next school day, a few people asked me why I hadn’t, and said they would have danced with me and that they had admired me for saying I would go alone. I’ve also kind of wished I had asked the boy I wanted to go with. But you know what they say about wishes…

I did go to some dances in high school, but most of them weren’t very much fun for me. I was almost never asked to dance, and to this day I cringe when I hear “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” because that was the most commonly-played slow song at the dances I went to. (Though Glee did a pretty good version of that song.) I kept going to dances because I kept hoping that “this” would be the time it would be different. It never was, but I kept trying anyway.

If you like YA urban fantasy, this series is a MUST read!

In book five of my YA urban fantasy series Reality Shift, From the Ashes, Shanna Bailey agonizes over being asked to her school’s “Harvest Dance” (their version of Homecoming) by her former next-door neighbor Ken, who seems a lot more interested in Shanna than he used to. I didn’t manage to write about the dance in the book, since somehow it seemed more important to have Shanna and Jonah preventing the Universe from being vaporized, so I wrote a separate short story about the dance, which will be available this month. Shanna has plenty of reasons to be afraid of going to the dance, and of going on a date, but she pushes through and does it anyway.

I am extremely glad that Shanna gets up the courage to go...I LOVE to relive the fun of high school dances through characters who get to enjoy all the fun I was too busy being nervous about!

You can find out more about Jo and her books on her website, http://www.joramsey.com. The Reality Shift series so far is available from Jupiter Gardens Press, http://www.jupitergardens.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Giveaway, A Sweet Story, Hot Abs, Great Book Deals...All The Good Things

Why We All Love Abs And It's All Okay!

So, I lured you here to drool over some delicious abs with me! And to let you know why my guys have such bodily gorgeousness. AND to let you know that I'm giving away two paper copies of Double Clutch in a Goodreads giveaway contest that ends this Friday, February 10. AND to announce that I'm going to run a Valentine's Day sale on the e-version of Double Clutch this weekend (2/11 & 2/12) because I want EVERYONE to have a chance to be with Jake and Saxon this Valentine's Day! So there are all my announcements, and I'm providing a link to the contest, and then back to the abs, natch!

To enter to win a paper copy of Double Clutch, click here and throw your name in the hat!!

I recently wrote a YA contemporary romance called Double Clutch, and one of the highlights of writing it was creating these two amazing, gorgeous, brilliant guys. Do they have flaws? Oh, don't even get me started! But there is one thing I just couldn't budge on, and it's something that comes up a lot in complaints about heroes and romance and YA in general...my guys have abs.

Yep! Jake and Saxon both have them. Washboard abs that ripple when they take their shirts off. They have abs, and I'm not going to apologize or make excuses or giggle (okay, maybe I'll giggle a little tiny bit). But I will explain why it's perfectly okay for guys to have abs in fiction and for all of us to swoon.

Those are lovely abs, good sir.

In order to tell this story, I need to go back into my dating life. I like guys. I started liking guys back when I was a wee girl, and once I had my first kiss at summer camp, I was a goner. There are a few things that really make my heart thump. First of all, I love a good laugh. I love a guy who can laugh at anything and everything with me. I love nice hands. Big, calloused, rugged-nailed hands that have clearly been building something or making something really appeal to me. I also love shoulders. A nice, wide pair of shoulders can make me feel a little faint.

So, every guy I liked must have had a great sense of humor, nice hands, and huge, muscled shoulders, right?

Um, not so much.

The first boy I kissed was thin and gangly. He did have great hands, but his laugh was really soft and quiet.

My first real boyfriend was embarrassed by how stubby his fingers were. He didn't like his teeth, so he always laughed with his mouth closed, and it was a muffled kind of laugh. And his posture wasn't great, so his shoulders always looked a little stooped.

I dated one guy who had a big, jolly laugh, fine hands, and a definite six pack. We had absolutely nothing in common and wound up breaking up without a second glance back because we bored each other to tears.

Not that you're officially Mr. Wrong for every girl, fella! You're just Mr. Wrong for me. You'll find the girl  for whom you will be Mr. Right. I promise!

So how are those three things my things? Why did I go to all that trouble to describe them in so much detail? Well, they're the three things I love most about the guy I finally fell head over heels in love with. And they might sound slightly shallow, but represent what he means to me as a person.

My husband, Frank, has a laugh that is so loud and funny, it makes other people laugh. He laughs hard. He laughs from his gut, and he often can't stop. Like he's doubled over, crying from laughter. I'm seriously laughing just thinking about his laugh. Some people have said it sounds like a donkey that's scared for it's life. He's been teased for it. People turn around in the movie theater and stare in shock when he laughs. And I LOVE IT!

When we first dated, I told a joke. It was probably fairly funny. I manage to be funny sometimes. Frank laughed so hard and loud, I was afraid he'd drive off of the road. I had a few boyfriends before Frank who just didn't appreciate my sense of humor, so his laughter made me feel great. And it was contagious. We spent so much time on every date laughing like hyenas about nothing and everything. We still crack each other up. I think it's why I still have a major crush on him, even after years of being married.

This is pretty much how we spent the majority of our dating time...it's still like that, only now we have a daughter who joins in and laughs like crazy with us!

And his hands? I'm a tall girl, and my hands are big, but when he holds my hand I feel kind of petite. I love having that sensation sometimes. And he does work with his hands. He works on engines, tiles my countertop, makes wooden toys for our daughter, landscapes, draws...his hands are dirty, calloused, and so capable. I love holding hands with him, because they just feel like Frank. They feel strong and safe and warm.

And the shoulders. Sigh. Frank has these big, broad shoulders. He has a tattoo on one that I love. He looks amazing in a suit. When he hugs me, his shoulders are so wide, I feel like I can just get lost in his embrace. It's amazing.

Okay, now I've described my husband to you, and I bet he sounds amazing. And, I have to admit, he is. But if you saw him in real life, would you go gaga? You might! Haha! He is pretty cute! But I have plenty of girlfriends who told me I could do better when we were dating. He had plenty of girls turn him down or dump him before he met me. There are things about his appearance and the way he is that some girls wouldn't be able to stand. And, sadly, he doesn't have a six pack!

Do I ever check out other guys? Do I drool over Ryan Gosling? Um, I am alive!

Ryan, you can talk to me about fonts all day long!

And I know he thinks other girls are pretty. That's okay. I know that for him, just like for me, there's a particular combination of qualities that just clicks on a higher attraction level...and that click happens when he's with me and I'm with him. It's very cool!

So about abs? Well, there is a different combo for every lady out there. We all know that. When I write these guys, I want you to know for a fact that they are hot, hard-working, sexy guys. And how do I tell you that in shorthand? Well, take a lookie, ladies! (You're welcome!)

This is internationally understood as HOT!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

(Update: Junk Miles is out and ebook available! If you have already read Double Clutch and would like to enter to win Junk Miles in any of the blog tour drawings, just let the blog host/me know!)

Hey Everyone! So, between editing Junk Miles and trying not burn dinner every single night, I'm on a blog tour!! The fabulous Missy (http://missyreadsreviews.blogspot.com/) set it up, and it's been a blast so far! If you follow my guest posts, they will tell the story of my slightly weird 'firsts' (in honor of the first love in Double Clutch!). So we kick off with first brush with romance and go all the way to first true love! Sigh! But it's not all corny. I promise there are some laughs in there! So please follow if you'd like and enjoy all the madness!

Double Clutch Tour Stops
November 13 - December 4

Sunday, November 13: Interview @http://roroisreading.blogspot.com
Monday, November 14: Guest Post @ http://turnersantics.blogspot.com/Turner's Antics
Tuesday, November 15: Interview @ A Diary of a Book Addict
Wednesday, November 16: Guest Post @ Dreams Galore
Thursday, November 17: Review @ I Heart Books
Friday, November 18: Guest Post @ A Word's Worth
Saturday, November 19: Review @ Much Loved Books
Sunday, November 20: Interview @ Arianne Cruz
Monday, November 21: Review @ The Confessions of a Book Nerd
Tuesday, November 22: Guest Post @ Alchemy of Scrawl
Wednesday, November 23: Interview @ O'Boyled Books
Thursday, November 24: Guest Post @ Books, Biscuits & Tea
Friday, November 25: Interview @ All Things Books
Saturday, November 26: Review @ KC's Paranormal Books
Sunday, November 27: Interview @ Words on the Shelf
Monday, November 28: Guest Post @ Missy's Reads & Reviews
Tuesday, November 29: Interview @ Musings of a Bookworm
Wednesday, November 30: Review @ Purple Jelly Bean Chair Reviews
Thursday, December 01: Interview @ The Book Barbies
Friday, December 02: Review @ Dee's World
Saturday, December 03: Interview @ Book Labyrinth
Sunday, December 04: Review @ The Ballad of a Subcultural Mother