Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fingers Crossed for Sales!

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but how many can get through to you." ~Mortimer Adler

Booksigning today at Borders ~ wish me luck!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Random Friday Thoughts

Some random musings on this Friday morning...

There's a great independent book store in Port Clinton, Ohio, that welcomes author's bookmarks and will promote you and your website link on theirs: The Book Exchange. If you're an author and you'd like their contact info, email me and I'll pass it along.


A hearty congrats to my fellow writer Chandler Marie Craig, who right now is tossing around not one but TWO offers of representation from literary agents. Way to go Chandler!!


Brand new author Kimberly Huff is celebrating the release of her really funny chick lit novel, Tall Skinny Cappuccino (and I can say that 'cause I got to read + review the ARC).


I'm finishing up a trailer for Devon Gray's upcoming release, Playing for Keeps, and a freelance article for WOW- Women on Writing about the Price Sisters, who write via IM and email though they live on different continents.


And I'm trying to revise One Night in Napa for the NJRW Conference at the end of's going well but not fast enough!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memoriam

“I fear that all I have done is awakened a sleeping giant and filled him with a terrible resolve.”~Admiral Yamamoto after the Pearl Harbor attack, December 7, 1941

Just a quick post today...mostly to say that I'm cheating and sending you to read my Samhain Blog post instead of writing anything intellectual or witty or profound here.

It won't be up there 'til after 3:00 pm (EST) today, but please check back and comment. The post actually means a lot to me.

Please take a moment and remember:

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Maria Zannini

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! Today I'm thrilled to have fellow Samhain author Maria Zannini join me. Her debut novel, Touch of Fire, recently released, so I'm happy to have her here, celebrating and sharing her experiences. Enjoy!

Hi Maria! Can you tell us a little about your background?

If you were to list all the things I've done in my life you'd think me a Jill of all trades. I have been an artist, graphic designer, homesteader, vet technician, and art director. I've raised dogs, ratites, and blood pressure.

Not necessarily in that order.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

It was an accident! I sent a letter to the editor of a country living magazine and he tracked me down and called me. By the end of our phone visit, he asked if I'd be interested in writing an article for his magazine.

I was.

It got a big response from the readership and realized I might be on to something. It would be several more years before I got into fiction, but I was definitely hooked.

That's such a great "discovery" story! OK, now tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

Touch Of Fire is out now! It's a fantasy set 1200 years in a future Earth where technology has been replaced with Elemental magic. An ancient alchemist's book has surfaced and threatens to bring weapons of mass destruction back into their society. Leda, a young Elemental mage is ordered to find it and return it to her elders. Her search leads her to Greyhawke Tams, an ex-soldier turned scavenger who will do whatever it takes to keep her from completing her mission. But it isn't long before they discover someone wants them both dead.

There's sex, adventure, huge obstacles and great sacrifices. And there's sex. Did I mention that? I love this book! It was great fun to extrapolate the roles of common, everyday things and ideas and show how they would be perceived in the future.

Congrats on your release. So how do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

You mean I had to balance them both? Rats! I don't think I got that memo. :o)

I will give one piece of advice to anyone who is not published yet. Get your blog and website in order BEFORE you sign that first contract. I mean it! You will not have time once that ball starts rolling. You want to build your internet presence long before there's a book out there. Trust me on this. I am still playing catch-up.

Absolutely true; I agree 100%. Now, describe your writing space for us...

[This is where I live most of the time. The painting above the desk is one I did of two of my babies, Isis and Nacho, when they were alive.]

I suffer from sciatica and cannot sit for long periods of time, so I use a balance ball as my office chair, both here and at work. And I think I've started a trend. Several of my friends at work are now using one too.

Since I still do artwork, my desk is also set up with a Wacom tablet and a scanner.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I am a garage sale junkie! I love to haunt tag sales and have been known to scrounge interesting "junk" from back alleys and dumpsters. Many of the antiques in my home have been lovingly restored and saved from the landfill:

[The desk, chair, even the pillow roll were found objects that were refurbished.]

People tell me I have very eclectic tastes. I think that's code for eccentric. And that sounds about right.

Maria, thanks so much for being here today. Readers, don't forget to check out Touch of Fire and visit Maria's website and blog as well!

Thanks for having me on your blog, Allie!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Why I Love my Small Press

"Everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book." Stephan Mallarme

So this-coming Saturday, I'm doing a group book signing at the local Borders. I was really looking forward to this one, since it's my local Borders and a decent amount of my friends are planning on coming by.

Then I get an email yesterday afternoon from the author who set up the signing, saying that Borders waited until the last minute and won't have any of our books in stock. Thus, we should carry in our own books for sale. Now, this would normally not be a problem...if I had known ahead of time. I have exactly 4 copies of one book, and 0 copies of the other, in my house right now. And again, this would normally not be a problem if it weren't my local store and my friends weren't planning on coming.

So at 5:30 in the afternoon, I send a semi-crazed email to the women at Samhain in charge of ordering, with a plea to look into rush shipping if it's available. I figure, I won't hear a thing 'til the next day at least, considering it's well after 5.

Ten minutes later, I get a call at home from the Marketing Director, telling me exactly how much $$ 20 copies of One Night in Boston, ordered on a rush job and shipped 2-day air, will cost me. Then she spends another 10 minutes on the phone with me trying to figure out how to lower that $$. Finally, she puts in the order for what seems to us both to make the most sense and also promises to call the woman at the printer tomorrow morning to tell her how desperate I am.

And that is why I love my small press.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Royalty Statements

"Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes." ~Louisa May Alcott

So over the weekend I received my royalty statement for the month of August - and while I can't quit my day job yet, at least I'm out of the red. You might recall that last month's numbers were nothing to cheer about, and since Samhain gives its authors an advance, until you "sell out" your advance, you get nothing except a red number of how much you still owe them at the bottom.

Thankfully, this statement included some print sales of One Night in Boston, which bumped me into the black column (I'm still not sure exactly how that works, since I thought I only saw print sale numbers twice a year...I'm hoping Diane will drop by and enlighten me). The ebook numbers for One Night in Memphis still aren't terrific by any means, but I've come to terms with the fact that my readers are going to buy my books in print much more than they're going to buy the electronic versions.

Anyway, I can put gas in my car this week, thanks to this royalty statement. So onwards and upwards!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Right to Choose

"Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime." ~Potter Stewart

Pop quiz: what do the following books have in common?

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden
As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Blubber by Judy Blume
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
Carrie by Stephen King
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Christine by Stephen King
Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Decameron by Boccaccio
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Fallen Angels by Walter Myers
Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland
Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
Forever by Judy Blume
Grendel by John Champlin Gardner
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Have to Go by Robert Munsch
Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Impressions edited by Jack Booth
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Love is One of the Choices by Norma Klein
Lysistrata by Aristophanes
More Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
My House by Nikki Giovanni
My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Ordinary People by Judith Guest
Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women's Health Collective
Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy
Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz
Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz
Separate Peace by John Knowles
Silas Marner by George Eliot
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
The Bastard by John Jakes
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks
The Living Bible by William C. Bower
The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman
The Pigman by Paul Zindel
The Seduction of Peter S. by Lawrence Sanders
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

Answer: VP candidate Sarah Palin tried to ban all of them from the Wasilla, Alaska, public library while she was mayor of that town.


This, anyway, is what one of those circulated emails that I got last night said. True? I really hope not. I mean, I heard that she tried to get "a book" banned...but all of these? Some of which are recommended reading for most of the high school students I know? (C'mon...Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird?)

Anyone heard about this? 'Cause censorship is a dangerous, dangerous thing. Once you start restricting access to words/thoughts, you take away people's ability to decide for themselves what should be read, what's important and what's immoral and what should be kept from the eyes of children (your children, anyway). And shouldn't parents be having those conversations anyway? What happens when you take away a person's right to *choose* what they'll read, and what they'll allow their children to read? Doesn't enlightenment come from having discussions about difficult topics?

I've played this here before, but it's worth a repeat, because author John Green says it so well: