Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Friday, June 29, 2012

The End!

Today wraps up my blog tour.

So far I can summarize with mixed feelings. Not everyone has loved my book. That should come as no surprise, and in the author world it's entirely expected. And yet when that book releases, I think we all kind of hope and feel that this time, it will be different. Everyone will love it.

By and large, the majority (like 95%) of readers have enjoyed ALTERCATION, even if they haven't read PERILOUS. And if they have, they feel ALTERCATION is a much richer, deeper, more emotive novel.

But not everyone feels that way.

Interestingly enough, I think ALTERCATION accomplishes what I intended for both books to do. It's a longer book, full of character development and thickening plots. It's written for a YA audience. And it reaches them. The one audience that is not enjoying ALTERCATION so much? Older men. Since they are not my target audience, this shouldn't bother me. But many of them enjoyed the fast pace, action-packed plot of PERILOUS. It's a disappointment to lose them. Overall, however, I think I gain a lot more with ALTERCATION. It's exactly what I want it to be, and I'm happy with it.

Today is the last day of the blog tour, and it's here at Debbi Davis's blog! And then it's time to go around, make comments, tweet and facebook. I'll add up points next week and announce the winner's in July!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Passed out on the Floor

:::Giggle::: I just wanted to say that my daughter is passed out on the floor sleeping.

She came upstairs crying and whining and then threw herself off the couch and cried on the floor.

A minute later, all is silent and I look over to see her sleeping.

Ah, children. They're wonderful. Now I must walk downstairs to see the toys my boys put together for me.

Today's blog stop is here at Jenni James! See you there!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Kansas City Writer's Conference

The LDStorymakers Conference is coming here!!

This is by far my favorite writer's conference as far as quality and value for the money goes. I couldn't make it to the one in Utah in May. Money, time... it's kind of far away. So I was thrilled to find out one is coming to me!

Anyone can come to these conferences, and they are phenomenal. Check it out. Come. You have absolutely nothing to lose.

We're wrapping up the blog tour! Check out Carrie Harris's blog for today's stop!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tennessee or Bust

I'm not really here.

I'm actually in my car, carting my three kids and my sister-in-law to Tennessee, where we're going to spend a week in happy frivolity in the Smoky Mountains.

Sound like fun? I can't wait. By the time you read this, hopefully we'll be there.

This is where we're staying. Look awesome? Yeah. Thought so.

But since you're here, you may as well stop by Laura Bingham's blog for her stop on my ALTERCATION blog tour! It's almost over. I'm hoping my name has spread far and wide, and maybe some people who never heard of me might have my book on their radar now.

Thanks for peeking in!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Color Blind

The days of defining people by color are over, right? We don't say "persons of color need not apply." We don't segregate our schools. We don't put our race down on job applications (usually).

In a nation where we used to see in color, we've made great strides. We've matured. We've embraced equality.

So imagine my surprise when a friend forwards me a writing contest with this requirement: "Must be an author of color."

First of all, what's an author of color? White's a color, right? Or do they mean only black people? Yellow? Red?

Second of all, how can that term even be politically correct? I've never called myself by a color. I've only seen two colors on demographic sheets, white or black. Usually they are much more PC, calling it "Caucasian" and "African-American." They go on to list Asian and a myriad of races, but not colors. I've never filled out "brown."

Third of all, how is that not discrimination? I know it's a contest and not a job, but it just smacks me of all sorts of wrong. Why not ask for books that are ethnically diverse instead of focusing on the author? I just squirm all over at the referencing of color and people in the same sentence.

What think you? Am I overreacting?

Today's blog spot is over at Arlee Bird! Such a gem for hosting me! Be sure and stop by his blog for a chance to win a free ebook!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Introverted Tendencies

I can feel the introvert in me taking over.

I get very comfortable in being at home, not going out of my comfort zone, and just hanging out with the few besties. I have to force myself to break the pattern before I disappear into introvert obscurity.

Do people realize how much effort it takes an introvert to schedule social activities? To make the call and set up a play date, dinner date, or any get together? It's so much easier for us to sit back and wait for someone to invite us. I'll happily go along. If I'm invited.

But that's not good for me, my social health (because it's healthy to be social), or my children's development. So I'm going to make the effort and reach out to people I don't usually hang out with. Every Thursday will be "Reach Out" day.

Starting in July. :)

Today's blog stop is here at Jo Ramsey's place! Say hello to win a free ebook!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Beware Hitch Hikers

I gave a ride to some hitch hikers yesterday.

Sounds dangerous and scary, right? It wasn't. They were a couple with a baby and a broken car, trying to walk up a hill while carrying a carseat. The city they live in is a good fifteen minutes by car out to the country, and it would've taken them hours.

But even as innocent as it looked, I knew I couldn't just trust them. I got their information, names, phone numbers, and texted all of it to my deputy husband before I let them in my car.

From there I just had to go with my gut feeling. Which wasn't afraid.

That is the first time in my entire life that I've ever felt the urge to help someone hitchhiking. I've always felt bad for the person, but all the "what ifs" would flood my mind, quickly quelling any desire to put myself directly in their line of aid. Or fire, if it be so.

I think it is sad, the world we live in, that we can't trust people. That we have to be suspicious of others. It's very true that we have to. I don't think we should ever feel pressured to do something potentially dangerous. But at the same time, if we feel like we should so something, we shouldn't feel pressured to NOT do it.

Blog stop at Marsha Ward's place!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

400 and rising

After hovering at 350 followers for about a year, I finally broke the threshold into the four hundreds. Yay!

I'm sure a lot of it has to do with my blog tour, but I'd like to think that some of it is because I'm blogging every day again and people think I'm awesome. Right? Okay, humor me.

Thanks everyone for caring about what I say!

Today's blog post is here at Nichole Giles' blog!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Newsletters Work

I have a newsletter sign up on the side bar to this blog, and occasionally people sign up to receive my newsletter. In addition, I bring along a sheet when I do book signings, and lots of people sign up. So to date, I have a few hundred people on my newsletter.

Last year, I sent out three newsletters. This year, I've sent out one so far, just to announce the release of my new book. I was a bit discouraged at first at how few people open my newsletter. I mean, we all do it, right? We sign up for newsletter after newsletter with the best of intentions, but when they start arriving in our inbox, we go, "Why did I sign up for this?" Thus we delete it, often without reading.

So maybe 30% of subscribers actually read my newsletter. But you know what? It's enough. I've had several subscribers show up at my book signings to get their copy of the sequel. One lady said she wrote it on her calendar and took her lunch break early so she could get her book.

It might seem like you're not reaching anyone, but you are! In the meantime, the sooner I get to a thousand subscribers, the better.

How many of you have newsletters? What's your open rate? How often do you send them out?

Our blog stop today is Ms. Bonnie Harris! Still not sure you want Altercation? Stop by her blog and see what she says about it!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Saudades do Brasil

I spent almost two years of my life living in Rio de Janeiro and surrounding cities. I fell in love with the city, often thinking that I would return after marriage and raise a family there.

Reality turned out to be quite different after I married, of course. My husband was in school and we move where his work is, not where his wife wants to live on a whim. And now that I am fully immersed in the American culture and have three kids, I am not prepared to uproot them and prepare them for the cultural differences.

But I miss Brazil. My heart longs for it and I spend some time every week looking at flights and dreaming of going. The best way I can describe the feeling is homesick. I miss it so badly. My family and I rented the cartoon "Rio" last week. I thought it would be fun to see images from Brazil, to hear Portuguese. I wasn't prepared for the blast of desire it fired at me, for the consuming thoughts of finding a way to get back there.

We can't go this year. We can't go next year. So we'll have to set our sights on 2014. I hate to wait so long, but at least I can make a plan. At least I know we'll go.

Today's blog stop is Elizabeth Mueller, and she already has the post up! Stop by and say hello!

Friday, June 15, 2012

In My Hands

Enough said. (Ignore the shakiness of the camera. My six-year-old tried seven times, and this was the best shot we got.)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pies and Cobblers

I am very close to making another dream of mine a reality.

I love baking. In the past few years, I've developed a huge love for pies and cheesecakes. I've always wistfully thought how in another life I'd open a bakery. But I can't in this one. A bakery would take up all my time. I'd be up at 3 in the morning making fresh baked items, and then I'd spend all day running and cleaning the shop, and then all night doing paperwork, accounting, shopping, etc.

I don't have time for that. Not when my biggest priorities are my family and writing.

But an opportunity presented itself at the restaurant I work at, and I stole it. Soon after I got hired on as a waitress, I noticed they have no dessert menu. I waited about six weeks, and then offered to make pies for them. My kitchen isn't licensed, so I'd have to use the restaurant kitchen.

