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I can’t believe an entire baseball season, spring, and summer have come and gone since I posted anything on this blog. To quote Vizzini from The Princess Bride, inconceivable!

Thankfully, the time hasn’t been entirely wasted. I’ve been keeping busy promoting Whistling Woman (the historical southern fiction I co-wrote with my sister, Christy Tillery French under the pseudonym CC Tillery), gardening ( pretty much a lost cause this year), canning (there are so many wonderful farmer’s markets here where I live), and writing (finished Sun Shadows, the third book in my Eternal Shadows series).

Plus, I’ve spent a great deal of time reading (mostly how-to-self-publish and marketing books) and pondering what I’m going to do with Sun Shadows and the final book in the series, Moon Shadows (I’m about 12,000 words into that one). Not to mention, going back and forth with the titles. For some reason, Sun and Moon aren’t ringing any bells for me so I’ve been considering Shifting Shadows for Luke’s story and Eternal Shadows for Nathan’s. Still no decision but I’m leaning toward the latter.

Anyway, the really important decision is “to self-publish or not to self-publish?” I’m pretty sure it’s going to be self-publish if for no other reason than the success Christy and I are having with Whistling Woman on Kindle. We’ve been at number one (knock on wood and fingers crossed against the jinx!) on the Kindle>southern fiction>historical fiction list for a couple of weeks now and we’ve done pretty well with the print version, too. We sold out (well, sold is a relative term, we gave away quite a few of them) the first print run and we’re hoping sales of both the e-book and the paperback will continue to be good through (and hopefully after!) Christmas.

Only time will tell, but the thing is, I’ve found that I really like being in control when it comes to publishing my books and for me, that’s exactly what self-publishing is all about: the author is in control every step of the way and as a result, any profit (or God forbid, loss) is all yours, too.

As the song goes, the times they are a-changin’–or should I say shifting?–and so am I. I want that control and my next book, whether Sun or Shifting Shadows, will be self-published and sink or swim, it’s all on my shoulders. Wish me luck!

I’ve been so busy lately I haven’t had time to do much of anything except revisions on the book I’m writing with my sister, Whistling Woman, about our great aunt Bessie’s life growing up in Hot Springs, NC, at the turn of the 20th century.  It’s finished.  Yay!  But now comes the hard part; editing and revising.  I usually don’t like that part but with this one, I’m really looking forward to doing the final edits because Christy and I are planning on meeting in Hot Springs when we get to that point.  Another yay!

At the same time, I’m still polishing my older woman/younger man contemporary romance novella, Strict Policies.  And when all that editing gets to be too much, I’m working on the next book in my Eternal Shadows series, Sun Shadows.  Really hope I get this one finished quicker than I did the second one!

Other than that, I’ve been canning quite a bit–my pantry is overflowing!–and putting the garden to bed for the winter–just in time, we had our first frost last night.  Des and I are still walking every day and we’re really enjoying it…for the most part.  Had an encounter with the wicked witch of the neighborhood yesterday but more on that later.  That little event deserves an entire blog post all its own!

I got a great review for Storm Shadows the other day from Amelia Richard at Cata Romance.  4.5 stars!  Yippee!  Here’s Amelia’s teaser:  STORM SHADOWS makes the supernatural seem genuinely real with clever writing and an innovative premise.

Finally, I have an interview up on Susan Whitfield’s blog today.  Lots of fun to do–and believe me I didn’t think I’d ever say that about an interview!  Hope you’ll drop by and check it out!

Back to the edits…

Thank goodness it’s Friday and the final day of my author spotlight at the Long and Short of It!  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed being in the spotlight, and for the most part, I’ve also enjoyed all the other promotions I’ve been doing, but I’m ready to get back to writing now.

One good thing about not being able to write whenever I want to, it just makes me want to write even more.  And while I was suffering from a bit of a block when I started all this promotion, I think that’s over for now.  Hmm…could that be the cure for writer’s block that every author’s been searching for–no time to write because of too many other commitments?  Could be or maybe it’s just that I’m contrary that way.

