Saturday, March 31, 2012

My Amazon Author Page

I updated my author page at Amazon yesterday, so now it picks up my tweets.  Fun, eh?
As soon as the school librarian and I can find five minutes when we're both not horrendously busy, we're going to upload the book trailer for Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.
In the meantime, here's a link to the page.  Check it out and click the "LIKE" button, will you?  :)

Friday, March 30, 2012

I've Joined Pinterest

Do you do Pinterest?  If so, please follow me.  I'll follow back.  :)
At the moment, I've just barely started, but I have great plans to pin ideas for books.  I'm especially excited to work on the fashion board for my newest protagonist, Nerissa MacKay.  Come and check that out; she's got THE most eclectic style ever!

Here's where to find me:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easy Things You Can Do To Help Out A Newbie Author (Me)

You all know I self-published the YA book Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire, right?  Well, sales are a little sluggish (like, I'm not going to be retiring to Bermuda any time soon).  You can help me out, if you'll be so kind.

Got an Amazon account?  Cool.
Click here and here and give that "LIKE" button a click for me, will you?
If you have another few seconds, you could click here and go to the five-star reviews of my book and click "yes" they were helpful on some or all of them.

Got Facebook?
You could put a link to this post and ask your followers to click and LIKE away.

Got Twitter?
You could tweet this post and ask followers to click and LIKE.
You could also ask them to follow me:!/@lisamshafer
I'll follow back. :)

Got Goodreads?
You could friend me.  That'd be nice. :)  Just click here.
You could also add my book to your TBR list and give it lots and lots of stars.  :D

Feeling REALLY generous? You could go here or here and actually BUY a copy of the book..... (HINT, HINT).

Also, if any of you who are authors would like me to return clicks and LIKEs for you, let me know.  I'll be happy to swap favors here.  :)  (And, yeah, I buy and read self-published books as well as traditionally published ones.)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #17

And on Tuesdays we play a writers' game!  (Or at least I do.  Some of you join in.)
Here's how it works: Carmi at Written Inc posts his photo theme for the week.  Then I choose a photo that goes with his theme, post it here, and write the tiniest little flash fiction ever: a title and a single line of a story that goes with the photo.
Here's an example so you can get an idea or two.
This week, Carmi's theme is "Branded."

Here's my photo for the theme:

Story title: Extreme Body Art
Single line: "What do you mean that last tattoo was 'too tame'?!!" Mother screamed as Martin pushed his way out the back door toward the shed.

*evil chuckle*  (Yeah, I actually took this photo JUST so I could use that storyline today.)
Your turn.  Create the story behind the photo.  Then give us your title and one line from the story.
The comment box is open.  Play on, dear bloggers, play on.  :)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Let Me Introduce You To A Fellow Blogger/Author: R. Mac Wheeler

The first thing I noticed when visiting Mac's blog is the incredible volume of what he has written.  It seems like every time I drop over to see what's happening on his blog, he's got a new novel ready.  (Okay, that was hyperbole, but still....)
The second thing I noticed is that he takes lots of photos.
Naturally, as I'm always stressed for time, I had to wonder how he fit all of this in.  So I asked.  And he responded in a mini-interview:

 can't help but notice that you enjoy photography, and I think some of your photos are really very well framed and artistic.  Does this way of looking at the world (through a lens, framing scenes) influence your writing style at all?  And if so, how?

I’ll frame this thusly *laugh* My anal personality (former nit picking project manager) most influences my eye and writing. I figure we don’t build the view and sense of the reader/viewer. It is our detail that enables the reader/viewer to create that for herself. Even if she doesn’t notice the detail manipulated into the fabric of our creation, we are successful if the reader/viewer can sense being there.

Also, you seem to find time for family, dogs, photos, blogging, and writing LOTS of books.  I am very impressed with the amount of writing you do.  Do you schedule your writing time?  Or do you merely snatch moments of it whenever possible?  Put another way, how on earth do you find time to write so much?  

