Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Grocery Store Love

I have to say I love my local grocery store.

No, it's not Walmart. Walmart has no love for me, and therefore I don't love them. I'm that kind of lover.

But my local grocery store, Harps, was started in 1912 or something like that by a small family. Since then they've grown to 55 stores in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

Quite by accident, I discovered they set up book signings for local authors, and local authors only. A friend mentioned to me that she saw a book signing at the grocery store. Really??? Why didn't I think of that? So I emailed their corporate office. Within a day I had a response, requesting a copy of my book and giving me the phone number of the distribution manager.

I called her and we set up a meeting. I walked out of that meeting with 16 book signings set up in 8 different stores, all within 30 miles of my house. The BEST PART? She did all the work. She's the one who will contact the different store managers and tell them what day I'm coming.

Seriously. It doesn't get better than that.

Live around here? My schedule's on the Author Sightings tab.

Next I'll be contacting the other grocery store chains around here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Know Before You Sign

I've been reflecting a lot on publishing contracts lately, especially since I just signed my second one for the sequel to Perilous. The first time I signed one, I got lucky that the company I signed with (WiDo) was an honest company and not about to do me dirty. That's good, because I knew nothing about contracts. I didn't know what to avoid, what to look out for, and what to make sure it included. I've learned a lot since then.

When you're a debut author and you get that contract offer, often it's so exciting that you sign without a second thought. STOP. Take a moment and think. This is a decision that will affect you forever. And there are things you need to do.

1) Make sure this is your best offer. If you have other submissions out, contact the other agents/companies and let them know you have an offer. Give them the chance to compete for you.

Now that you've chosen a company, look your contract over. Some things to look for:

2) An expected release date. Make sure the publisher specifies an expected time period for editing and revisions, and when you can expect to be done. You don't want them to sit on your book for years without doing anything, keeping the rights and not letting you do anything with it. If they don't hold up that time frame, you get your rights back.

3) Your responsibilities. The contract should outline quite clearly what is expected of you. Deadlines, revisions, editing, etc. You have to hold up your end of the bargain, also.

4) Assigned rights. Some publisher only wants print rights. Other want the whole shebang, from print to digital to film. Whatever it is, just make sure you're aware.

5) Author name. The contract should state what name will appear on your cover. Make sure this is the name you want. If you plan on using a pseudonym, now would be the moment to bring it up. While not likely, there's always the possibility your publisher won't approve it at press time otherwise.

6) Royalties. Hugely important! Royalties need to be specified for all forms of release, from ebook to mass trade paperback. The contract should also specify at what point, if any, royalties increase. It should tell you when payments are sent, as well.

7) Advance. If there is to be an advance, get it in writing. The contract should also state how many books (or how much money) you need to sell to hit your advance, or how many books before you start earning royalties.

8) Right to audit. Of course you have the right to check up on your publisher and make sure you are actually selling the number of books they are paying you for. I imagine that even if the contract didn't mention a right to audit, you would still have that right. But it's always better to get it in writing.

9) Free copies and ARCs. Know ahead of time how many books the publisher will give you and provide for advance readers. The contract should also state your author price for purchasing more books.

10) Breach of contract. Along with your responsibilities, the contract should also outline the consequences if you (or them) default on your part of the bargain.

11) Return of rights. The contract should state when, if ever, you get your rights back to your works. This could be after a few years with no sales or if the publishing company goes out of business or both. Whatever the terms, make sure you are comfortable with them.

With all of these contract terms, you have OPTIONS. Be happy with what you choose.

Oh, and one more note of caution. While most contracts don't specifically say that sharing details is a breach of contract, I have heard of authors being let go of for sharing details. So stay on the safe side. Keep your contract private.

Monday, July 25, 2011


I overheard a conversation today in Chick-Fil-A that I'm quite certain I wasn't meant to overhear. I couldn't really help it. I tried not to listen in, though I'll admit to being very curious.

