Saturday, April 28, 2012

People I Really Do Like To Follow On Twitter

Wow.  There is SO MUCH negativity going on in the cyber book blogging world this week.  As far as I can tell, some blogger plagiarized another blog, and it's all I've been hearing about on blog after blog and tweet after tweet this week.
And yesterday I was a bit negative myself, so today I thought I'd post something positive about twitter.
Here's a list of people who don't do the negative and who have fun, interesting tweets to follow:
Ian Rankin
Neil Gaiman
Maureen Johnson (reading her tweets is like getting a free novel every day)
Elizabeth Eulberg
Brigid Kemmerer
Marissa Meyer
Lisa Page Rosenberg
Judy Blume (still awesome after all these years)
Adrienne Kress
Erin Bow
Bree Despain
Michelle Argyle
Katie Mills
Forgotten Bookmarks
Bookshelves of Doom
Eve Marie Mont
Gail Carriger
Rachel Harris

Thanks for staying positive this week and for being interesting people!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Why I Stopped Following You On Twitter

Dear Tweeps,
Yes, I have stopped following some of you.  Perhaps you would care to know why.  To be blunt, it's because you were either driving me crazy or scaring me.
1) Your profile pic showed you insufficiently clothed.
2) You listed your religious affiliation on your profile for no good reason (as in, you're NOT a religious official; you're merely a member of a particular group).
3) You're a writer/blogger/office worker, yet you listed "guns" on your 2 sentence profile.
4) You tweeted commercials of "buy my book" anywhere from 4 to 24 times per day.
5) Your tweets were composed entirely of hashtags or profile refs. (#ibtweetin, #urkool #zipurlips @imsocool @whocares)
6) You were boring me to death with tweets about things that don't interest me in any way, shape, or form.
7) All of the above.

Finally! Something Positive This Week!

Amazon's sending me another paycheck!  Yea!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

My Eclectic Music Tastes

I have a wide variety of music on my iTunes.  We're talking Mississippi wide, here.  Epic proportions.
I have Bulgarian women's choirs and Lady GaGa, Nat King Cole and the Oxford St. Peter's Choir, Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber and The Grass Cutters (don't worry if you've never heard of that last group: that was the point).
Let me illustrate by giving you tonight's getting-ready-for-bed playlist:
1. "Good Riddance" by Green Day
2. "You Can't Rollerskate In A Buffalo Herd" by Roger Miller
3. "Ruby Tuesday" by the Rolling Stones
4. "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music
5. "Black and White" by Three Dog Night
6. "Send Me To Glory In A Glad Bag" by Voice Male
7. "You're So Vain" by Carly Simon
8. "Vamos A La Playa" by Righeira
9. "Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants
10. "Sad Movies" by Boney M
11. "The Hardest Rhyme" by The Capitol Steps
12. "Kung Fu Fighting" by Carl Douglas
13. "Eleanor Rigby" by the Beatles.

Yup.  Eclectic.

New Half-Vampire Review On Goodreads

This review of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire is up now on Goodreads.


's review 
Apr 24, 12

5 of 5 stars false
bookshelves: ebooks-i-have-read
Read from April 02 to 03, 2012, read count: 1

I really enjoyed this book. It was a really fun and had an interesting twist on the vampire genre. The narrative was young, exciting and personal. This is an extraordinary young man that is finding his way through life and doing a remarkable job (even though he has this affliction). He does not let this aliment get him down. I paticularly enjoyed the details of his visit to Scottland and of the secrets and friend he made while being there. I cannot wait to read the next book. It sounds just as amazing as this one.

thank you

This one surprised me, as it was totally unsolicited and by a complete stranger.  Most of my reviews are either from bloggers I've asked to review my book or else from someone who knows me.  This person just bought the book and reviewed it -- for whatever reasons.  She didn't win a copy from me.  She doesn't know me.  She's not a blogger I asked to review for me.  She's just a reader who really liked the book!

Oh, and Chocolate Chunkie Munkie has agreed to review my book sometime in June, so that will be more exposure.  :)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Funnier Than Fiction (Or: How To Dismantle A Doorknob With Scissors)

Whenever I get a few spare moments lately, I work on the first draft of my newest YA paranormal novel, The (Dis)Appearance Of Nerissa MacKay.  This is a tale of a girl, who, like most teenage girls -- nyah, like most WOMEN I know -- has a good deal of self-loathing for her body.  She doesn't like her hair, her flat chest, or her skin.  And she's terrified of gaining weight.
Sound like anyone you know?  Probably.
But I'm not the kind of writer to take this into serious depths.  Nerissa doesn't take up cutting or tattooing. Nor does she have suicidal thoughts.
Nope.  Her family has a history of witchcraft herbal lore, and she gets ahold of her great-great-great (etc.) grandmother's commonplace book.  Mistaking the cryptic clues on a recipe for either an acne cure or a weight-loss tonic, she concocts a drink that turns her temporarily invisible.
Naturally, though, her clothes don't turn invisible with her body, so, if she's to have any benefits at all from her newfound state, she must run about unclothed for some of her adventures.  And she  has to deal with her opinions of and emotions concerning her body.  It's a book about non-self-acceptance and its consequences -- and how to deal with those consequences.
Quite frankly, I'm still wondering if this is going to be acceptable for the junior high audience.  I mean, there's no sex, and no one can see her, but she's still running about in her birthday suit.
Now, I often go to great lengths to research for a book.  I've tromped through closes in Scotland and crawled into ancient burial mounds in Orkney and sweated out nights in shabby motels in Escalante, Utah.  I've also read a TON on vampire legends around the world, and, most recently, LOTS on herbal medicine, the humors theory, and pioneer medicine.
But until last night, I never had to do any research on adventures in the buff.

It's been hot.  Waaaaaay too hot for April.  It was into the mid-90s yesterday and the high 80s today.  The air conditioner in my relo at school is out of freon, so the room is like a car in the sun -- stifling.  My classroom is hot, my house is hot.
Last night, after dark, I had windows open and a small fan in my bedroom to try to bring the temperature down in there at least.
I took a bath to wash off the day's sweat, but even a very quick bath had left the bathroom steamy, so I grabbed a large towel, flicked off the lights, and ran into the guest bedroom to dry off in dry air.  I closed the door behind me so as not to show anything shocking from the light down the hall through the blinds in the room.
Dry, I reached for the doorknob and twisted.
It turned 360 degrees in my hand.
I was essentially locked in a room with no lock.  A room with no phone.  No one else was in the house.  And I was wearing a towel.
I couldn't help it; I smirked.  This was hilarious!
 I actually thought of Nerissa, streaking about in the dark without clothes.  And I cringed.  I most certainly didn't want to be anywhere outside the house without clothes.
However, my options were limited at the time, so I had to dig into the spare closet for some too-small clothes I keep in the hopes I'll lose some weight and fit back into them some day.  (Ha!)  They were uncomfortable, but going commando in too-tight clothing was MUCH preferable to going about in no clothing.  (Really, Douglas Adams' claim about the world being a whole lot safer if you have a towel just didn't seem to apply here.)
At that point, I flicked on the lights and had a look at my choices.
The window is 6 feet off the ground and right over a rather nasty, spider-infested bush.  Choice #1 was to remove the window screen, force my way out the window,  run to the neighbors', call my parents to come with keys to get me into the garage so I could get a ladder and tools.  The bedroom door was installed with the hinges on the inside of the room and the screws to the doorknob on the inside as well.  Choice #2 was to remove either the hinges or the doorknob from inside the room using whatever I could find as a tool.  Choice #3 was to climb out the window, call the folks for keys, and never use that bedroom again.

