Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Swag

If you're not a writer, most likely you don't know how important book reviews are to writers. Obviously, it makes a difference to people deciding whether to read your book or not. But reviews affect whether Amazon will suggest a novel to readers, and some book advertisers won't consider a novel that doesn't have enough reviews.

Of course, authors know how hard it is to write reviews. That's why we appreciate the reviews so much--that someone took the time to thoughtfully share their feelings about our books means a lot to us.

I've been thinking of ways to encourage more people to write reviews and give all my readers a chance to have fun. So I came up with the idea of giving away book swag. I currently have 23 reviews of Screwing Up Time on Amazon. If I get five more reviews, I'm going to do a Rafflecopter giveaway that anyone can enter. And I'm going to do the same with Screwing Up Babylon. I have eight reviews on Amazon. Whenever I get five more reviews, I'm going to do another giveaway.

The two items up for the first giveaways are coffee mugs. Here's a photo of what they look like.

Giveaways for mugs are limited to the US.

Here's link for Screwing Up Time if you'd like to write a review. 

And here's a link for Screwing Up Babylon.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Victor Hugo and Me

I got just back from Paris! My husband and I had a wonderful time. While we were there Cal and I went to a restaurant called Le Grand Vefour to celebrate our anniversary. The food was fantastic, and the ambiance was amazing--gilt decorations, mirrors, plush velvet, etc. Interestingly, LGV has been a restaurant since 1784. And it has been a hot spot for writers, politicians, and those spreading sedition (not mutually exclusive categories). Napoleon, Sarte, et al. had their own tables. We ate at Victor Hugo's table!

Here are some photos. If you want to read more about our Paris trip, click "Really, I'm Not French."

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Paris Vacation

I'm sorry I didn't get a post up on Tuesday. But I'm in Paris!!

My husband and I are celebrating our anniversary.

Here's a photo to enjoy.

The Shakespeare and Company bookstore is just around the corner from the apartment we're staying in.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


If you’ve read Screwing Up Babylon, you know that a sandstorm figures in the plot. I loved writing it, but it was a stretch because I’ve never been in a sandstorm. I did a lot of research, Googling sandstorms and watching them online. I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol—amazing movie which features a sandstorm (though that type of sandstorm is highly unlikely in Dubai due to the climate and geography).

My dad watched the movie with me. He used to live in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. (My dad has been everywhere. His travel advice is “don’t ask what you’re being served—it’s hard to eat sheep eyes in sauce when you know that’s what they are.”) In any case, when we saw the movie together, my dad pointed out various spots and gave me all the gossip about them. And the discussion morphed into his experience with sandstorms in other areas. There’s nothing like getting the details from someone who knows what a sandstorm smells like, sounds like, and even tastes like. Even more fun, he didn’t know I was asking him questions for my novel. Then, when he read it later, he found out how much he helped me—it’s like a gift I can give to him. And it’s a gift he gives to my readers.
BTW, the other day, I was reading an article that suggested that readers like to read about the personal lives of the authors they enjoy. To that end, if you’re interested, check out my blog, A Merry Heart, where I talk about the craziness that is everyday life. (For some reason that only the imps who run blogger know, my post on the wolf beater purse got posted here last week as well as on A Merry Heart. So, I guess that’s a sample for you.)

 Here’s a sandstorm.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Purse Buying

The other day, I realized that I had to buy a new black purse. My old one is coming apart at the seams. Bits of stiff wire are sticking out. But this is a problem because I hate shopping.

But, hey, that’s why Amazon exists. So people like me can purse shop from home. I pulled up Amazon and typed in “purses” and hit enter. Then, I discovered that Amazon carries 76,802 different purses. Really.

I don’t have time to look at 100 purses left alone 760 times that number. So I tossed in limiters like black, zippered, women’s, etc. (I had no idea you could buy “man purses.”) Then, I began looking through pages. And pages. And pages. Boy, there are a lot of ugly purses in the world. Rooster purses with heads and tail feathers. Purses with faces of saints. There was even a “wolf beater” purse, which had a picture of a snarling wolf with blood stain teeth and red leather bows on it. Though it may be appropriate for a Goth party, it’s not what I wanted. Not something I’d even dreamt was possible, even in a nightmare.

Eventually, I found regular purses. Except some didn’t have a shoulder strap. Others were the size of carry-on suitcases. Still others had reviews that said, “Don’t buy this—it’s a piece of junk.”

So, I kept looking. I did find some that I liked. But they were too small, only a lipstick tube or a credit card would fit inside. I need space for a wallet, cell phone, migraine medicine (just in case), two red pens and small notebook (you never know when a great idea might hit), and space for a Kindle. (Not completely necessary, but nice if possible. Having a Kindle available helps when I’m at the grocery store and a cashier and customer decide to “visit.” I’m a transplant to the South, so “visiting” seems like a huge waste of time to me. But here it’s done, and having a Kindle keeps me from saying, “Uh, excuse me, let’s move it along.”) Oops, digression. Sorry.

 And because of all those purse needs, I don’t really want a grocery sack of a purse. Purses should have organization compartments. I shouldn’t have to paw through my purse looking for the cellphone. There should be a pocket for it. And for my pens, notebook, migraine meds, etc. No doubt, you see my problem. I’m way too picky.

Eventually, I found a purse. It’s perfect in every way. Lots of pockets, proper size, shoulder strap, black, good reviews. Except it’s kind of ugly. But not as ugly as the wolf beater purse. So I guess I can live with it.

Here's a photo of the wolf beater purse. Okay, it's actually kind of cute in a weird sort of way.

Iron Fist tote bag