It started when this man and woman sat at the table behind me. I don't know why they sat there, since it was 11:30am and Chick-Fil-A wasn't busy yet. Maybe they didn't care if the woman with her baby overheard. So I sat feeding my baby in her highchair (which was so close to the couple that if the woman backed her chair up, she would bump the highchair) while my boys played in the play area. I have no idea who these people are. I'd never seen them before, and haven't since.

At first I didn't really pay any attention to them. My little one keeps me entertained, plus I was monitoring the boys. And then words--snippets of conversation--began to reach my ears. Such as:

"But whatever it is you see in him, it won't last. You'll just keep hiding from your problems until you've gone from man to man, always seeking what you can't find."

Her response: "It's not like that. I'm happy with him."

At this point I paid a little more attention to the male speaker. Who was he? Her son? Her brother? Her friend? Her ex? I noticed how low he kept his voice, and how it shook as if he were on the verge of an emotional break-down-- or tears.

And he said, "You keep trying to define yourself with a new man. You were happy with me. I don't know what went wrong. Everything started out so great. What happened?"

No response.

So he keeps going. "You're making a mistake. You have to stop jumping into things without thinking. You don't even care about him. You just like the newness."

She said, "No, that's not it."

I had to go settle a fight in the play area (that's another post), and when I returned they were still talking. But the tone was different. Now his voice was thick, trembling, heavy. He said, "Everyone warned me you would do this. They told me you're like this, they said don't trust her. But I didn't care. I didn't believe them." I could hear the anger. Bitterness.

She didn't grace him with a reply. I got up to grab the kids' balloons, and snuck a surreptitious glance at the speakers. Young adults, in the their early twenties. Both of them very attractive people. He was wide-eyed, hands splayed on the table. But she was slouched slightly in the chair, shoulders turned so she didn't face him head on. Her lips were pressed together, her face closed, eyes hooded.

Conversation over. Poor guy.

I got up to change the baby's diaper, wondering about them while I did so. I imagined him calling her, begging her to meet him at Chick-Fil-A (Chick-Fil-A??). Just to talk. Just one last time, and then he'd leave her alone. And I imagined him going over his arguments, hopeful, desperate to get her back. And her--sighing, rolling her eyes, agreeing this one last time. She's tired of the guilt trips, tired of the explaining, tired of him. She's not going back.

All in all, a very very interesting experience.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Signed Contract

It's officially official.

WiDo offered me a contract on the sequel to Perilous. (Currently titled Altercation.) I've accepted.

As in, the ink is still drying on the paper. The contract is signed.

The expected release is early 2012. If you want to be kept up on the breaking news, sign up for my newsletter! It's easy to sign up! Just use the link on the right-hand side!

Hope you'll come along for another adventure!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

And You Thought I Forgot

We have winners!!!

I drew two numbers from random.org, since I had almost 40 comments from the super blogfest. And the winners of a free ebook of Perilous are...

acm05 and Babs!

I'll be in touch. Congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated and made it such a fun event!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Did you know about Hastings?

For those of you small-press, independent authors who have had a hard time getting Barnes and Noble to open your book, here's a word for you:


Last weekend I had the totally fun experience of going on a book tour with three other authors. We started in Dallas and worked our way through Oklahoma back into Arkansas. One of our stops was at Hastings. And I learned a lot.

If you are lucky enough to live near a Hastings and you are an author, GO TALK TO THEM. The manager was so super friendly. They love local authors, and they will, in their own words, "Stock your book even if it's hand-bound and you only have five copies."

They also make up a nice poster for you and put it out all month before you signing. They make up flyers and stick them in customers bags so everyone know about your signing. They plan your signing around an anticipated release so you can take advantage of the crowd.

And they'll take your book and sale it for you, even when you are not doing a book signing. Is that not awesome?

Of course, they expect compensation. They take the biggest cut of any bookstore I've signed at, but hey, so what? My book's there. It's selling. That's awesome.

