May 26, 2016

On the kindness of friends

It's been a crazy few weeks, to say the least.

HEARTLESS launched, making it's tiny ripples in a VERY large pond. People bought it. Friends read it. Friends told me how much they loved it. Friends told me it made them cry.

I had my first Barnes & Noble event. Friends came out to support me. Some brought flowers; others brought wine.

Have I mentioned I have the best friends?

This week found me going to the coolest indie bookstore in the area, Blue Bicycle Books. I was nervous...again. Worried...again. Would anyone show up? Would my promises of cake and wine bring in some customers to buy books?

Why'd I ever worry? 

Have I mentioned I have the best friends?

It started with my friend Teri. "Who's doing your cake?" she asked. "Do you need help?"

Teri is a phenomenal cake artist. She makes gorgeous wedding and birthday cakes in the area. She can take a theme and run with it, molding beautiful details out of fondant or modeling chocolate, creating entire worlds out of a single cake. 

We talked for a bit, and she offered to make a 3-D heart to go on top of the cake I planned on purchasing (because the Publix near me makes incredibly delicious cakes, too!). I'd have been stupid to say no! I knew she'd create something amazing. 

What I didn't know was exactly how amazing it could be!

Look at this heart! Isn't it perfect?

It went atop a yummy cake, and was the centerpiece of the night!

Have I mentioned I have the most talented friends?

Here's Teri's info, if you ever need something...amazing. 

Then, the day of the event, Charles handed me a gift from a friend of ours. This is a guy who's been so incredibly supportive of my crazy writing dreams from day one, and this little keyring perfectly exemplifies him: sweet and lovely and wildly creative. Who'd have thunk? Thanks, Eddie - this started my day with such a huge smile, and such a warm hug!

 Have I mentioned I have the kindest, most caring friends? 

The event at Blue Bicycle Books turned cool! I drank wine and ate cake with friends and strangers alike. I chatted with people who'd never heard of me, with people who had and wanted my book, and I got to hug a little girl who loves my stories. Thank you so much to everyone who came out or who made my day so special. I could not do this crazy writing thing without you. And thank you to Jonathan Sanchez and his staff at Blue Bicycle. You guys made me feel so welcome and happy, especially with your window display! It was the COOLEST!

Here are some photos from the night. I hope you enjoy!

(P.S. I of course forgot to take my own pics. Thus I have none with my mom nor my husband.  Again. DORK!)

Coolest. Window. Display. EVER!

This sweet girl has read all my zombie books.
Her dad drove her to 2 hours the event because
it was her birthday and he thought she'd love it.
She did. I was blown away! What a night!

Photo bombers, plus a bestie who not only
came to the event, but took my kiddo
out to play so she wouldn't drive me nuts!

Stabby Zoe, plus HEARTLESS

Here I go with the faces again!
Stabby Leah

Always so great to meet internet friends in the wild!! 

May 16, 2016

Thoughts on Releasing Book Four

Hi friends! Happy Monday!

Today is May 16th. My HEARTLESS has been live for about a week, and what a week it's been! I've hardly had time to breathe, let alone do all the promotion necessary for a successful release, so let's chat a little today.

First...the week.

Last week was...insane. Super-crazy. First my parents agreed to help out a neighbor. They live in the country, and their neighbor raises sheep. One of their sheep had given birth, but wouldn't take care of the lamb. She had no milk, see, nor apparently any maternal instincts at all. The lamb had been left to die in their field, but they wanted to help it live. Only problem? They were going out of town for a week. 

My parents agreed to help bottle-raise a lamb, and thus Hannibal entered our lives, looking like this:

Hannibal and Zoe: Perfect Together
So skinny, so ragged. This was the first time he ever stood up!
Bottle-feeding a lamb is no joke, though. They're like newborn babies, needing constant attention, food, and clean-up. I wound up driving to my parents' house almost every day to help keep him fed, which was a much-needed distraction from the chaos of release week, but was a lot of work. Still, by yesterday, he was healthy and happy and ready to re-join his flock. The little cutie.

Nom nom nom
Then my washing machine I had to bring laundry to my parents' house to do while hanging out with a needy sheep. That was fun. 

My brother came in on Tuesday (aka RELEASE DAY!!!!) to help me celebrate! That was amazing, but for some reason I'm stupid and didn't get a picture of us together! DUR!

Barnes & Noble was pretty incredible! I had a bunch of friends and family show up, and I even had a decent hair day! Thank you so much to everyone who came out, and to everyone who bought a book! I'm happy to say that there were only two copies of HEARTLESS left when I was finished that night!

Here are the weirdo faces I made while at Barnes & Noble last Tuesday night. Feel free to make fun of me. 
Yeah, I don't know what the heck I was thinking!