Whatever, after I clean up a few more summer contests and promotions I’m doing, I’m going to take at least a week to do nothing but write.  Woo-hoo!  In my world, that’s what you call paradise!

So anyway, here’s your little bit of BSP for the day:  on my final day in the spotlight over at the Long and Short of It, I’m talking about my favorite place in the world, the library.  Hope to see you there and don’t forget to enter the contest for a free signed copy of Snow Shadows and a large Storm Shadows coffee mug!

I’ve been meaning to get this post up for days now but never got around to it.  Sheesh, all these promotions are clogging my brain and since I have a hard time remembering things even when my mind is firing on all cylinders, I’m starting to wonder if I even have even one functional brain cell left.

Warning:  BSP ahead!

Are you still here?  Yeah, so okay, I’m in the Author Spotlight this week on Long and Short of It and I really hope you’ll hop on over and leave a comment on one of my guest blogs.  As an extra, added incentive, you can email the answer to the question beneath the blurb under my book covers and you’ll be entered for a free signed copy of Snow Shadows and a large Storm Shadows coffee mug.  So go on, you know you want to–or at least I hope you do!

Little side note here to the Red Sox–Stop Getting Hurt!  I love that you’re playing your hearts out and that you’ve worked your way into 2nd place in the AL East but seriously, the injuries have to stop.  Then again, maybe they don’t, maybe this is the perfect time to have all these injured players.  If you get it out of your system now, maybe that means the entire team will be healthy come September and everyone knows, the most important baseball is played in September.  Well okay, maybe not the most important, I suppose that would be in October but in order to be around in October, you have to play well in September, right?

Anyway, please stop with the injuries because it breaks my heart when I see any one of you go down and not just because that threatens our chance at a spot in the post season.  I understand that you’re playing to win, and I commend you for that, but I also want you all to be healthy.  Okay?  Okay!  Now, go out there and win one for the Gipper…no, wait a minute, wrong sport, go out there and win one for my Grand-niece Gabi who’ll be making her first appearance around September 8th.  She’s bound to be a true Red Sox fan, if her mom and I have anything to say about it, and I’d love nothing more than to be able to tell her when she’s older that her team won the World Series the year she was born in honor of her birth!

Those are the reasons I haven’t posted anything or gotten any writing done for more than a week now.  My father-in-law passed away last Thursday–RIP Dad, we all miss you–I had a new book come out–Storm Shadows, Book 2 of Eternal Shadows is finally up on Amazon, B&N, and other on-line book sellers!–and what little time I’ve been able to spend on the computer, I’ve spent on promotions–blech!  So…sad, happy, and blah. 

I am not enjoying the promotions but unfortunately, that’s part of being an author so I’m doing it.  What I am enjoying is seeing the results of some of the promos I’m doing.  And a funny thing, since Storm Shadows came out, sales on Snow Shadows seem to be picking up again.  Hmm…guess it’s true what they say, the best promo an author can do is to write the next book and get it out there.

Anyway, I’m working on a post that’ll let everybody know what I’ve been doing and also what I’m planning in the way of contests.  Stay tuned for your chance to win a free book or two…

A few things on my mind this morning:

1.  Red Sox! Sweep! Yankees!  ‘Nuff said!

2.  Jacoby Ellsbury is my new dream man.  Okay, well, not so new since I did a post about a year ago about him and how I thought he would make the perfect model for my hero in Snow Shadows, but did you see him steal home last night against the Yankees?  Wow!  How fast is that guy anyway?  Faster than a speeding bullet–well, maybe not, but he’s fast!

3.  Authors on MySpace that friend you and then you only hear from them when they’ve got a new book.  I know that’s just promotion but for some reason, it really bugs me!

4.  Spring and planting my garden which still isn’t done because we’ve been going through something of a mini-monsoon season here.  Thankfully, it seems to be over at last!