I’m a fulltime writer. I treat it as a seven to five job. I’ve cut back. It used to be seven to midnight. All of my activities are holistic to my sanity. My three pups take turns under my desk. I schedule outings to keep them young (and by default gives me some exercise). The blogging and photography is embedded in the evolution of my brand, and it interrupts my creativity just enough to keep me fresh.

If that hasn't caught your curiosity yet, how about some of his vibrant new covers?

Here's a link to his blog.  Go on over, admire his dog pics, look at his books, and then go buy one.  :)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Could There Possibly Be A Punnier Title?

I know that cozies generally have punny titles, but this one takes the cake!  (I couldn't resist!  Sorry.)

I've got to get ahold of a copy of this.

I Ought To Try This More Often

No migraine and I got 8 1/2 hours of sleep last night!
I've already done laundry, folding laundry, tidying up the kitchen, making the bed.  I'm ready to take on the  world!
Or at least the rest of the grading I have to do before the deadline at 8:00 AM Monday.

New Winner-- Cassandra

Vampire Angel has had a week to contact me, and she has not.
I am therefore naming our first runner up, Cassandra, as the new winner of a copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire and a tee shirt.
Cassandra, please leave a comment with an e-mail address (won't be published) so I can get tee-shirt size and address info from you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

This Just Brightened My Day

I've been battling a migraine since 1:00 AM today, and I was just heading off to bed (8:00 PM) when I checked my e-mail and found a twitter message had been directed toward me.
It was from Eric.  The REAL Eric on whom I based Eric Wright in Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire nearly 9 years ago.
You see, I joined twitter over the weekend, and, since they freakin' MAKE you follow 15 people just to register, I found my blog buddy Max, and through him my former student Chris (who also makes cameos in Half-Vamp, as he was the inspiration for the character Tim), and through Chris, I found Eric -- and signed up to follow him.
I hadn't sent him any tweets, but I soon noticed he'd signed up to follow me, so that was nice.
Then, tonight there was this:
 Not only did I just buy your book on Amazon earlier this week, I was literally collecting vials of sheep's blood at work today.
He works in a lab doing AIDS research, so he's not kidding about the sheep's blood.  But somehow this just amuses me to no end this evening.
Sheep's blood. *giggle*
Irony abounds. :)

Vampire Angel, Are You Out There???

You won the tee-shirt and the copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  Please comment with your e-mail address (I won't publish the comment) so I can contact you to get your real name and mailing address.
If I don't hear from you by March 24, I'll announce another winner.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Win A Book + Swag -- Breath of Eyre

Eve Marie Mont is releasing Breath of Eyre very soon, and she has an awesome giveaway going on right now.
You can check it out here:

Or you can ignore it so that I have a better chance of winning! (*evil chuckle*)

This Made Me Laugh

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #16

The great and wise -- or at least entertaining -- Carmi at Written Inc posts a photo theme every week.  Here on this blog we take it one step further and turn it into a writers' game.
Carmi's theme this week is "lights on."  So, I will post a photo that fits that theme, then add a title and the single line of a story that fits the photo and the theme.  After that, you get to have a go at it in the comments section.  Here's a link to last week's game so you can see what I mean.
Ready to try it?  Here we go:

Title: In The Lighthouse
Single line:  "But now, Dr. Wizzenspart, if you will just step back while I flip the switch, I think you'll find the modifications I've made to be quite interesting."

Okay, go for it!  Add your own titles and single lines to match the photo.  I can't wait to read what you come up with.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Cool News!

Last week one of my students told me my book was now in the Salt Lake County Library System.  As I use the city system instead of the county system, I had not been aware of this, but I looked it up, and, sure enough, he was right!
The book -- as of this writing -- is on order for the Herriman Library, but it already has five holds on it!  Yea!!

Also, last Tuesday, our English department head at my school informed me that my book was much better than most of the crap she's seen put out for YA lately, and so she began the process for the district's official novels committee, which -- if all goes well -- will put my book on the list of books acceptable to be taught to whole classes in our school district.  And, if nothing else, will perhaps at least perk the curiosity of a few more teachers who see the book on the list.  :)

Yes, as an English teacher, I certainly get strange ways of getting publicity.  Really, most self-published authors don't really go the same routes I'm going: school libraries, public libraries, and official school district novel lists.  But, hey, whatever works, right?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Best. Ad. Placement. Ever.

So, today as I drove to visit my brother and nephew, I passed a banner that read "Hang up before you drive."
Now, I most certainly agree with this, but it was the placement of this banner ad that was most effective.
It was strung up between two graves in a cemetery.
(No, I am NOT joking.)
Total win for making people think -- and maybe even stop texting long enough to drive.

Vampire Angel, You Need To Contact Me To Claim Your Prize

You won the tee-shirt and the copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  Please comment with your e-mail address (I won't publish the comment) so I can contact you to get your real name and mailing address.
If I don't hear from you by March 24, I'll announce another winner.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I Just Joined Twitter!

Yes, I'm going to try yet another way to avoid grading papers spend time online.  (Maybe someday I'll even join facebook -- but their lack of security bothers me.)
At any rate, if you'd like to follow me on twitter, I'm @lisamshafer.

And The Winner Is.....

Since the latter part of February, I've had a contest going wherein blog followers could enter to win a free paperback copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire and a tee-shirt.  My goal was to get some new followers, and that worked, as 21 new people joined in.  Yea!
My very first giveaway on this blog attracted no one.  Not a single person signed up.  THAT was depressing.  The second time, only 3 people signed up.  But this time, I got 20 entries, a slightly less embarrassing number.  Thanks to everyone who entered.  (Yes, we'll have another one in a few weeks, so don't despair if you didn't win.)
Now, I hate rafflecopter and all those silly programs that say they ensure randomness.  I don't need a program to ensure randomness; I teach junior high.  There is NOTHING more random than a junior high kid.
Hence, I printed out all the names of the entrants on a paper and took it to school.  I explained the need for randomness to the kids and asked them to initial under their choice for the winner.
Some of their methods were wonderful.  :D
One girl said she'd choose either #3 or #9, depending on which she liked better.  One boy said he'd choose the most mythological sounding name.  Another said he'd count backwards 26 letters from the third name on the right and vote for whichever name he landed on.  One girl (a Douglas Adams' fan) said she'd count the names to reach 42 and choose that name.  Another boy said he'd choose the most boring name.  Another girl decided to vote for the name that shared the most letters with the word "cupcake."  And one 9th grade girl chose Tom because that was the name of her favorite of her mother's ex-boyfriends, the white guy who had dreadlocks.
See what I mean?  It just doesn't get any more random than that assortment.  Every name got at least a couple of votes, and there were three names with a whole slew of votes.  But the final winner was chosen at the end of the day, and that winner is

So, Vampire Angel, congratulations!  Please put your e-mail address in a comment for this post (I won't publish the comment), and I'll contact you to get your mailing address and tee-shirt size.
You have one week to contact me or else I'll announce a new winner.  (The kids picked two runners up, so I will go from there.)
And thanks again to everybody who entered.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Contest Closed

The Ides of March contest is now closed.
The winner will be announced Saturday, March 17.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Last Day To Enter The Book + Tee-Shirt Giveaway!!

This is the last day.  If you'd like a chance to win a paperback copy of Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire plus a spiffy tee-shirt that proclaims your own (half) vampirism, make sure you're a follower of this blog, then click here to comment and enter.
Tomorrow I'll take all your names to school and let my 7th graders choose who wins (which will depend totally on their mood and hormone levels.  It just doesn't get any more random than that, folks).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #15

And it's Tuesday again, so it's time for our weekly writers' game, in which Carmi (at Written Inc.) picks a photo theme, then I choose a photo, give it a story title to match, and offer a single and (I hope) tantalizing line of the story.  Then you do the same so we get a whole string of flash fiction relating to the photo in the comments section.
Here's last week's game so you can get an idea of what it's like.
For this week, Carmi has chosen "watery" as his theme, so here's my photo of choice:

My story title is: Killer Koi
My single line is: "Oh no!" Leslie shouted to me, looking in horror at her hand, which was still covered in bread crumbs, "My engagement ring is gone!"

Your turn.  Think of a story to match this watery (and fishy) photo.  Then post your title and a single line in the comments section.
C'mon in!  The water's fine!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Innocuous Post

About 20 minutes ago I made a thoughtful and humorous post making a political point.
Then I realized it'd probably PO a few people and lead to vicious gossip where I least need it.
So I am replacing it with this innocuous post.
Look!  A bunny!
It's cute.  And it's apolitical.
It's safe.

(I'm going to bed now.  If you know me personally -- Max and a few others -- and want to read the deleted post, e-mail me and I'll send it to you.  It was hilarious.)

Let Me Introduce You To One Of My Favorite Authors: Gail Carriger

Gail Carriger writes steampunk with a paranormal twist.  How cool is that?

I discovered her Parasol Protectorate series a year or so ago.  I still haven't read the last one yet (Timeless), but I have enjoyed every page of the first four.  Alexia Tarrabotti is such a non-fainting, intelligent, and resourceful heroine that I can't help but be enchanted with her.  Plus, her husband is a werewolf and her best buddy is a campy gay vampire.  Oh, and she herself has no soul.  Gotta love all that.
I notice also that her website indicates Carriger's got two more series starting up in 2013, so there will be more to read.
Really, if you like paranormal with humor instead of teen angst and sparkly abusive, brooding males, or if you like steampunk, you ought to give Carriger's works a try.  I became a devoted fan after only a few chapters.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Things I'm Learning About Amazon Pages

1) Buying a copy of your own book along with other books in order to get your book connected with "customers also bought" doesn't work.  I've done it twice now with my paperback, and the books I bought don't show up on my page or vice versa.
2) Books that you know no one has bought along with your book may show up in the "customers also bought" lists.  Look, I've only sold 64 copies of my paperback through Amazon so far (and a fair number in person, but those don't affect this), and I know who every single buyer is except one.  So, unless that one person bought all the stuff listed in this section, someone at Amazon isn't telling the truth.
3) You know all those other sellers who list the book for cheaper prices and/or used?  They're lying.  I used to be naive and assume that those people who listed that they had copies of books for sale actually had copies of books for sale.  And maybe some of them do.  But, as I mentioned above, I can account for all sales of my paperback except for one lone book.  But there are 7 sellers claiming to have copies of my book available.  And one person claiming to have a used one.  People, there are no used copies anywhere yet except for the ones at my school library.  And six of those seven other sellers are lying.  The book is POD; it's not even printed until you order it.  And when you order it, it shows up on my account.  These resellers are lying their stinkin' pants off.  They don't have copies of the book; they'd have to order them just like you in order to get the book.  Why wouldn't you just order it yourself and save the trouble?
4) The Kindle pages seem to reflect what other buyers are purchasing more efficiently, but whoever links this stuff is slower than molasses in January.  I had a rash of kindle book purchases in February while my book was up for a Goodreads giveaway, but I've only had 2 purchases of the book so far in March.  By the end of February, the "customers also bought" list was 3 books long.  By last Wednesday it was four pages long.  Yesterday it shot up to 14 pages in length.
5) Books in the "customers also bought" list may not really have much to do with the book being sold on the original page.  Of the books listed on the 14 pages with my e-version of Half-Vampire, there are 34 vampire books.  Okay, that's understandable.  There are also a couple of werewolf and angel books and one sleazy dystopia.  Well, okay.  At least these are YA.
And then there's this.
Uh.  Okaaaay then.  Other than the fact that I'm from Utah, I cannot really see where the connection is between this offering and my book.
Oh well.  I'm sure it'll get even weirder as time goes on.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Translating Folksongs

Our school's academic team usually does very well each year, making it into the national competitions held every spring.  We're there again, which means practice times seem endless sometimes.  (We begin practicing in October, and the nationals don't end until late April or sometimes even May.)  The kids spend hours learning everything from time zones in Russia (there are 9 -- did you know that?) to factorials to iambic pentameter to Wikileaks.
Thursdays for us mean practice -- with the buzzer boards -- until 5 o'clock.  Usually, we concentrate on quick answers on Thursdays, and the competition can get fierce.  But I had to stop for a few minutes this Thursday to "translate."
Me: "This is a famous song by Robert Burns, traditionally sung at New Year's Eve."
Student 1: BUZZ.  "Old langzyne."
Me: "That's 'Auld Lang Syne.'  You have to pronounce it right or they might not accept your answer."
Student 2: "What the heck does that mean, anyway?"
So we had a moment while I explained to the kids that Scots is a closely-related language to English, but it's not the same.  Auld = old.  Lang= long. Syne = since.
As several of the kids have me for Spanish as well as English, they had no problem with accepting translations.
But, of course, most people outside of Scotland who sing the song have no freakin' clue what it's really about.  (I've posted on this before.)
Then yesterday, for no reason I could come up with, I found myself humming "Waltzing Matilda."  Realizing I only knew the words to the chorus, I searched through my nearly 7800 songs in iTunes and found only slow, sad versions of the tune, all instrumentals.  So, it was off to Amazon to search through different versions to find one I liked.  At Amazon, as on iTunes, you only get snippets of songs to see if you like them.  And I was getting lines like:

Once a jolly swagman camped by a billabong
Under the shade of a coolibah tree,
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
"You'll come a-Waltzing Matilda, with me."

Um.  Yeah.  Sure, that makes sense to me.
So I finally found a Rolf Harris version (similar to the one in this video) which explains all the Aussie slang in the song.  And guess what: it's not a sad song at all; it's completely silly.

But as I thought about all this, I couldn't help recalling my days traipsing about the globe to do dance festivals in many countries.  For the song that caught the ear of every audience, whether it was in Italy or China or Hungary, was always the song that is most closely associated with the USA.  No, I'm not talking about "The Star-Spangled Banner" or even "America The Beautiful."  I'm talking about "Oh, Susanna."
I've heard that song performed in honor of visiting Americans by Chinese people who'd learned it syllable by syllable until it didn't even sound like words or by nervous Poles who stumbled over awkward and unfamiliar words, words like "The sun so hot I froze to death" or "A buckwheat cake was in her mouth, a tear was in her eye. Said 'I am comin' from the South.  Susanna, don't you cry.'"
And really, folks, if you're from China, isn't a banjo about as foreign as a billabong or cup o kindness?
I'm not against globalization by any means.  I hope that someday our descendants will view the world as one whole place and treat it kindly.  But am a little saddened by the homogenization this brings on, with everyone getting a bit too alike.  And it's comforting to know that some things -- like folksongs -- are still slathered enough with regional charm to require a bit of study in order to appreciate them.
Now then, who'll come a-waltzing with me?  :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Lovely Blog Award

Jennifer has kindly bestowed the One Lovely Blog Award upon me.
Here are the rules:
The rules are:
1. Link back to the person that bestowed the award upon you.
2. Follow the person that bestowed the award upon you.
3. Pass along to 15 Lovely Bloggers!
And I will now attempt to comply (at least partially) by inviting a few other bloggers to claim their blog awards.
1. Karen at Twin Cities Blather because she has so many fun photos.
2. Gilly for the same reason.
3. Cassandra because she's new.
4. Martin because he's given me so many little awards and memes.
5. And Max because his was the first blog I ever started reading, way back in the dark ages.
My apologies to the guys for how girly-looking this award is.  I didn't design it.  I suppose you get to tune in to your feminine side here for this.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I'm Famous (At School Anyway)!

I had no idea how supportive my teaching colleagues would be about having Half-Vampire as a book of the month, but lots of them -- and not just the English department -- have jumped on board with promoting this book.  They wear my tee shirts.  Many of them have bought a copy of the book from me. They offer kids extra credit to read Half-Vampire.
The results?  Kids I don't even know call out to me in the halls and ask me questions about the book.  The librarian can't keep any of his 30 copies on the shelves; they're gone constantly.  The first kids are now finishing the book and taking the test on it to be entered for prizes.  And the library aide and I designed the fun bulletin board you see in the photo.  (It has pics of places Eric goes in the big chase scene down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.  Just click to enlarge it.)
Really, I feel rather famous.
Of course, it's only at school.  But it's still fun.
Kids are begging me to finish All in the Half-Vampire Family, so I'll be trying to get that all tidied up for a release in April.  (I hope.)

Oh, and don't forget to enter my book and tee shirt giveaway going on for one more week!  Just click here for details.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lucky Sevens

Martin has tagged me for a meme, this one about the number seven.
The rules are as follows:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines - sentences or paragraphs - and post them as they're written. No cheating
4. Tag 7 authors
5. Let them know

I have a few problems with these.  One is that my most in-progress work in progress (WIP) is only up to page 73.  (This would be The (Dis)Appearance of Nerissa MacKay.)I had to go to page 67 and proceed with the rest of the directions from there.  Here's what I got:

When the tea was fairly cool, I strained it into a spray bottle and prepared myself for the hardest part of keeping Auntie Jane in a deep slumber: I had to spray it over her without waking her up and getting caught.
     I squirted a little extra WD-40 on her office door, just in case, and held my breath while I opened it.  Perfect.
     I sighed and slipped into the darkness of Jane’s office.  

In this scene, Nerissa has mixed up an herbal sleeping potion to keep her aunt from catching her while she sneaks out to "catch" a "ghost."  Unfortunately, the potion works a little TOO well..... :)

The other problem is that I don't actually know seven authors who read this blog.  Let's see how many I can come up with.
1. Eve, but I think she's too busy to do this.
2. R. Mac Wheeler, but, again, I'm not sure if he's does this sort of stuff.
3. Creepy Query Girl, but her last post just complained that she's too busy.
4. Brigid.  Yeah, I think she'll play along.
5.  Michael, but I don't think he does this sort of thing.  Maybe.
6. Liz, who might play along.
7. And Jo, but she's seems really busy lately, too.
But let's not leave anyone out.  If any of you want to play along with Martin's game, feel free to post about it and drop a link into the comments here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Photo Mysteries: A Writers' Game #14

Carmi, a journalist who blogs at Written Inc, has selected "past its prime" for this week's photo-sharing theme.  Here on my blog, we turn this into a game.  I choose a photo that I think fits the theme, then I add a title and a single line of a story to go with it, in the flavor of The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.  After that, it's my readers' turn to create their own titles and single lines of the shortest-ever flash fiction to go with the photo.
Here's a link to last week's game so you can get an idea.

Ready to play?  Good.  Here we go.

The photo for "past its prime":

The title: Urban Exploring
The single line:  "Go on," he urged.  "I dare you."

Okay, your turn!  A title and a single line to tell a tiny piece of a story to go with this photo.  Go for it.  Comment away.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fifty Followers!

Yea!  Fifty followers as of today!
And twelve of you are new since the weekend.  :)
Welcome aboard, everyone.  I hope you'll stop by and play tomorrow's writers' game with us.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Well, That Was A Good Idea.....

Concerned that not many people had signed up to enter my book + swag contest, I chose about 30 of the 152 people who'd added my Half-Vampire book to their TBR lists when I'd had my giveaway on the goodreads site last month and sent them invitations to have a look at the contest on this blog.
This resulted in my gaining 8 new followers this afternoon.  Wow.  That worked.
Welcome aboard, everyone.  :D
Update 9:00 PM:  Make that 9 new followers.  :)
9:45:  10 new followers.

In update news, my book trailer is finished but not yet available off the school computers, I have decided to try to make Half-Vampire Family available for purchase in April (if my copy editor, i. e., the English department head, can finish marking up her proof copy in spite of her massive yearbook deadline schedule), and I've almost got Becoming Brigid ready to go to proof stage.  (There's that ONE part that's still bugging me.....)  I've also spent time re-outlining The (Dis)Appearance Of Nerissa MacKay because it worries me that I have 2 manuscripts at the almost-ready stage but all the others are still in either outline or first draft stage.  Ugh.  I need to spend more time on the newest WsIP.

Don't Forget To Enter My Giveaway For Half-Vampire + Swag!