I have a new favorite chain. Go Hastings.

Don't know if there's one near you? That's easy. Use their website here.

What chains have you had success at that surprised you?? Give me details!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Give away of the year Blogfest!

PhotobucketThis is the best blogfest ever, for YOU! Every blog in the blogfest must give something away between July 15 and July 17th!

And because it's a win-win for me and you, I'll be giving away one e-copy of Perilous for every twenty entries. The more entries, the more giveaways! Already have it? We'll work something else out.

Entering is easy. You simply have to 1) FOLLOW ME 2) LEAVE A COMMENT 3) VISIT AND LEAVE A COMMENT on each of the five blogs below. I'll leave it up to you if you want to follow them--but I'm sure you will!

That's required. For extra, non-required points (one point each), tweet about this blogfest, blog about it, and mention it on Facebook. (So easy when you use the links at the bottom of each blog post!)

Chick Loves Lit
 Christmas TV History
 CMash Loves To Read
 Coffee & Romance, a book blog

For a list of all the blogs participating in this massive giveaway, go to A Journey of Books. 
Also, every time you visit a blog, you get a chance to win more prizes. But to do so, you have to register that you visited the blogs. To do that, go to the tracking site.

Have fun!!! I can't wait to see what people win! I better go visit some blogs!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Missing the Necklace

This scene is in The Hand's POV. It's the moment he discovers that the girls ran away with his necklace.