 

5.  Mockingbirds.  I have a mockingbird that comes to my suet feeder two or three times every day.  After s/he eats his/her fill, s/he perches on a branch in my hackberry tree and sings his/her little heart out.  Amazing the number of bird songs the s/he knows!

6.  Dogs are wonderful creatures!  No matter what kind of mood I’m in, mine never fail to get at least a smile out of me, and most of the time, a full-out belly laugh.  Gotta love them and be thankful for them!

7.  Oh yeah, did you hear?  The Red Sox swept the Yankees!  Yippee!

8.  Spring cleaning.  Yep, it’s that time of year and no matter how much I don’t want to, I have to do it because that’s how I was raised.  Bleh!

9.  31 Days to Build a Better Blog–I’ve fallen way behind on this one and don’t know if I’ll ever catch up.  We’re on day twenty-something and I just now got my elevator pitch for the first day’s assignment.  Double bleh! 

10. On a happier note, the Red Sox swept the Yankees this weekend.  Hip, hip, hooray!

11. Cherokee legends about wolves because I just started on the third book in my Eternal Shadows series.  Only about a thousand words in since I’m also working on finishing Winds of Fate, the book based on the legend of Blowing Rock.  I’m expanding it to a full-length book instead of a novella.  Wish me luck!

12. The Blue Ridge Book and Author Showcase next week in Flat Rock.  Not exhibiting in this one because by the time I heard about it all the tables were taken, but I’m looking forward to spending time with my sister and mom who are coming over for it, attending some of the sessions and meeting some of the local authors.

13. No number thirteen because that’s unlucky–yep, baseball season is in full-swing and my superstitious nature is too!

14. Writing groups.  I’m a member of High Country Writers in Boone and was a member of RWA.  I let my RWA membership go this year because there’s not a local chapter here in the mountains of NC and I wasn’t getting much from the national membership.  I’m thinking the money might be better spent if I join the North Carolina Writer’s Network.  They have a local chapter which I will automatically be a member of if I join so…

15. A tip for all you authors out there, check OpenZine.  I haven’t joined yet, but an author/publisher has and she’s gotten quite a bit of attention so I think it has real possibilities for authors to market.

Okay, that’s it, except, did I mention the Red Sox swept the Yankees this weekend?  I did?  Well, it bears repeating!

I’ve been sitting on a comment to one of my posts for about two months now, wondering whether I should approve it or send it to the spam queue or just delete it.  The person who wrote it wasn’t very happy with me or my post about a new e-publisher that I’d had some warnings about.

Here’s the comment:

wow, you are ignorant AND boring. good luck with your publications jerkwad.

Okay, first, thanks for the good wishes–even if you did blow it with the “jerkwad” thing.  As for the “boring” part, I can’t really argue with that because I am essentially a very boring person.  The “ignorant” part though, that’s a matter of opinion and I have to say, it doesn’t really bother me.

Anyway, the real reason I’ve hesitated to approve the comment is the author signature:

 Vicious
casualhomicide@gmail.com

“Casualhomicide”, huh?  A little creepy, not to mention slightly loony, so I just left it in the comments and had pretty much forgotten about it until a couple of days ago when I realized I might just be, as this anonymous person said, ignorant.

No, seriously, I have proof.  Read on and see if you don’t agree with me.

Okay, so, I had an e-book come out this past Thursday, Unwilling Angel, a sweet paranormal romance that takes place at Christmas.  Perfect timing on the release date, right?  Well, yeah, it would’ve been, except me in my awe-inspiring stupidity, included a free copy of the book as part of the prize I’m offering in two holiday contests.

See?  Stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!