Barnes & Noble was barely over before suddenly it was Zoe's birthday. Do I know how to fill up a week or what? She turned 8 last Thursday, and we had a small gathering of some of her soccer pals at our house. During said gathering...Zoe took a soccer ball to the face, and a freezer door to the head, and wound up with a mild concussion. Which of course added some stress to the week! 

But what can you do? I'm a mom, first and foremost, and birthdays and concussions certainly take precedence over book self-promo!!!

All this is to say that I've been failing at plugging my book and begging people to buy it. But that's not too much of a bad thing - I figure you all must get tired of me begging people to buy my books anyway.

That brings us to...

Second...releasing book four...

So. It's easy to forget that HEARTLESS is actually the fourth book I've released. I forget this all the time, because this is my "debut" YA novel, and it's hardcover, and it's actually showing up in some bookstores, which is exciting and cool. But I've released books before! Three of them, actually!

And for all of them...I SUCK at self-promo! I hate it! I really do!

But I LOVE going places to talk about these books! I LOVE meeting potential readers, and telling them what my books have in store. I LOVE talking about writing process, the publishing world, and my random experiences within those realms. 

That said, if you have a classroom, library, book club, ANYTHING, where you'd like to have me come hang out and talk books/publishing/writing, give a yell! Email or comment or find me on Facebook. I LOVE doing it! I can go to local places in person, and Skype and FaceTime open possibilities for remote visits as well! I don't charge for this stuff (many authors do), and just love meeting new friends! 

I do hope to make it to the tri-state area sometime in June or July, too, so stay tuned for further info!

And finally. Finally.

I ask so much of you, my friends and family and readers. I do need to keep asking, though. Because now that HEARTLESS is out in the world, I need to build some momentum behind it. I need to keep the ball rolling. I need dozens of other cliches!


And remember - this goes for ANY and ALL books you love, not just those written by me!!!

If you love a book, help the author further their career. This doesn't mean you have to buy ten copies of said book (although that's always helpful). You can do FREE things to help them out! You can TELL A FRIEND about how much you enjoyed their book. You can GIVE FRIENDS GIFT CARDS TO GO BUY BOOKS THEY LOVE!

And, most importantly can leave reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes and Noble. This helps tremendously. People read reviews before they buy products. Amazon pretty much requires reviews to allow you to sell your books. The more reviews you have (good or bad, it doesn't matter), the more Amazon will help you promote your stuff.

To help YOU find where to leave your reviews, here are some helpful links to MY books. If you want to review other books, I hope you're internet-savvy enough to find those books, too! But trust me - if you review a book, the author somewhere thanks you! So much!

So here are links for reviews. Thank you in advance for considering leaving one for HEARTLESS!

Seriously. I wouldn't be here without all of you and the kind things you've already done for me. I wouldn't be here without the backing of an amazing publisher, and friends and family. From my whole heart (the part left over after getting stolen by a silly little lamb last week), I thank you. SO much!

May 10, 2016

Release Day! HEARTLESS is LIVE!!!

The theme song for today is: It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To!

But only because I fell down the stairs at 5 a.m. and scared myself and cried. But I'm fine! Really I am!




I am nothing if not prone to emotional outbursts. But you probably already knew that about me, huh? I'm so excited today, and thankful! So thankful! To my husband, Charles, and my daughter, Zoe. To my parents and my brother and all my other friends and family who've supported this journey! To YOU, my reader-friends! And especially to my publisher, Jason Pinter at Polis Books, who fell in love with this book and brought it here, to you, today! I can't thank any of you enough. Like, EVER!

So. HEARTLESS! Yes! It's out! Here's where you can find it!

You can request it at your local library or your local independent bookseller, too! I'm sure they'll be excited to carry it!

If you happen to be in Charleston tonight, you can come to the Barnes & Noble in West Ashley for my official Launch Event! I'll be reading from HEARLTESS and taking questions and in general being bubbly and excited! Plus my big brother will be there!!!

Other upcoming events:

The Heartless Launch Party at Blue Bicycle Books in downtown Charleston on May 24th! There will be WINE AND CAKE!! My two favorite things!!!!!

Piccolo Fiction at Charleston Music Hall in downtown Charleston on June 4th!! This will also be the release party for Grady Hendrix's MY BEST FRIEND'S EXORCISM, which promises to be AWESOME!

I hope to see you at one or more of these events, so we can hang out, have a drink, and talk books! I'm nerdy that way, what can I say! I love books!

And, PLEASE remember...the best way you can support ANY author is to leave a review of their books on Amazon! Good or bad, every review helps!!! I mean that wholeheartedly!!!!! So please! Review your favorite books today!

And come on out to celebrate HEARTLESS with me!!!!!! I can't promise I won't cry, but I can promise I'll hug you! I'm SUCH a hugger!!!