The drive back lasted an eternity. He didn’t wait for the vehicle to be put into park when they pulled up at the house. He jumped out of the passenger side and headed towards the front door, where Claber greeted him.
            “Well?” he snapped. His eyes flashed with fury and his hands clenched.    
            Claber stiffened and nodded. “We’re in pursuit. We know they escaped into the forest. We’ll be posting men at different positions along the road; we’ll find them when they come out.”
            “You better,” Truman hissed. “Their lives are worth more than yours.” The price on his head—back to square one. At least he had the necklace and the jewels.
            Come to think of it, he hadn't even seen the necklace since the raid. “Where’s the Swan Lake necklace? Is it in the safe?”
            “I don’t know. Would you like me to check?”
            “I’ll do it myself,” Truman grunted, pushing past him.
            The safe was hidden in what appeared to be a small utility closet. Unlatching the back wall, Truman let himself into a large room, of which the safe took up most of the space. He rubbed his fingers over his palm, noting how clammy they were. It’s in the safe, he told himself. He grabbed the combination lock and spun it around.
            The door unhitched with a click. For once the sight of various boxes and stolen goods only infuriated him. He yanked everything out, dumping out the contents, certain at any second he’d find that necklace.
            He didn’t. A little more desperate this time, he carefully put everything back in place, searching every box and corner. The necklace wasn’t there.
            Claber stood in the hallway, his brows knit together. “Was it there?”
            “We’ll check the van. Maybe it never got moved.”
            Truman didn’t answer, already moving down the hall. Claber marched to keep up.
            The van, at least, was safely locked in the garage. Truman yanked the passenger side door open and bent to pull out the safety deposit box under the seat. It wasn’t even locked. He opened it, already knowing it would be empty. Swearing viciously, he shoved the box back under the seat and began opening glove compartments, checking cup holders.
            “Check the driver’s side!” he yelled at Claber.
            Claber did so. He looked a little white as they concluded their search. “It’s not here.”
            Truman paused, breathing heavily, leaning on the open passenger door. “Could it be in the cargo hold?”
            Claber shook his head. “We emptied it first thing. All of the jewels that were in the back are in the safe.”
            Truman hissed. “The girls were in the cargo hold.”
            Claber gulped and nodded. “Yes, sir.”
            Truman slammed the door shut, his eyes burning with rage. “Gather the men into my office.” He ran up the steps, not checking to see if Claber answered. That necklace was gone, and somebody was going to pay.
            He stopped at the kitchen long enough to open a flask of vodka and take a swig. He hoped that gave Claber enough time; he wanted everyone in his office when he got there.
            They were waiting. “Who’s responsible for this stupidity?” he roared, entering the room and unholstering his pistol. He waved it around menacingly, eyes landing on the three who had led the raid: Eli, Grey, and Claber. “Why wasn’t the necklace in the safe where it should’ve been?”
            Eli gulped, and then stepped forward. “I placed the box with the necklace in the back of the van. I didn’t think to move it after we picked up the girls. I was—a little tired.” He waved one hand as he tried to excuse his indiligence.
            Truman marched forward so quickly that the man was forced to step backwards, rejoining his comrades in line. “Because of that one small mistake, the necklace was in the back with the girls. The girls! And now the necklace is gone! And so are they!” Truman lifted the pistol and pulled the trigger. He wasn’t one to throw away his men recklessly, and he rather liked Eli. But incompetence was something he couldn’t deal with.
            The other men averted their eyes from the fallen body. Truman had their undivided attention.
            “He wasn’t the only one at fault,” he said, his voice quiet. The darkness to his tone was more menacing than the shouting. “Who was supposed to make sure the necklace made it safely into the vault?”
            With an audible sigh, Grey stepped forward. “That was me, sir,” he admitted, his expression deflated. “I brought in all the boxes that were in the cab and put them in the vault. But I didn’t open them and check.”
            Truman stepped up to him, but Grey didn’t move. He remained still as Truman’s hot breath touched his neck. “I’m not going to kill you. But you will not receive any pay until the necklace is recovered. Until then, you are my slave. Understood?”
            Grey closed his eyes and nodded. “Yes, sir. I’ll work doubly hard to recover those girls.”
            “I know.” Truman stepped back again. Once more his eyes swept over the men before him. “In fact, none of us will get any pay if the necklace and the girls are not recovered. Get going!” he snapped, motioning them out with his pistol. He went behind his desk and sank into the chair, dropping his head into his hands. He ignored his men as they filed out of the room, gingerly stepping around their fallen comrade. His head shot up one last time as Claber started out.
            “Claber!” he hollered.
            “The blond girl. Sara. I need her back here.” Truman moved his hand. “She’s mine.” She belonged to him. He wasn’t going to let her go that easily.
            Claber jerked his head upward. “We’ll get her back.”
            “That’s all, then,” Truman murmured, exhaling. “And bring me my whiskey.” 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Book Tour!

Just some NEWS for those of you who didn't catch my last post.

This weekend, I'm going on tour with Cheri Chesley, Don Carey, and Lynn Parsons.

Our first stop is Dallas, Texas, on Friday night, July 15.
Our second stop is Duncan, Oklahoma, on Saturday morning, July 16.
And the final stop is Springdale, Arkansas, on Saturday evening, July 16.

Check out the links under "Author Sightings" for times and addresses.

I hope to see some of you there!

Friday, July 8, 2011

You win! (Especially if you live in Dallas, Oklahoma, or Arkansas)

And the winner is...

Annie McMahon!

Yay! Stars and cheers!

This has been my morning so far:
9am: gym
10:30am: bank
11am: frozen yogurt
11:30am: lunch
12:30pm: groceries
2pm: home
now (2:15pm): shower

So, Annie, check back in an hour or two. I'll have all the books listed so you can choose your favorite THREE, as well as some awesome NEWS!

Book options:

And since you asked about my own book, I can send you the ebook, but I'm all out of hard copies! Amazon has a Kindle app you can use on your computer, if you don't have a Kindle. Just let me know if you'd like a copy of Perilous!

As for my NEWS, next weekend I'm going on a mini-tour! Along with three other authors, I'll be making appearances in Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Springdale, Arkansas. You can find more details on my post above called "Author sightings." I'd love to meet you if you're in the area!!! Come and see us!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crash Day

Today I crashed.