*warning: run-on sentence ahead!*  Beyond the fact that I’ve read several reports on how useless contests are for generating sales for authors–but they are a good way to get some name recognition!–and the countless times I’ve been warned not to ever give away a free e-book–too many authors have done that only to have the copy of the ebook that was the prize shared with the countless other people.  I even know of one author who recently came across the book she’d given as a prize listed as a free give-away on the winner’s web site where the winner said something like, “It’s yours to read, pass on to someone else, or just trash”–beyond all that, I know that most people when they have the chance to win something for free, are not going to waste their money puchasing it until after the contest is over–if then.  And by the time both of the contests I’m in have ended, the Christmas season for this year will be over.

Which means, in my incredible stupidity, I’ve pretty much put the kabosh on sales for this book during the season when a Christmas book can expect the best sales.

See, told ya’, stupid!  Stupid!  Stupid!  I can’t say it enough!

So, I’m trying to think of a plan to offset my idiocy and so far, the only thing I can come up with is another contest.  Yikes!  Problem is, I don’t know if I can do what I want, which would be to run a contest where the prize is a free copy of my print book, Snow Shadows, to one person who buys Unwilling Angel.  I mean, you’d have to purchase something to win–is that even allowed any more?  Plus, what effect would that have on the sales of Snow Shadows?

*sigh*  I’ll say it again, stupid!  Which leads me to believe that anonymous person who commented and said I was ignorant just might be right.  At least in this case and hopefully, it’s only a passing affliction!

I got a phone call from my editor at Red Rose Publishing last night.  Unwilling Angel, the book I have with them, which I was first told would be released in October, and then told it would be released today, September 11th, is now back to October.  Yay!  I was hoping for a later release date, like as close to Christmas as possible, because the story takes place at Christmas.  The holiday isn’t the central focus of the book, in fact, Christmas is barely mentioned, but I really wanted it to come out around Christmas.  Because that’s when people read stories about Christmas, right?  Unless they’re a Christmas junkie like me and start counting down the days in September and keep Christmas decorations up all year–no, not the outside lights, I would never do that, but I do have some of my snow globes and Christmas music boxes scattered all over the house and they never get put away.

So, the new release date for Unwilling Angel is October 9th.  Except wait!  There’s more!  I was just on the Red Rose site and checked the coming soon page to see if the date had been changed and it has.  It no longer says September 11, it says December!  What?!  What!?  Woo-hoo!  That works for me!

But that’s not really why I’m posting this.  Have you checked out the new “Stick this post to the front page” thingie on WordPress?  Awesome!  I’ve been trying for weeks to put the cover of Snow Shadows in my sidebar and never have been able to figure out how to get it up there.  I mean, I followed all the instructions on the “Help” page and I got it inserted into a widget, but when I go to my site, the only thing there is a white box with a little red X in the upper lefthand corner.  Very frustrating!  I finally gave up trying, but with the front page stickie thing, I got it up without a problem.  And I was even able to get the buy links up there!

So I’m doing this totally uninteresting post as a test.  Will the Snow Shadows stickie page remain at the top of my front page or won’t it?  I guess the only way to find out is to click on Publish…

 Available at Amazon, B&N, Powell’s, and Fictionwise!

I haven’t written much about baseball lately–well, okay, I admit I haven’t written much about anything at all lately, still busy with the move and all–but with less than 30 games left in the regular season, to quote John Fogerty, we’re “rounding third and heading for home”!  Tampa Bay is in first place in the AL East–kudos to the Rays!–and Boston is clinging to the lead in the Wildcard race with um…Minnesota(?) close behind.  I’m pretty sure Tampa’s all but sewn up the AL East, but I haven’t given up my team and am currently driving my husband bananas singing Tessie at every opportunity!  Hey, it worked last year, who’s to say it won’t work this year?

My favorite player is no longer a part of the Boston Red Sox but has packed his bags and headed for La-la Land.  Too bad.  I’ll miss you, Manny.  Probably the only Red Sox fan who will, especially after the questionable behavior of your last few days with Boston, but well, you know those rabid fangirl crushes, they’re not the easiest thing to get over.  And while I no longer love you, I still like you.  Fair warning though, if you cut your hair as Joe Torre reportedly asked you to do, it’s all over with for me.