I still think it's odd that 742 people entered to win my book on goodreads, but so very few have entered here -- even though these blog posts are fed to goodreads and appear there.
However, that does mean that your chances to win are still very good.
You have until March 15 to enter before my students will choose the winner for me.  Click here to go to the contest post and enter.  
(Do it; you know you want that tee shirt!)

Friday, March 2, 2012

RIP Davy Jones

Most of you know I'm a huge Beatles fan (yeah, 700 Beatles tracks on my iTunes.  No joke.).  But my first touch with celebrities was actually with the Monkees.  (Oh, I have 78 Monkees tracks on my iTunes.) Sure, the earliest recording of my voice was on our brand-new cassette recorder when I was three -- and I was singing "I'm Not Your Steppin' Stone."  But even earlier than that, the Monkees came to Salt Lake City, stopping at KCPX TV for an interview.  Well, it just so happened that my aunt had a high-ranking position at the station at the time.  She called my mom, who scooped up me, my older brother (who was a devout Monkees fan in his grade school years), and a couple of assorted cousins, and we all went down to the station.  My brother had the presence of mind to bring along with him his copy of The Birds, The Bees, and The Monkees.
Yup, the above photo is of the album -- autographed by all four of the Monkees in pink felt-tip marker.  Davy even signed his name with a flower for the dot on the "i."  Aw.  Cute.
So, once upon a time, Davy Jones smiled at me when I was only old enough to blow spit bubbles back at him.  And thus I feel rather sad to hear of his passing at only 66.  Part of my childhood got pinched away this week, and I find myself humming "Shades of Gray" at odd times.
Goodbye, Davy.  Thanks for all the smiles.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another Good Day For The Half-Vampire

Yesterday we had our book of the month launch at school for the March book of the month, Confessions of an Average Half-Vampire.  For all of February, we'd been promoting the book, but the librarian refused to let kids check out the book until March 1, which had the great effect of making them incredibly anxious to read it.  ;)
Yesterday, during the televised school announcements, the librarian talked about how cool he thought it was to have a teacher who'd published a book and had a drawing for 2 autographed copies, then he had me give a "hook" for the book, then he broadcast the book trailer.  This last part turned out much better than I'd expected after all the problems that we'd had.  It took three of us to make it: my photos, my choice of music, my script, the librarian's expertise with computers to put it all together, and the librarian's son to read the narration.  (He's 14, so his voice has that just right boy/man mix to it. Plus, he's involved in drama AND cybercorp, so he's able to handle both the reading and the techy part of it.)
(As soon as I can, I'll get the librarian to help me post the book trailer on youtube and on my amazon author page, but right now it's only available at school.)
And all this worked.  There were 30 copies of the book available for check out in the library this morning when it opened at 7:20 AM.  By the time I was able to mosey down to the library (thanks to my student-teacher handling things in class), only 6 copies were left on the shelf.  Yea!
And my first period class brought a funny show of loyalty.  I noticed a girl with a copy of my book, so I asked, "How many of you guys went down and checked out my book this morning?"
The girl and a boy raised their hands. "Two of you, eh?" I said.
Suddenly, the girl blurted out, "The rest of you are losers!  Go down and get one!"
I laughed.  Then I had to remind her that many of the kids were finishing their ASSIGNED books at the moment.  (But I loved the show of loyalty.)
And things still got better.
In the afternoon, one of the English teachers stopped me in the hall and told me that one of his facebook friends had read the e-book of Half-Vampire and was so impressed that she had notified the Salt Lake County Library system to request that they buy a few copies of the book!  Wow!  Self-published and in a public library!  That'd be cool.
And after school, that same English teacher stopped me again and told me that he and his paraprofessional had been discussing the new book to teach to the upper-level ESL kids in his class, and they both agreed that Half-Vampire should be the one.  So, using his novel budget, this teacher purchased an ESL class set (only 25, nowhere NEAR a real-size class set for Utah, which would be 40).  Plus, he's buying one as well from me tomorrow.
So, while I'm no Amanda Hocking just yet, I'm doing okay as a self-published author for the moment.  :)

PS.  Why is it that 742 people signed up to win my book on Goodreads, but fewer than a half-dozen have signed up to win on my blog?!!!  Go sign up, people!