Those of you who are parents (particularly moms) or full-time employees, when do you find time to write? I usually do it at night. When everyone else is in bed. Along with the laundry, the dishes, the vacuuming, and everything else. Therefore, my bedtime is almost always midnight.

I also teach English classes in the early morning, sometimes at 5am, sometimes at 6am.

So I average 5-6 hours of sleep a night. Generally, this isn't a problem. But about once a week, it catches up to me.

Today was that day. I got up at 5am and taught. Finished one class and took a 15 min. nap before my next one. Done teaching by 7am. Fed the baby, put cereal on the table for the kids, and went back to bed.

Total crash. I finally dragged myself out of bed around 10am.

Yikes! Thank heavens this only happens once a week or so!

We just finished lunch and are on our way out the door to the pool. BUT don't forget to add up your promoting-me points and post them in the comments here. I'll use random.org to select a winner on Friday!

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm LIVE and a Giveaway!

Okay, so it's not actually a live recording, but prerecorded. But still, you get the idea.

First, I have to groan and make fun of myself. When Linda Thompson says hi to me, I say hi back. But I wasn't supposed to, so you hear this brief squeak in the background while she continues to talk. :::Slaps forehead::: idiot.

Second, I'm looking at my webcam, as instructed, but it looks like I'm looking up. You get an unprecedented view of my nostrils.

Third, I look a bit white-washed....

But enough of me poking fun! It's an awesome interview and I had a blast talking about my book Perilous. How could I not? I love my book. I put my heart and soul into it.

The interview runs all day today and tomorrow. I know you want to see it, so here's the link: http://www.authorswebtv.com/.

That's not all! Today's a holiday, and I suspect the last thing on people's minds is watching me online. So I need some twittering and facebook help. Today and tomorrow, all day, I'm running a giveway for THREE books of your choice. Here are some of your options:

Learning to Swim by Sara J. Henry
One hit Wonder by Charlie Carillo
Sisters by Danielle Steele
The Broker by John Grisham
Everything New by Shan Mann

And a whole lot of others.

To get entered in the giveaway, you can:

Blog about my interview (+3)
Tweet about my interview (+1 each tweet)
Facebook about my interview (+1 each status update)
Forward the information via email (+2 each email)

2 days, folks! Add up your points and please help me spread the word!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Striving to Become

When I was a kid, the people I most admired were my teachers. I thought they ruled the world. I wanted to become a teacher because I thought they were amazing.

As I grew older, I realized I was overlooking some of the most awesome people in my life: my parents. I took them for granted as a child, never even considering that the people I should most admire lived within my own home. My mother in particular taught me the values of kindness, consideration, integrity, hard work, responsibility, honesty.

Now that I am an adult, I try to put those attributes to work in my own life. I strive to be that kind of person that can be counted on.

Henry B. Eyring once said of his wife, Kathleen (and I'm paraphrasing because I can't find the exact quote--feel free to help me out if you know where it is!), that she was the kind of person who not only seemed to know when something was wrong, but was the first person there to try and fix it. Somehow everyone knew she could be relied upon, that she cared, that she would give freely of her time. She was a friend to all, trusted, and caring.

That is who I strive to be like. I hope by the time I reach a more advanced age that I will be the kind of person that shows up to help fix a problem. I hope I will have the empathy and selflessness required to give of myself that way. I want to be the one to comfort and soothe and care. I want to provide for people, whether it is temporal, spiritual, or emotional.

I don't know if I will ever be the kind of person my mother is or Henry B. Eyring's wife is. I fear I put too much priority on myself and things that I like to do. But that is my goal. That's who I want to be.

Who do you admire? Is there someone you want to be like?

Have a great 4th of July weekend! My video interview will run all day on the 4th and 5th. Catch it here and spread the word! I'm going to host a giveaway on Monday and Tuesday so start talking!!
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