Lo and behold, the owner said yes. However, he doesn't want pies to begin with; he wants cobblers. The reason being that he can get more servings with a cobbler and thus hopefully increase the profit margin.

So tomorrow my cobblers will debut in the local restaurant. The only issue is, I do pies, not cobblers.

I spent last night going through my cookbooks and came to two conclusions: 1) Cobblers are different from pies. 2) A lot of my pies can be modified into cobblers and no one will care.

For tomorrow night, I'll be making one traditional peach cobbler with no bottom crust and biscuit-like flaky crust on top. I'll also be making a cherry pie, doubling it and its lattice top so it fits into a cobbler pan.

I'm excited and nervous and hoping it goes really, really well. I would love for this to be what I do... instead of waitressing. :)

But onto business! Yesterday's winner of an ebook is Hart Johnson! Hart, shoot me an email and let me know which book you want! Today's stop is at Laurel's Leaves. Ten comments and we have a winner!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Camps

I love summer time! The hot weather, the pool passes, picnics and barbecues and vacations... it's all such a wonderful, crazy combination.

This year I even put my kids in summer camps. How awesome for them! I thought it would be a bit of a break for me, but instead I find myself trying to run errands in the short amount of time I have before I have to drive back and pick up said child from camp. But still, it's awesome.

And another great thing that came out of it: while researching camps, I discovered writing camps in the area. A quick email, and I booked myself as a speaker at these camps.

I really enjoy speaking to kids about writing. It's what I did as a kid, and it's what I do now. I love all the amazing opportunities there are!

So without further ado, I'm out of here. Don't forget to stop by Justine Dell's blog today for the stop on the blog tour!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Used, like New!

So I was hanging out on Amazon this morning (oh come on! I know I'm not the only one!) and I decided to check out my book pages to see if there were any new reviews. There weren't, but I thought it was interesting that for Altercation, someone was selling a used copy.

What's really interesting is that the book is just out. So just out, in fact, that I haven't even received my copies yet. I doubt that anyone who ordered them off Amazon has, either.

The used copy came from where, then? No, couldn't be ARCs, we did ebooks this year. Couldn't be anyone from my publishing house. They're not located in Indiana.

Well, whoever it is, I need to know her secret. I would certainly like to have copies of my book already.

Today's stop on the blog tour is Saumya at Left and Write! Go leave a comment for a chance to win free things! Or check out the tab at the top of my blog to see all the posts so far in the blog tour!

As for yesterday, at the lovely Jennifer Shirk's blog, Carol Gilgore won a free ebook! Carol, shoot me an email and let me know which one you'd like!

Thanks, everyone for your enthusiasm and participation! I couldn't do this without you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

An Arkansas Household Name

That's what I want to be. Okay, a Northwest Arkansas household name.

I have a long ways to go, for sure. But sometimes I see familiar faces, or I'll be somewhere and overhear someone say, "She's that author who came to my school, Mom."

Last year when visiting a school, one boy already had my book because he saw me when I did a book signing. Now as I'm doing book signings again, I hope to run into kids who I met at schools. Then when school starts and I begin visiting them again, there might be a few more who saw me doing signings.

If I hit them over the head with my book often enough, maybe they'll buy it.

One thing's for sure. I don't go out in public anymore without looking nice. I've had people come up to me at restaurants, Hobby Lobby, and ball games, asking if I'm "that author."

I have to admit that's pretty cool.

Today's stop on the blog tour is Jennifer Shirk! Check it out!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Forget Consignment

With Perilous, I was so anxious to get my book into bookstores that I toted it everywhere, offering it on consignment to stores. I just knew the book would sell like crazy and the bookstore would be asking me for more within a week.

It didn't, and here's what I realized: I'm an unknown author. Nobody's heard of my book or me. When they walk into a bookstore, I am not the one they're going to take a chance on.

The next thing I realized, even if my book sold, getting money from those bookstores was like pulling teeth. None of them simply wrote me a check and mailed it because my book sold. Every one of them waited for me to contact them and ask for my money. Some of them waited until I contacted them several times. And sometimes when the check finally came, it wasn't the agreed amount. Now I have a list of bookstores that I'm supposed to call every month and see how my book's doing.

This is a lot of hassle with very little return. And the more I think about it, the more it frustrates me. Nobody does this. No store anywhere gets product for free and only pays for it when it sells. Why should I have to put up with this?