Well, people, I'd like to tell you that it is indeed possible to disassemble a doorknob using only a pair of scissors.
It took me nearly 25 minutes to take it apart, try to turn the bar inside, accidentally knock the rest of the handle off to the other side where I couldn't reach it, try to remove the hinges with scissors (doesn't work), seriously consider climbing out the window, and finally force one scissor blade into the notch for the bar in the doorknob and jam it to one side to force the release of the latch.
I was completely sweaty and covered in grease.  And I was laughing.
Seriously, if I wrote this scene into Nerissa's story -- her wrapped in a towel and working away at a doorknob with a pair of scissors -- how many readers would smirk at the ridiculous nature of the scene?  Really, what are the chances of the doorknob breaking just at the moment when the protagonist is wearing only a towel?
Well, last night those chances were at 100%.  It may have been once in a blue moon, but I waltzed right into it.
Oh, and "Why scissors?" you may ask.  Well, I don't keep a pipe wrench in the spare bedroom.  And, although I have screwdrivers in the garage, the kitchen, my car, the bathroom, my own bedroom, and in my school bag, (And Dad always carries a pocket knife as well.) I did not have a screw driver in the extra bedroom.
But the room has a desk.  And there were scissors in the top drawer.
Disassembling a doorknob with scissors while awkwardly clothed, under stress, and laughing may not be stranger than fiction.  But it is funnier.
Especially from THIS side of the door.  :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Just When You Thought Monday Couldn't Get Any Worse....

It's too late tonight.
Tune in tomorrow for an episode of "Stranger Than Fiction" or "If I Worked This Into A Plot, People Would Call It Unrealistic."
Details tomorrow!

It's Too Darn Hot!

This afternoon, while Dad and I trekked to Lowe's to buy a new sprinkler control box, the thermometer in my car read 96.
It's April, people.  April.
After the battle of the carbon dioxide fumes and lack of ventilation in my relo last autumn, I was informed by the district workman that I'd "have" to have a programmable thermostat put into the relo.  (Bull puckey.  The old analog one worked FAR better.)  Well, I've been telling the custodians for days now that the new thermostat has messed up the a/c in the room, and today the head custodian came into my room to "fix" it when the temp read 76.  He gently chided me, implying I'd messed up the programming, punched a few buttons, and told me not to touch it, as it was working now.  Still too hot, I left the room to let it cool and I spent my consultation period grading papers in the library.  When I returned, the room had "cooled" to 86.  Oh, let me tell you that advisory was fun!  Twenty hot, squirmy 7th graders for 45 minutes at the end of the day!  Joy!  (Note: don't assume that 20 is a normal class size in Utah; it's not.  That's an advisory class only, when even counselors take groups of kids and the school population is spread out more thinly.  A normal-sized class in Utah is 35, sometimes much larger.  Anything under 30 is seriously considered "small" and the teacher counts her/himself as lucky.)
And I don't have a/c at home, either.  Last night was too hot to sleep with the windows closed, so I had noise and heat all night.  Ugh.  These things do NOT lead to a good night's sleep.
Oh yeah, and, with the windows open, all the pollen floats in and I sneeze and sniffle.
Heat, headaches, lethargy, allergies, sleeplessness, and noise.
Is it any wonder I like cooler weather FAR better than summer?
And, as I said above, it's only freakin' APRIL!  I have four to five more MONTHS of this ahead of me.
Happy Monday, everyone.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Lots O' Links

Several blogs I read do a weekly links post, but, although I enjoy reading theirs, I've never wanted to join in.  However, today I've just found several really interesting things to share, so I'm doing a links post.

First off, I'll do the links that relate to me.
One is that Samantha at Falling Books has agreed to review and do a giveaway of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire!  This will be great exposure for me, as she has nearly 900 followers.
Speaking of followers, I've discovered that Twitter followers come and go daily.  And I get the most unlikely followers sometimes!  Seriously, someone from an autism awareness group, a sprinkler company,  and someone who claimed to be Governor Gary Herbert were all following me as of yesterday.  (Today, the governor one is gone.  Who knows what I'll have by tomorrow?)
But I'm picking up Pinterest followers right and left!  Holy heck!  I still only follow 10 people on Pinterest, but my vampire board (for collecting ideas for Confessions and Family) has 40 followers, my Celtic board (for images relating to Becoming Brigid) has 41 followers, as does my Nerissa board (for The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay.)  My steampunk board has 40 followers, and my funny stuff board has 42.  And I'm not even out recruiting followers for Pinterest!  So weird.

In other bookish news, I discovered this blog post about a recipe for creating the November cakes that are repeatedly mentioned in The Scorpio Races, which is a superb action/adventure/fantasy book by Maggie Stiefvator.  

And then, through a tweet by author Neil Gaiman, I found this odd post on baffling historical discoveries: tobacco on Egyptian mummies, a Roman shipwreck in a harbor in Brazil -- and their government's subsequent banning of diving, ancient Hebrew on a rock in New Mexico (seems like that one should've come up in a Sunday School lesson somewhere, like Thor Hyerdal always did, but I'd never heard of it before today), and a piece of Roman artwork in Mexico.  Fun stuff.  It's nice to know that there are still mysteries out there to be unraveled.  :)

And, also in a tweet, I got word of this post which claims that men prefer iPads to women.  One in 10 single men, the post claims, would rather have a new iPad than a girlfriend.  However, the statistics are presented in a confusing way.  The article says that 11% of men would prefer the iPad, but that 84% of women would prefer the new boyfriend.  Doesn't that imply, then, that 89% of men would prefer the new girlfriend and 16% of women would prefer the iPad?  Or were there other choices as well, such as what percentage of men or women would prefer an endless supply of chocolate to either other option?  The article does not tell us.
And that's it, folks.
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

My POD Is Available In The UK!

I haven't been a big fan of Amazon resellers of my book, as almost all of them have been lying about the availability of the POD.  (Look, people, it's a POD!  I KNOW when someone buys a copy!  So stop saying you HAVE the book ready to ship when you don't.  And what was with the reseller listing a "used" copy of the book at $38.95?!!  A brand new one was $9.99.  Why would someone pay more for a used one -- especially a used one that didn't exist?)
However, today I'd like to thank the resellers. Nine of them are offering my book in the UK right now, so the POD has a page, just like the e-book does.  Have a look.  Click here.
Yes, I still find it hilarious that none of these resellers actually has a copy of the book, and I am highly amused that one of them lists the price at £888.00 plus shipping.  (Really?  I don't think even a signed first edition of a Harry Potter book would go for that much.)  But one reseller is offering Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire for £4.95 + £2.80 shipping.  That's reasonable.
I needed some good news today.  I'm happy I stumbled upon this little bit of info.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Sixty blog followers as of today!
I needed that, as the rest of the day's been a bit of a downer.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Solving Life's Little Mysteries, One At A Time

Last autumn, a sock went missing in the wash.
I hung its mate up in the laundry room, not wishing to give up on it, as it was a nearly brand-new pair of socks.
Over the past few months, I've cleaned behind the washer and dryer and all around the area where my laundry baskets collect dirty clothes, but to no avail.  The missing sock didn't turn up.
Well, it had to be SOMEWHERE, so I left the mate hanging in the laundry room.
The explanation of this requires you to understand that I have several pairs of sheets, flannel for winter and cotton for summer.  Just today, as I switched a lighter-weight set of sheets onto the bed, the missing sock tumbled out of the pocket of the fitted sheet -- a sheet which had been washed and put away last autumn.
My life feels more complete now.  :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Wherein Another Jr. High Library Can't Keep My Book On The Shelf And A Mystery Is Solved

Max sent me this pic yesterday at school.  It's the front counter of the library at the junior high where he teaches with a display of the cover of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  Max's school is having a contest with the book right now!
I e-mailed the librarian at his school, and she said there are no books in Max's photo because all copies of the book got checked out before she could even get the display finished.  At first I thought she meant just the free copy I'd sent to her through Max, but she told me she'd bought five copies from Frost's Books as well.  (That solves the mystery of "the lady" who bought three copies of the book  -- and it also means she went back and bought the two more copies I sold Richard Frost a few days ago!  Frost's has sold out a second time!  -- Guess I'd better see if Richard wants another copy or two, eh?)
All this got me thinking: maybe I ought to contact a few other junior highs and see if they would like free copies in their libraries.  It would certainly expose more kids to the book.
I also offered to do a meet-the-author session at Max's school if the librarian feels there might be enough interest.  That would be fun to try it with kids I don't actually already know.

On a less-fun note: my second proof of All in the Half-Vampire Family arrived today -- and it STILL has cover problems, albeit different cover problems than last time.  Grrrr.....

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Thirty-Two Pages Of "Also Boughts"!!!

I've learned that the "customers who bought this item also bought" lists at Amazon 1) fluctuate day by day and 2) are usually not current.
However, I still think it's really cool that -- at least right now -- the Kindle version of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire has 32 pages of "also boughts"!!  Wow.  That's as much as a lot of traditionally published books have sometimes!  It makes me look like I'm selling hundreds of copies.  (I'm not, but the e-book is only 99¢.  You could click here and buy a copy to help my sales rank..... please?)
This was a happy little discovery this evening. :)

The Importance of Knowing Barnabas Collins

My mother helped my father run our family business.  As a result, I spent a fair amount of time in my pre-school years at Grandma's house.  No doubt this was good for Grandma as well; she was blind in one eye and not terribly mobile by the time I came along, but she was supremely patient and an excellent and doting teacher.  I gave Grandma a sense of usefulness in her old age, and she was a superb caretaker.
Grandma loved soap operas and afternoon talk shows.  I'd sit and play with plastic toy animals while she watched such classics as The Mike Douglas Show, General Hospital, and One Life To Live.
But then she'd leave the TV running so I could watch Dark Shadows.
I never understood much of it, but episode after episode engrained into my preschool consciousness a sense of the gothic.  Long before I could read Dracula, long before I'd ever heard of The Mysteries of Udolpho, I internalized the concept of grim, lonely mansions trapping innocent young girls and holding the secrets of vaguely threatening but attractive older men.
In the original Dark Shadows, the wind blows all the time, rustling the bushes -- but never displacing a single hair of the characters.  The Collinwood Mansion on Widows' Hill always looks gloomy -- because the early episodes were filmed in black and white.  And isolation is a definite theme.
Is it any wonder I started writing vampire stories by the time I was eleven?
Honestly, people, I could identify Barnabas Collins as early as I could identify songs by the Beatles and the Monkees.  I was morbidly attracted to Barnabas -- only Robin on the Batman show held more wonder for my three-year-old mind.
And now Johnny Depp is going to turn it all into humor.
I can't WAIT!!!
The trailer is SO funny!  ("Reveal yourself, tiny songstress!")
In preparation, I borrowed DVDs of episodes 73 to roughly 90-something of the original show from the public library.  And those seem funny to me now.  ("My name is Victoria Winters....")  Barnabas hasn't even appeared in the story yet.
In any case, the new movie is a total must-see for me this summer.  I love Johnny Depp anyway, and Dark Shadows is just such a part of my past.....
I wish I could tell Grandma.  She just might have found all this amusing, too -- even if she preferred General Hospital.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #19

This week, Carmi's theme, as posted on his fabulous blog, Written Inc, is "Single People."
Each week, we play a game here with Carmi's theme.  I choose a photo that matches his theme, and we use it for the shortest of flash fiction in a writers' game.  I post a title and a single line to match the photo, and then you do the same in the comments.
Here's an example from a previous week if you'd like to see how it's done.

So here we go with "Single People."
The photo:

Title: The Gears of Promontory Point.
Single Line: "What ever you do," Spike said, glaring at me over his bow tie, "don't touch the freeonium silicate chamber once the circuits have been joined."

Your turn.
Create a title and a single line to go with this gentleman, then share it with us in the comments.

Monday, April 9, 2012


So, while doing some really fun research for The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay, I've had to get into rockabilly.  I had no idea how much fun some of this stuff was.  I hadn't heard Jimmie Rodgers' stuff since I was a kid.  (My favorites are "Honeycomb," "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine," and "Falling In Love Again.")  And the only Bill Haley song I knew was "Rock Around the Clock."
But tonight I have tons of new tunes to listen to, and I've discovered The Maddox Brothers and Rose!  Yeehaw!
I love this stuff!
Here, try some out:
Maddox Brothers and Rose "Honky Tonkin'"
Jimmie Rodgers "Honeycomb"

Good stuff.  I'm having fun with this research!  :)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Help! My Paranormal Romance Isn't Cliché Enough!

I found this lovely little flowchart through twitter a few days ago.   It's highly amusing, but it's also fairly instructive.

You see, I'm into the final-touches stage of Becoming Brigid, my first attempt at a novel that is for older teen girls and deals with romance.  Thus, I couldn't resist pairing up my ms with this flowchart to see how things went.  And it turns out I do have a couple of clichés in the story.  However, I think I'm just going to have to deal with that and let them remain.
Here we go with the questions and my answers:

Category: Her:

Is she drop-dead gorgeous but doesn't know it?
Uh, no.  She's rather plain: straight, mid-back-length, dark brown hair, freckles, light brown eyes, 5'10", flat-chested.  Guys don't pay much attention to her.

What is her personality: his one-and-only, completely ordinary, or goth?
None of the above.  She's fiery-tempered and impetuous.  You don't want to piss her off.  That's why she's been called Pepper since she was tiny.

Does she have a paranormal super-power, the likes of which no one has ever seen?
Well, kind of.  She can go through portals to different times and places.  But there are two other people mentioned in the story who can do the same thing, and it's hinted there have been others.

Is she a total klutz?
Absolutely not.

Category: Him

Is he any of the following: vampire, werewolf, Faerie prince, or fallen angel?
No.  He's the Celtic god Lugh.  Does that count?

Is he hotter than life hot?
Not really.  He's older than a teenager, although his age is undefined.  He's pleasant-looking, with golden-red hair that hangs to his shoulders, gray eyes, slightly crooked lower teeth, pale skin, and an oddly plump bit of a belly on his otherwise slight frame.  He's roughly 5'8", which is shorter than Pepper is.

Is he from the 16th Century?
No, he's from the 8th or 9th Century.

Does he spout poetry like he's from the 16th Century?
Oooh.  You've got me there.  He does spout a lot of poetry.  But only some of it's Shakespeare.  He does a good deal of Tennyson and Lord Byron.   Let's say he spouts poetry like he's from the 19th Century.
(Dang.  I didn't know the poetry thing was so cliché.  Guess I haven't read enough paranormal romance.)

Is he immortal?
He's getting there.

Is this his first love even though he's lived for 200+ years?
Oh, good heavens no!  He's the god of fertility!

Is he too dangerous for her but can't stay away from her?
Heh, heh.  Appearances can be deceiving.  You'll have to read the book to find out.

Does he save her in dramatic rescues?
Well, he does have to one time, but usually he's just making her realize she can save herself.

Does he stalk her from afar?
Uh, kind of.  I guess.  But it's more like a secret agent thing than a psycho lover thing.

Does she admire the thinly-veiled muscle beneath his tee-shirt?
No.  He doesn't ever wear a tee-shirt in the book, and he's not very muscular.  But there IS that one scene where he..... well, you're just going to have to read the book.  ;)

Hmmm.... maybe I haven't written a paranormal romance.  Maybe it's more of a paranormal adventure.  Is there such a category as "paranormal adventure"?

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Little Udate

It snowed.  :)
Yesterday, Max fixed the cover issue that CreateSpace wouldn't accept, and this morning I was all cleared for take off and ordered what I hope will be the final proof copy of All in the Half-Vampire Family.  (Fingers crossed.)
Yesterday also, I placed an order for bookmarks (advertising both Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire AND All in the Half-Vampire Family) at Creative Graphics, my favorite silk-screen printing shop.  Their graphic design artist, Zach Romero, confirmed what I'd already guessed would be true: he'd be happy to do freelance work for me if I ever want his help designing a book cover.  :)  So far, I'm pretty happy with my own designs, but it's nice to know where I can go if I need to hire someone.
And one more thing from yesterday was that Richard Frost of Frost's books agreed to take two more copies of Half-Vampire to sell in his store, as he'd sold out of the first three so quickly.  Yea!  Happy thoughts there. :)

In other book-related news, I bought Connie Willis' All About Emily at Frost's, received a copy of Storm from Brigid Kemmerer, and won a second-hand copy of Forgotten Bookmarks from the author.  Not a bad haul for one week, eh?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Goodreads Giveaway! Win Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire by Lisa Shafer

Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire

by Lisa Shafer

Giveaway ends April 10, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

All in the Half-Vampire Family Has Moved Forward One Step

Max kindly spared me a couple of hours this afternoon to work on book covers.  With his fancy photo program and his knowledge thereof, we fixed the problems with the cover on All in the Half-Vampire Family (blurb on the back was too big and there were these mysterious white strips down each side of the spine) and made a first go at the full cover for Becoming Brigid.  (Then we went to lunch. :))
As soon as I got home, I converted jpegs into pdfs for CreateSpace, then submitted the new cover file AND the fixed up (after three proofreadings!) interior file for All in the Half-Vampire Family.
If all goes well, I should be able to order a new proof of the book by tomorrow.  Yea!
I'm almost ready to get to the first proof stage for Becoming Brigid, but I'm suddenly hesitant on IBC code numbers.  I can get a CreateSpace one for free -- and that's what I've done with the first two books.  But I can get a different one by paying for it.  What's the difference?  Does anyone know?  Why is the non-CreateSpace one better?

Words From The Dust

So, I was doing some spring cleaning over the weekend -- got to get a couple of rooms ready to paint, as things look dingy and some of the paint is cracking in the corners -- and I got digging into the depths of a filing cabinet.
Oh my.
I found print outs of  three of my first four novels: How Nothing Really Happened At The Haunted Mansion, Thumbprint On Your Soul, and Until Some Tomorrow.  (The missing one was lost in a hard drive crash 4 computers ago.)
I pulled them out, dusted them off -- and I thought about reading a few pages.
Then I thought again and put them all right back into the filing cabinet.
I'm not ready to recycle them just yet, but I'm not sure I want to see them again, either.  They served their purpose; I learned how to write novel-length tales through these manuscripts.  And I am using the setting idea from Mansion in my current WIP, The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay.
Will I ever re-do these for publication?  Well, let me think about that for a--
Okay, that's long enough: NO FREAKIN' WAY!!!
Some folks have skeletons in their closets; I have dusty manuscripts in my filing cabinet.  And they're staying there.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #18

So, last week, our game was apparently a little too morbid.  Not many of you joined in.  Let's try something tamer this week, shall we?
Carmi, incredi-photojournalist who blogs at Written Inc, has a themed photo sharing every week.  On this blog, I choose one of my photos to fit his theme, then we use it to play a game.  Here's one from two weeks ago.  I add a title and a single line from a story to match Carmi's theme and my photo, then readers join in to play, adding their own twists with titles and single lines.
Carmi's theme this week is "mirror, mirror."
Here's my photo:

Title: From China, With Love.
Single line: Agent 004 filmed carefully with his cell phone and the mirrored ceiling as Wu Shi passed the loaded fortune cookie across the table.

Your turn: Create a title and a single line to match this mirrored photo.  (Yes, it really is of a ceiling mirror in a Chinese restaurant, but you can change that.  You're writing fiction, after all.)
Comment away!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Local Bookstore Sells Out Of Half-Vampire!

A few weeks ago, Frost's Books, one of a handful of independent bookstores in Salt Lake City, agreed to take on 3 copies of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire-- basically because Richard Frost is an awesome guy and was willing to try selling a self-published novel by a local author.
Today I dropped by the store to order in something, and, although Richard wasn't in and an employee was handling sales, I couldn't resist snooping around in the YA section for Confessions.  I couldn't find it.
I went to the salesgirl and placed my order for Connie Willis' All About Emily.
Her: "Shafer?  Did you used to work here?  I know that name."  (I thoroughly expected her to tell me she'd once been my student.  That happens a lot.)
Me: "No.  I'm just in here a lot.  You've probably seen me before."
Her: "Known Richard forever?"  She smiles.
Me: "I used to go to the shop when it was over in Foothill and his parents owned it.  I remember being about three and looking at records there.  I can't even remember the first time I met Richard."
Her: "Maybe that's why I know your name."
Me: "Could you also check for me: Richard had some copies of a book he was trying to ---"
Her: "Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire!!  You're THAT Shafer!  Yes, I sold all three of those to a lady."
Whoa.  Fame.
Some lady bought three copies of my book, and this salesgirl remembered the title AND me from the book.
I had hoped that maybe one copy might be sold by now -- if that.  But Richard had sold out.
The girl and I left a note for Richard to see if he wanted to try a couple more copies.
And the girl's reaction to my name made me feel like a celebrity.  :)  (Even if it was only 3 copies of the book....)

To Include An Excerpt Or Not To Include An Excerpt: That Is The Question

So, over the weekend I finished the edits from 3 readings of the first proof of All in the Half-Vampire Family, the sequel to Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  As soon as Max and I can fix the cover issues, I'll be ready to order a new proof to see if there's anything else to edit.
With Confessions, it only seemed natural to include a little "teaser" of HV Family.  After all, the latter was the sequel.
But what about putting a snippet of my next book, Becoming Brigid, at the end of HV Family?  It is the next thing that will come out, and I want to get people interested with a little hook.  But, on the other hand, it has nothing to do with Eric or even vampires.  It's a book about Celtic mythology and travel into different time periods.
I've got a three-page excerpt ready to put in the end, but do I do it or not?  What do you think?  Is it okay to have a little commercial for a completely different book at the end of this one?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

42-- A Little April Fools' Day On Goodreads Today

I actually loathe April Fools' Day, but I do enjoy a bit of literary humor.  So, for all you Douglas Adams' fans, here's the Goodreads bit of April Fooling for today:

Today, we'd like to spotlight our newest open position:
Hyperintelligent Pandimensional Mice
Goodreads, a US Top 150 site and the 10th largest social networking site in the galaxy, is seeking Hyperintelligent Pandimensional Mice to take charge of the Goodreads Recommendation Engine, the third greatest supercomputer in the Universe of Space and Time designed to answer the Ultimate Question of What People Like to Read Next. Qualified mice should be comfortable analyzing the mind-boggling 20 billion data points of reader likes and dislikes recorded in the Goodreads catalog to calculate the staggering improbability of reader interest in any given book.
Note: We will also consider qualified dolphins for this position.

Required Skills:

  • Proficient with SEP fields, bistromath, and complex functions involving telephone numbers.
  • Knowledge of the Great Hyperlobic Omni-Cognate Neutron Wrangler operating system.
  • Ability to predict personality problems to ten decimal places.
  • Quick learner, must be able to pick up frighteningly elegant new technologies quickly.
  • Experience with protrusion into other reading dimensions a plus.
  • Must carry own towel.

We Prefer Applicants Who:

  • Are not prone to panicking.
  • Come equipped with own Babel fish.
  • If cybernetic, come loaded with pleasant GPP.
  • Know better than to muck about in hyperspace.

About Goodreads:

  • Our environment is highly supportive, friendly, and mostly harmless.
  • We are the galaxy's largest site for readers, froods, and book recommendations.
  • Our mission is to help people find and share books they love. Along the way, we plan to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the galaxy.
  • Great location: Our office in downtown San Francisco, catty-corner from the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, is always stocked with cheese and an infinite supply of ballpoint pens.
  • Our office culture includes a Brockian Ultra Cricket league, frequent trips to Disaster Area concerts, and regular Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster happy hours.
Please submit your résumé. You can also submit the following additional information now, or if you would prefer, later in our interview process: A code sample and a paragraph or two about why you want to work for Goodreads. For a limited time, we are offering state-of-the-art digital watches as a signing bonus. Don't wait, come sass us today!
Apply now! And please spread the word to any qualified candidates.

A Book Club Is Now Featuring Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire

A former student of mine (now past 30 years of age), Heidi, just contacted me through Goodreads.  It seems she's got a book club going, and one of her former classmates, Richard, suggested they read Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  A few other former students from that same group or close to it in age, Amy, Erik, and David, are joining in to read my book.  And they invited me to join them.
(Hey, I guess having the author show up at your book club meeting is kind of interesting -- even when that author is really just your former English teacher.)
This is so cool.  I feel so famous.  It's still an honor, even though they're just doing it because they all know me.  (Okay, and because they know I used to make them laugh when they were kids, and I bet they're secretly hoping the book will still make them feel that way.)
Personal note to Richard: the book does indeed contain a reference to poodles.  I dare you to find it.  :)