Okay, enough of baseball.  At this point the only thing I can do is follow the games and hope while I sing my heart out.  Moving on to my life as an author.  I’ve been doing a little bit of promotion and plan to step it up next week, when all the reviews should be in and posted on the different sites.  Mostly I’ve been concentrating on researching and have found some interesting places to either promote my book or learn about the best way to promote.  Top among these is this little gem:  AdaptiveBlue’s Book Widgets.  If you have a book out, send them an email and they’ll make a widget which contains all the info about your book, including the all-important buy sites, that you can place on your website, MySpace, etc.  And it’s free!  Can’t beat that!  I haven’t emailed them yet, but I’ve heard some good things about their work and it’s at the top of my list.  Thanks to fellow L&L Dreamspell author, Denise Robbins for the tip!  She also sent along the URL for SpringWidgets, a site where you can get a widget for your blog.  Yep, that one’s on my list too!

I’m to the point where I’m ordering curtains for the house, hanging what pictures I can hang before I put up curtains, and wading through the last items I unpacked as I try to get everything organized.  Bleh!  I never want to move again.  And I do mean NEVER!

In the middle of all this, I’ve been working with a cover artist from Red Rose Publishing on the cover for my upcoming ebook, Unwilling Angel, which should be released in early September.  Had to go with a CGI cover for this one–the first time I’ve ever had one of those!  I don’t really like CGI covers, but the cover artist did a really good job and did her best to follow my suggestions and give me everything I wanted.  Still, I had a nightmare last night where the cover was picked up by a couple of blogs, primarily Judge a Book by its Cover, and snarked unmercifully.  JaBbyC is a blog written by a fellow North Carolinian, who’s a librarian in Asheville, and I love her blog because it’s always good for a chuckle or two.  Anyway, I know my nightmare probably won’t happen and I fully admit to being an idiot and a Nervous Nellie when it comes to my covers, but really, this one has me biting my nails–a habit I gave up back in high school!–and I fully expect the hair-pulling, screaming heebie-jeebies to hit soon.  So, I’m going to post the cover here on this blog and I invite all you snarkers to have a go!

Okay, I’ll start.  The guy standing up?  What the hell happened to his feet?  And why does he look like he’s backlit by a spotlight?  *raising hand high and waving*  He’s actually an angel, hence the backlighting which gives him a nice halo-effect–my favorite part of the cover, actually–and his feet are either buried in the snow or he’s in the process of fading away back to Heaven, feet first!

*snerk*  Okay, got that out of my system and I just want to say thanks to Marteeka, the cover artist, who was a real joy to work with and even with my inexplicable–and often unjustifiable–hatred of CGI covers, I really like this one.  You are, in my eyes, a fabulous cover artist, not to mention a really patient and nice person! 

And finally, with Snow Shadows already out and the unexpected early release of Unwilling Angel, I’ve been trying to come up with promotion ideas which include both of them.  Not an easy thing to do, especially when you can’t decide what genre Unwilling Angel falls under.  When I sent it to the publisher, I submitted it as a sweet paranormal romance.

The thing is…it’s one of those books, well, a novella actually, that doesn’t slip neatly into one recognized genre.  I mean, sure, it’s a romance, but just barely.  Emma doesn’t meet her “man” until the next to last chapter and she only kisses him once, at the very end of the story.  It doesn’t have the traditional HEA, but more of a HFN.  And as for the angel element in the story, I can’t find a definitive genre for that.  I’ve seen books about angels listed as paranormal and fantasy, but I don’t know.  Beyond the heroine’s limited psychic abilities which save the day in the end, there’s nothing paranormal about this book.  As for fantasy…nope, doesn’t fit there either. 

*sigh*  Maybe I should just label it a sweet romance and leave it at that.  I hate labels anyway.

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams