Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Among The Self-Righteous

Living in Utah means that one often has to deal with self-righteous people.  It also means dealing with lots and lots of subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) sexism.  I was stunned when I moved to Scotland and found how differently I was treated as a woman there as opposed to here.  When I returned home, I promised myself to stand up to and point out those who perpetuate both these evils -- and this has occasionally made people angry over the past few years.
One of the things that has touched off some folks was the creation of the character of Zane in Becoming Brigid.  Zane is a self-righteous, sexist control freak who functions as one of the main antagonists in the novel.  I have worked and worked and worked to get his character "just right."  And this has caused problems with a few beta readers and others who heard about the character.  I've been told by various women that "no one is really like that" and that "men in Utah don't act that way."  Well, obviously there are plenty of men in Utah who don't act like self-righteous, sexist jerks (and there are plenty of women who do and don't; it's not just a guy thing), but it is not at all rare for a guy to act like my fictional Zane, and last Valentine's Day gave us a mini-news event that surprised a lot of people in the US -- but probably not too many people from Utah.  The fact is that everyone in Utah really knows someone like Zane.  In fact, I'd like to think that the anonymous jerk in this news article was actually Zane.  :)  It's exactly something he would do.  (And to all those who tell me that Zane is "unbelievable" in the future, I will reference them to this little event.)

Anonymous note criticizing woman’s attire goes viral

A note given to a female student at BYU on Valentine’s Day has received a massive amount of attention throughout the United States and beyond.
Brittany Molina, a BYU junior majoring in accounting, received a note from a male student in the Tanner Building while waiting to attend a meeting. Contrary to her first guess, it was not a love letter. The note said her outfit had a negative effect on other people and she needed to consider the Honor Code each day while dressing.
Molina said although she did not want the story to get out nationally, she still thinks it is good for people to know this kind of thing does happen at BYU.  She said she has received many online messages from other female students at BYU who had similar experiences.
"I don't think it's right for boys to call out girls in front of people or in a rude manner, because it isn't going to do much," Molina said.

My sUpER sKetCh outfit. He's going to bear his testimony next week about how he stood up for truth and justice.
A university spokesperson said over the phone the university has chosen not to comment on this matter.
Here's another post about  the "virtuous Valentine enforcer."

Compare the preceding "real life" event with a scene with Zane's confronting Pepper in Becoming Brigid:

“I don’t like clothes with bare shoulders,” he told me, not budging from the doorway.  It was like he was trying to force me to stay inside.

He was acting even worse now than he had when he was hanging up the flyers.  
The hairs on the back of my neck rose up, and I could feel blood flowing to my face.  Over my dead body was Zane going to force me to change clothes.
I put my hands on my hips and narrowed my eyes at him.  “Well, good, because this’d look terrible on you,” I told him.  “But since I’m the one wearing it, it’s nothing you have to worry about.”
Geez, what was his problem?  Did he actually think he couldn’t control his lust-hormones when he saw naked shoulders?  He certainly hadn’t given me the impression he was drooling over me.  

Unrealistic? I never thought so, and I REALLY don't think so now.  My icky, controlling character Zane could just be a guy from BYU and fit right in.  :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #13

Every week, Carmi, a journalist who blogs at Written Inc, posts a photo theme.  This week's theme is "greyish."
On my blog, we turn Carmi's theme into a game.  I find a photo that fits his theme, then I choose a title of a story that might fit his theme and a single line from that otherwise unwritten story.  After that, it's your turn to create a title and a single line of your story to fit the photo.  Some weeks, people get really creative.  Here's one from a couple of weeks ago that was fairly popular, if you need to see some examples.
So, ready to go "greyish"?
Here's my photo:

My story title is: Unsaintly
My single line is: Bobby held my hand tighter and whispered, "Is that a door at the end?"

Okay, it's all yours now.  Give it a try and play along -- a title and a single line from a story to "match" the picture.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Let Me Introduce You To One Of My Favorite Authors: Pat Walsh

In the sidebar of this blog is a list of living authors who particularly impress me.  Today I'd like to introduce you to yet another one of these amazing writers.  This time, it's Rae Carson, author of The Crowfield Curse and The Crowfield Demon.

I am absolutely in love with the world that Walsh has created here.  She takes real history from 1347-48, uses meticulous research, and then adds in fantasy elements.  The main character is William, who is a servant boy at an abbey.  But he has special powers that draw dark magic to him -- even though he is himself a good person.  The books contain evil fay, hobgoblins, a king of the forest, a witch, an angel, and a demon.   Oh, and a pig with more personality than some people I know.
These are books of high adventure, with magic and battles and wit.  Friendship and loyalty are underscored here.  If you're looking for romance, these are NOT the books; these are YA books that are actually written for teens, not for adults.  (Of course, this particular adult enjoyed them very much.)
Carson is also trained as an archeologist.  How cool is that?  Here's what she says about herself:
When I was nine, I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist. I’d come across the word in a book about dinosaurs and was thrilled to realise you could actually dig up dinosaurs and get paid for it.  I abandoned the dinosaurs when I discovered Vikings, and I’ve never looked back. I spent summers and school holidays working on digs, took an archaeology degree and spent most of my life since then working as an archaeologist. However, I’ve always been a writer. My first book, written when I was twelve, was an epic tale of a Viking raid on a small island off the coast of Ireland. Stories of ghosts, hobgoblins, more Vikings and High Fantasy followed. I’ve had short stories and a short supernatural novel published, and my first novel for children, The Crowfield Curse, was published by The Chicken House in the UK on January 4th, 2010. The second book in the series, The Crowfield Demon, was published on April 4th 2011.
Have a junior high school student in need of a good book?  Maybe you should introduce her/him to Pat Walsh and the Crowfield series.  And maybe you should read it yourself.  :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Your Opinions Wanted On Blurbs For Becoming Brigid

Next week, I hope to sit down with Max and get a book cover (both back and front) ready for Becoming Brigid, a YA novel which I hope to have ready to publish by autumn of 2012.  However, I'm still having a little trouble with the book blurb for the back, the part to hook readers in.

My target audience is girls 14-17.  The book deals with a girl who has her life completely planned out for what she thinks she wants: a stable marriage, lots of kids, and not anything that focuses on developing herself.  In other words, she thinks she wants what women have been told is best for them for centuries: taking care of men and children and letting her own dreams die ("like a raisin in the sun").  But then she is forced out of this way of thinking by a mysterious "dark man," who seems to be rather more than human.  He watches her, waits for opportunities, then tries to kill her -- several times.  And each time he is pleased to find that he fails.  By the end of the book, the protagonist has not only realized that she is not who she thought she was, but also that what she really wants out of life is far different than what she's been conditioned to think she wants.  (In other words, she's going to be herself first and let all other roles fall into place as they will, not crush out her dreams and her sense of self.)
That's what's going on in the book, but when it's said the way I just said it, it becomes a lecture and not entertainment.  Hence, the book has a good deal of mystery, the supernatural, and humor thrown in.  There's a hint of romance, too, in this one (unlike my vampire books, which feature a boy too clueless to handle much romance).  Many of my ideas for this came from Celtic mythology, and the plot and relies upon that in several spots.
Here's where I need your help!  Please let me know which of the following two "hooks" or "blurbs" you think would be most likely to make you -- or anyone else -- pick up this book to read more.

Here's blurb #1:
Pepper Kircy is a girl with plans for the future.  In six years’ time, she wants to have a handsome, golf-playing husband, a degree in nutrition, and thousands of followers in the blogosphere.  She's not about to let anything ruin her plans.  Not her geeky, ghost-hunting father.  Not living across the street from a mortuary.  Not even the fact that she wears a "nearly-A" bra.

But Pepper never planned on Dougal.  Too short and probably too old to be future husband material, he has an irritating knack for interfering with her future -- and her past.  And he insists on calling her by the name she’s never used in her whole life.

But he quotes poetry and calls her a goddess.

Dougal’s tempting.  Tempting enough that Pepper can’t get him out of her dreams.  So, in spite of all his weird talk about mysterious portals and the Stone of Odin, she could really like this guy.  Maybe even enough to change her precious plans.

If he just stop trying to kill her....

And here's #2:
What if, at sixteen, your plans for the perfect future were being ruined by the fact you'd never been on a date before?  And what if the perfect guy you had in your sights was turning out to be a real jerk?

What if your geeky father believed you could see ghosts?  But what if the mysterious man who walked straight out of another world wasn't a ghost at all?  And what if he wasn't what you'd dreamed up, but he recited poetry to you and called you a goddess?  What would you do?

What if he told you that everything you knew about yourself -- even your own name -- wasn't really who or what you thought?  Would you believe him?

And what would you do if he tried to kill you?

What if he couldn't?

Please let me know if the comments section if you prefer one or the other of these -- or if you think they're both crappy.  Help!  I need input.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Good Few Days To Be A Half-Vampire (Author)

My goodreads giveaway ended yesterday.  (The winner was a 19-year-old girl in Georgia.)  Contrary to the lack of enthusiasm shown by blog visitors about my giveaway here (with 4 people signing up to win so far), a fair amount of enthusiasm was shown on goodreads, as 742 people signed up to win my book.  That's rather cool, I think.  Plus, 153 of those people put the book on their TBR lists.  This gives me hope that I might sell a few books from this.  Perhaps I might hope that, say, 10 of those 153 might buy a copy of the book or e-book. (Perhaps some of them already have; I've sold 9 e-books in the US and 2 in the UK since the contest started.) But, at any rate, 742 people were interested enough in the book to become aware of its existence; that is something.
Yesterday was a good day for book sales for me, too.  I sent out a mass e-mail at school saying I had a couple of copies of the book if anyone wanted to buy one (I thought I might sell two or three copies in a month.), and I was sold out in 15 minutes, leaving 4 teachers disappointed.  (Yeah, I'm ordering more copies this weekend.)  So, before school even started that morning, I had to send out another mass e-mail announcing that the books were gone.  That led the librarian to decide he needed another dozen copies for the library, if the teachers were that interested in reading it.  So, since I found I'd sold four e-books yesterday as well, that means I sold 19 books yesterday.  That's pretty good for an unheard of author who's produced something that is not paranormal romance.
So, it was a good book day for me.  :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Free Stuff: Win A Copy Of Half-Vampire + Swag!

Contest Now Closed
Yes, I've decided to have another contest.
Here's the deal: I want more blog followers.  Yes, I love you all who are here.  But I have fewer than 3 dozen of you as I type this.  And free stuff tends to bring people in.
Thus, I am offering a physical copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire plus a tee shirt (you can choose size small, medium, large, or extra large only) to a lucky winner anywhere (yeah, I'll ship it to New Zealand if Alexia wins) to one winner.
Click here to read about Half-Vampire.  The tee shirt is 100% cotton, black, with a red "blood splatter" and white ink proclaiming "Just another average half-vampire" on the front and my name plus the book title on the left sleeve.  The kids at my school think these are very cool, so chances are that other teenagers may think so, too.  (I hope.)
Here's what you have to do: 1) make sure you are signed up to follow this blog publicly, and 2) comment on this post before the Ides of March  (That's March 15th, if you're not up on your Shakespeare.)
You do not have to give me your e-mail address now.  I'll ask the winner for that information on March 16.  You also don't have to tell me your tee-shirt size now.
That's it: follow the blog and tell me you want to be in the contest by commenting.
Easy?  Sure thing.
(Yes, you may enter if you won the last contest for the e-book.  Yes, you may enter if you are already a blog follower.)
Oh, and if any of you feel so inclined, please feel free to tell your own blog readers to come over and sign up for the free stuff.  I'd love to have you direct folks over here!

UPDATE 2/23/12:
I'm getting a few people commenting on the tee-shirt design.  I keep forgetting that not everyone knows that tee-shirts are second nature to me.  My father spent his career years as a commercial artist and had the first (and for a long time, the ONLY) silk-screen printing company in Utah.  I grew up with the concept of designing tee-shirts.  Hence, while I am not an artist myself, I understand what makes a good tee-shirt design.  Fortunately for me (and for the school where I teach, as we're always ordering something), the graphic artist at my favorite silk screen shop now (since our family business was bought out years ago), recognizes my eye for color and catchy designs, and he is always able to do what I cannot: use a computer to put my design into a film positive.  (Look, folks, in MY day, clip art was actually clipped out of books -- if Dad didn't actually hand draw the artwork himself -- and we used typesetter's photography -- that was my job -- for the lettering, then shot the film positive with a huge camera -- also my job.  All of this is now done on a computer, but the rest of the printing process remains the same as it was decades ago when Dad first started.)  Thus, the shirt design idea was mine, based, of course, off the book cover (which I designed and photographed, but Dad helped with the placing of the lettering, as he has a better eye for such things), but the actual making of the film positive and the graphic you see here were by Zach Romero at Creative Graphics.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #12

And here we are again to play Tuesday's writers' game!
Every Monday, Carmi, a journalist and photographer who blogs at Written Inc., has a photo theme.  And every Tuesday, I select one of my photos to match his theme, then I turn it into a game.  (You don't have to be a writer to play; it's very simple.)  I choose a title for a story that I think matches the photo and add a single line from the story, in the very shortest of flash fiction.
Then it's your turn to add your title and your single line in the comments section.  We usually get 5-6 people playing, but everyone's welcome to join in.  Just be creative!
This week, Carmi has chosen the theme of "curves."  Here's what I picked:

Here's my story title: "Elvis Has Just Left The Building"
And my single line: "You mean, you really CAN play these things backwards to see what they say?"  Linda asked.  "I always thought that was just a joke!"

Your turn now.  What kind of story does this 1960s portable record player conjure up in your mind?  Add a title and a single line of your story in the comments section.
Here's last week's game if you want to see how it works (or make a comment there).

Monday, February 20, 2012

Let Me Introduce You To One Of My Favorite Authors: Steve Hockensmith

I often focus on young adult books on this blog because that is what I write, but it's not the only type of literature that I read.  So, let me introduce you to a very clever mystery writer, Steve Hockensmith.

I love a good mystery.  And I love Sherlock Holmes.  I'd never been a particularly big fan of westerns, but, honestly, who can resist a punny title like Holmes on the Range?   I read it, and I was hooked.
The premise is that there are two redheaded cowboy brothers, nicknamed Old Red and Big Red, who are introduced to the Holmes' story "The Red Headed League," and Old Red decides he wants to be like Holmes.  The only problem is that he's illiterate, so Big Red has to read him everything while he learns.
Hockensmith has a whole series of these books out now, and each one seems more clever than the last.  I am a true addict and will continue to gobble them up as fast as this man can write them.
If you enjoy either westerns or mysteries, you ought to give these a try.  But be warned: they are NOT YA and are not suitable for more sensitive youngsters.
Drop by Steve's website and have a look for yourself.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Hamlet -- The Playlist

One of the creative projects I often have my GT kids do for a book is to create a playlist for either the book as a whole or else for the main character.  When I first dreamed up the assignment a few years ago, before I'd ever tried it out on a class to see how it worked, I decided to create a playlist for Shakespeare's Hamlet, just to see how it would go.  I chose songs for the action of the play and songs for various characters and put them more or less in order of when the songs would be appropriate during the play.
I'd forgotten about this playlist for quite awhile until I ran across it again a few days ago, so I'm presenting it to you now in its entirety.

Oedipus Rex Tom Lehrer An Evening Wasted With Tom Lehrer
Does Your Mother Know? ABBA Thank You For The Music #2
Her Majesty The Beatles Abbey Road
Killer Queen Queen Platinum Collection
Maxwell's Silver Hammer The Beatles Abbey Road
When I Get Home The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
A Worried Man The Kingston Trio The Essential Kingston Trio I
Yesterday The Beatles Help!
One More Angel In Heaven Andrew Lloyd Webber Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Tainted Love Soft Cell 80s Pop Culture #3
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away The Beatles Help!
Stop! In The Name Of Love Diana Ross & The Supremes America's Top 10: Motown's Greatest Hits
Run For Your Life The Beatles Rubber Soul
Help! The Beatles Help!
Show Me The Way Styx  Come Sail Away: The Styx Anthology
Madness (Is All In The Mind) Madness Madness
Queen Of Hearts Juice Newton Hot Tracks 1981
Happiness Is A Warm Gun The Beatles White Album I
Time For Me To Fly REO Speedwagon The Hits
San Francisco (Flowers In Your Hair) Scott McKenzie America's Top 10: The Folk Years
Where Have All The Flowers Gone? The Kingston Trio The Essential Kingston Trio II
Good Riddance (time of your life) Green Day Nimrod
I'm A Loser The Beatles Beatles For Sale
That'll Be The Day Buddy Holly
Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting Elton John Greatest Hits 1970-2002
We're Not Gonna Take It  Twisted Sister 80s Pop Culture #5
Don't Stop Me Now Queen Platinum Collection Rock
Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word Elton John Greatest Hits 1970-2002
Good Night The Beatles White Album II

What are your thoughts?  Did I leave out any obvious songs for Hamlet, Gertrude, or Ophelia?  What songs should I have included for Horatio?  Are there any songs where you can't figure out why I included them?
Your turn: Name a song you'd put on a playlist for MacBeth, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer, or Othello.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Different Perceptions: How Advertisers Want Women To Think Men Perceive Us vs. How We Are Actually Perceived

Yesterday I went to Frost's Book Store in Salt Lake City, as Richard Frost, the owner, had agreed to try selling Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire in the store.  And indeed, I was most pleased with his interest in and response to the book itself.  It was most gratifying to have him go through it, making various comments loudly and drawing the attention of everyone in his small store.  What a nice guy.  :)
But there was a moment when I first walked into the store that inspired the title for this morning's post.  As I had the day off after the torture of parent-teacher conferences, I had washed my hair (rather a project, considering the length of my hair) about an hour before going to the store -- and the scent of conditioner may still have been lingering about me.  Plus, just before getting in the car, I had rubbed a little lotion on my hands: Bath and Body Works Midnight Pomegranate, to be specific.
I walked into Frost's and up to the counter.  Richard stood up to greet me, as he knew I was bringing copies of Half-Vampire, and he was curious to see what one of his most long-time customers had written and published.  And suddenly, he said the oddest thing to me.  "You smell good."
Completely unaccustomed to having men compliment anything about me except my intelligence, I was more than surprised.  I took a step back initially, but then stretched out an arm for Richard to sniff at the back of my hand.  "Is it this?"  I asked him.
He agreed that it was, and I apologized for the strength of the smell -- for no one should be able to smell lotion from three feet away.  He acknowledged that if I'd just put it on, it was understandable that it was so strong.
Now, here's where the funny part comes in.
See, the folks at B&B Works advertise this scent as silky, brooding, and sexy.  Just look at the design on the tube of cream; it has deep purple flowery images, suggesting night and, hence, sex.
Now, I know better than to think that that was the image I was conjuring up for anyone.  I could only imagine that I was merely portraying the woman-wearing-too-much-scent image.  But Richard's response proved that both my concerns and all the research and development B& B Works has put into the product to be wrong.
"It smells good," he said.  "It makes me think of Sweet Tarts."
Somehow, I don't think that children's candy matches the seductive image the company had in mind for the product.  There is nothing sexy about Sweet Tarts.
Fortunately, his honest remark made me feel a lot better about my overly-scented hands, and I stopped stressing about them.  (But I'll make sure not to put that stuff on immediately before going anywhere ever again.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Friday Update On My Little Corner Of The Universe

It's been a week, people.
Monday was normal.  But Tuesday I worked from 7:00 until 8:00 (seriously with barely time to use the restroom: all but 7 minutes of my lunch was taken up with lunch supervision assignments and dealing with confiscating a cellphone; my consultation period was jammed with hall supervision duties and two loooooong parent meetings; we had an academic game right after school; we had it cleaned up by 4:20; and I made a restroom run, crammed the sandwich I didn't have time to eat at lunch down my throat, grabbed by stuff, and made it to the gym for parent-teacher conferences only 5 minutes late at 4:35; and afterward it ended I still had to research the new topic for next week's academic game).  Wednesday I worked from 7:00 to 7:00.  And Thursday I felt like I was leaving school "early" at only 6:45.  I had less than 5 1/2 hours of sleep per night all week.
I feel like death warmed over this morning.
However, things are moving along brightly with Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  (Yea!  Happy thoughts.)
I planned to announce a new contest this week, but I just couldn't even find time to make the post, so we'll have a new contest next week.
At Goodreads, as of this typing, 75 people have added my book to their TBR lists and 292 people have signed up for my giveaway.  That's cool.
Meanwhile, over at Amazon, I've had five new reviews (and four of those were 5-star!) posted for the book this week, so that's good.
Sales are okay.  This month, since the release of the paperback, I've sold 4 e-books, 26 paperbacks through Amazon, 3 paperbacks to Frost's Bookstore (an independent bookstore in Salt Lake City), and one just on my own.  I still haven't been paid any royalties yet from either Kindle or Createspace, so that's not very exciting.
Interest at school is very high.  It's extremely gratifying to have the librarian, two library aides, and seven teachers all reading my book at once.  And the kids are going nuts at having to wait until March for the library to release it!  (It's our March book of the month for a contest.)  I keep telling them, of course, that they're welcome to BUY the book, but I don't teach in an area where money is plentiful, so most of them  can't/won't do that.  The kids who are in the school Kindle club, however, are lording it over the others because they've already read the e-book version.  Funny.
So, I'm tired but pleased.  And I'll pull together my thoughts and announce a book and swag giveaway on this blog for next week.
Happy Presidents' Day weekend to all my US readers!  And happy 4-day weekend to all my teacher friends who survived Parent-Teacher Conference week.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #11

And we're back again with my 11th version of my writers' game!
Here's how we've been playing lately: Carmi, a journalist with a blog called Written Inc, posts his weekly photo theme for the week.  I then choose one of my photos that I think fits that theme and post it here with a story title and a single line from a story that might have been inspired from the pic.  Then it's your turn.  You create a story title and give a single line from your unwritten story that goes with the picture.  It can be any genre you want, from steampunk to romance, from dystopia to paranormal.  It can even be dystopian steampunk paranormal romance if you really want.
Here's a sample from another week so you can see how it works.
Ready to play?  Here we go.

Carmi's theme this week is "pairs."
Here's my photo (yes, I really did take this shot -- from about 3 feet away.   And, yes, they're real.)

My story title: In The Museum
My single line: But why, she wondered, did the one skull have such perfect dental work?

Okay, your turn!  Come up with a story title and a single line, then post it in the comments section to share.  (Besides, what better way to begin Valentine's Day than with a pair of human skulls?)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Let Me Introduce You To One Of My Favorite Authors: Rae Carson

Some of you may have noticed that I have a list of authors' websites in the sidebar of my blog.  Today I'd like to introduce you to one of these fine folks, Rae Carson, the author of Girl Of Fire And Thorns.

I was captivated immediately by Carson's style and the world she created in her debut novel.  The setting and all the people feel so very real, and the plot has many twists and turns.
Best of all, it is NOT a book about a wimpy girl waiting for a guy to save her -- or worse, a book about a wimpy girl trying to decide which of two hunky guys she should allow to save her and later reward with sex.  (Oh wait.  Did I just describe Twilight?  Gosh, I think I did.  Imagine that.)
Nope.  It's a book about a girl becoming a woman and learning to fight her own battles.  It's a book about a girl who learns that she can solve problems without waiting for a guy to save her.
Of course, along the way, we have battles, conspiracy, magic, spies, intrigue, and romance.  Totally cool.  I loved it.
Oh, and the princess starts out fat.  I kind of wish she'd stayed fat, just to make the book different from all those books that show that only pretty girls win in the end.  (Wouldn't it be nice to see a fat, ordinary looking girl kick some butt and win fame and fortune for a change?)  But Carson does have a very interesting blog post on misogyny and women's body image here.  It's worth a read, so click on through.
Fortunately for us, Girl of Fire and Thorns has sequels.  Unfortunately, the publisher is one of those that believes that stretching the books out over three years is a good thing.  (It isn't.  People lose interest and/or forget what the earlier books are about.  Lots of folks give up on a series rather than go back and re-read the earlier books they've forgotten.)
So now you know a tiny bit about Rae Carson.  If you've not yet taken the time to read her debut novel, visit your local bookstore or library and find the thing.  It's awesome.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Announcing Another Contest!

Stay tuned!
On Wednesday, I'll begin a new contest with a free book and vampire swag!
In the meantime, you can still sign up for a free book on Goodreads.  Just click here.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I'm Giving Away A Paperback Of Confessions Of An Average Half-Vampire On Goodreads

I've listed Half-Vampire as a giveaway on Goodreads.  As of 6:00 this morning, exactly one hundred people have signed up to win and thirty-three of them have marked the book as "to read," so this has definitely been a good way to get some exposure.  If you'd like to enter to win, click on the link below.  (Or you can skip the wait, go over to the sidebar of this blog, click a link, and buy the book on Amazon immediately.  That works, too.)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire by Lisa Shafer

Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire

by Lisa Shafer

Giveaway ends February 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #10

It's Tuesday!
And that means it's time for our weekly writers' game, wherein I post a photo to fit the theme chosen by Carmi, a photographer and journalist who blogs at Written Inc.  I also give you a title and a single line of a story to match the photo.  Then it's your turn.  You post comments giving your own suggestions for titles and single lines from the stories you create based on the pic.
Last week was a tough one, and not too many people played along.  But here's one from two weeks ago that lots of people liked.  It'll give you an idea of how we do this if you're new to it.
And you don't have to be a writer to play.  Max tries this nearly every week, and he's a math teacher.  (Most of his ideas are really great, too.)

Okay, Carmi's theme this week is "groceries."    I stretched it a little to mean "something you can buy in a grocery store."  Or at least "something you could buy in a grocery store 30 years ago."
Here's the photo:

My story title:  Popping Through Time
My single line of a story:  Jimmy grasped the candy tightly in his hand; the Pop Rocks tasted normal, but the package didn't look quite right to him.

Your turn!  See if you can come up with a title and a story line to match the photo.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Big Announcement: Half-Vampire Is FINALLY Available In Paperback!

Lurking in the nuclei of a few rare human cells is an as-yet unstudied gene. It is a gene that makes the inheritor crave mammal blood and faint in bright sunlight. It is a gene that prevents the bearer from appearing normally in digital or mirror images.
It’s a gene that makes your life heck if you’re in junior high and trying to fit in.

Eric Wright is a half-vampire with a problem. Several problems, actually. He can’t tell his bloodlust from his rollercoaster adolescent hormones. The cutest girl in first period English wants him to become a vegetarian. And the assistant principal suspends him when he refuses to explain why his skin appears translucent in a school security video.

Then Eric’s non-vampire mom, who’s definitely not telling everything she knows, takes him with her on a business trip. To Scotland, where it never stays sunny for very long. The perfect hang out for a vampire. Or several. If only Eric can find one to talk to before he makes any more stupid mistakes....

I finally decided I was going to live with the one misplaced comma and one incorrectly capitalized word and just approved the ms for publication on Saturday, February 4, 2012.
As I type this, Amazon has not yet finished the page for the book and has not yet put up the product description -- but perhaps that will be fixed later today.
Also, while the e-book version has 7 reviews and a small list of books people have also bought while shopping for my book, the POD paperback has only the one review that I asked Tempppo to copy and paste over from the e-book page -- and it looks rather forlorn.  Any of you who have a moment to click the "like" button, please do so.
This was a TON of work, and I'm proud to have it finally finished.  It'll be fun to see a bunch of copies in our school library also.  :)
So, if you'd like to buy a book, you can go here and buy the POD for $9.99.  Or you can still click here and buy the e-book for 99¢.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday Humor, Courtesy Of My Four-Year-Old Neighbor

Church was rather depressing today, due to the fact that a woman announced her terminal cancer to all of us in public.  Yes, it's sad, and yes, she probably needs the emotional support, and yes, I am sorry to hear this news.  But it was still a downer.
Enter O., my pre-school neighbor, to save the day.
O's mom, J., has her hands full all the time with this little guy.  And today, as she came into the door to the overflow area, her younger baby bundled into her arms, she paused and looked for O.  She went back into the foyer just as he made his entrance through the main door of the chapel, somersaulting in silently and standing up with a flourish to his admiring audience.
It was hilarious.  And exactly what we needed.  :)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Best Ever Quote On Polygamy

Polygamy -- or rather, polygyny, but most people misuse the word -- is a sore spot for most Mormon women.  It's often discussed and re-discussed and blogged about.   Just this week I found this superb quote by a blogger who goes by Winterbuzz on feministmormonhousewives:

"...if we find out someday that Warren Jeffs has it right, I’d rather have tawdry talks with Oscar Wilde in hell for all eternity than have sex with Warren Jeffs, even once. I’m good, thank you very much."

Friday, February 3, 2012

I'm A Skunk!

No, it's not the year of the skunk (because there isn't one), but Martin, one of my loyal readers, has honored me with another award, this one for "people who make us feel and smell better."
Here is my award:
I'm supposed to tell one thing I like about myself and then pass on the award.
Okay, I've always liked my intelligence.  Even as far back as elementary school, I realized that I thought it was better to be smart than to be pretty because being smart lasted longer.  :)
I'll pass this on to Max and to Tempppo, as both have been my real-life buddies for a long time, Tempppo especially.  (Do you realize you've been my friend for almost half my life now?  Wow.  And for you, of course, the percentage is higher.)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Announcing The Winners Of My January Contest

On January 16, I announced a contest wherein I was giving away 2 e-copies of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire to blog followers who commented that they'd like to be entered.  Among the throngs of people who entered (yes, all four of them), the greater percentage (75%, as in three of them) followed the rules.  Thus, from the depths of my generosity, I'm going to award ALL who followed the rules to enter with an e-copy of my book (which means I'm giving away three copies instead of two).
(I could really make use of a sarcasm font about now.  Have you noticed?)

So, Brigid, I have an e-mail address for you.  Is that the one to which I should send the e-book?
Michele, if you would be so kind as to post a comment with your preferred e-mail address, I will not publish the comment but will use it to send you the e-book.
And, Tempppo, if you'll decide which niece gets the book, warn her to expect said book and make sure she has an amazon account, then give me her e-mail (as you obviously have my e-mail address), I will send off the free book to her.

Thanks, everyone, for entering.  And thanks to those of you who bought the book and didn't wait to enter.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The First And (God Willing) The Last

They both arrived today in separate boxes, even though I ordered them a weekend apart from each other.
On the left is what I most certainly hope is the FINAL proof copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire, as I've gone through waaaaaay more proofs than I ever wanted to see in my lifetime.  On the right is the very first proof copy of All in the Half-Vampire Family.  I can already see some spots where the cover needs work (Max, we'll have to get together again on this one), as it has weird white stripes on the spine (you can sort of see that in the snapshot), and the back cover needs smaller type and a larger margin.  Fortunately, the front looks pretty dang good, I think.
I most certainly hope to be announcing the sale of my POD of the first book within a few days (fingers crossed).  I'll let you know.  Believe me; I'll let you know (as I've been working to get to this point for over 8 years now, and I've been blogging about it here since August).
In the meantime, I will be following my plan for the second book.

Jade Varden Has Reviewed Half-Vampire On Goodreads

Check it out here.
Thanks, Jade!