So I won't. If a store doesn't want to pay for my books straight out, I don't care if it stocks them. No more consignment for me. I've given away dozens of books that are sitting on shelves in stores. What a rip off.

With that in mind, it's time to give away another ebook! The winner from yesterday's blog stop is Angela Ackerman! Tell me which book you'd like, Angela, Perilous or Altercation, and I'll get it to you!

Today's stop is here at the YA Highway. Same rules apply. At least 10 comments and we'll have a winner!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Insanely Weird Alert

In an attempt to figure out how well I'm infiltrating the internet, I have a Google Alert set up in my name. My hope, of course, is that soon I'll see people in England and Australia and China doing posts about my books (we might have to get a Chinese edition out first, though).

So I had to giggle when this Google Alert came through: Insanely Attractive Woman

My face, at least, is reaching far and unfamiliar places like Canada... I can only hope my book gets there someday!

Today's stop on the blog tour is Shannon O'Donnell! Check out her blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a free ebook!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cars and Lemons

So my husband recently switched jobs! (Yay!) He went from being a deputy to working for Walmart. Besides paycheck and scheduling changes, this also meant we had to give up his patrol car.

Last week we bought a new car. It's exciting buying a new car, isn't it? Even if it's not really new. Actually, we got a smoking good deal. A 1998 Oldsmobile with leather seating, sun roof, all the nice things. It's got a decent amount of miles on it, but we paid less than $2000. Sweet!

Of course, there's one minor problem. For some reason, Oldsmobiles of that time period, at least, liked to have two keys: one for the ignition and one for the doors (who knows why???). Not only did the seller not tell us this, but he only gave us one key.

We're just lucky my husband didn't try to lock his car for several days, because once he did, he couldn't get back in.

If we're lucky, that will be the only problem we have with this car... :)

Today's stop on the blog tour is Tristi Pinkston! We need at least ten comments to have an ebook winner. So go over and comment away!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mother Rush

Yesterday I felt like a true mom.

I don't know why, but I seem to equate motherhood with insanely busy. And yesterday, as I made absolutely the best use of my time, I thought, "Yeah, this is the life."

We ate lunch in the car on the way to the dentist office. Then I made my grocery list in the dentist office. After that we hurried to the grocery store (and the bank) before running over to the chiropractor. We got there ten minutes early so I could file all three kids into the bathroom and take a bathroom break.

Did I mention that before lunch, we went to the gym, shoe shopping, and Plato's Closet?

Total adrenaline rush. I felt pretty awesome.

And the winner for a free ebook from yesterday is SA Larsen! Send me an email and let me know which book you want, Perilous or Altercation!

Today's blog stop at David West's blog, a personal friend of mine. So be sure to stop by and check it out!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Never Serve a Minor Alcohol

Business first: Day 2 of my blog tour! Today's stop is at RaShelle Workman's blog!

And from Friday, the winner of a free ebook is Leslie Rose! Leslie, shoot me an email and let me know if you prefer Altercation or Perilous!

A quick note to all, before I run out the door and start my crazy hectic day: If you're waiting tables and someone asks for a beer, don't just ask for their ID. Make sure you actually check the date when they show it to you.

(Lesson learned from watching another waiter make this mistake in front of an undercover cop.)

See everyone tomorrow!

Friday, June 1, 2012

It Starts Today!

November 1
Victoriaville, Canada 
Detective Carl Hamilton leaned out of the hole blown into the four-story building, studying the concrete pavement three floors below. Pine trees speckled the mountainside and swayed in the chill autumn air.
Pulling his head back in, he examined the raw edges of drywall. It looked as though a bazooka or rocket-propelled grenade had blasted through. Similar holes dotted the rest of The Hand’s lair, and the garage door lay crumpled like a tin can in the driveway. Had the criminal been ambushed? If so, why? 
One of the local police officers poked his head through an open door. “We found a desk. It has a piece of paper with names and phone numbers taped to it.”
The radio on his shoulder sputtered and someone spoke in rapid French. The officer said to Carl, “They are dusting the attic for prints. We think that is where the kidnapped girls were held.”
“Sir?” Another officer came in, several small, colored books in his gloved hand. “We found passports in a shoebox in the closet.”
Carl slipped on a thin plastic glove before taking the passports. The picture remained the same, but they used several different names and represented the majority of known countries. One name repeated itself several times: Jeff Truman.
Finally. A name and a face.  
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