My blog post is up at Carina Press. Check it out here: Where the Heart Lies: In Hillsborough, N.C. I’m blogging about why I chose Hillsborough as the setting for WHERE THE HEART LIES, and I’m asking people where they would fall in love if they could. Leave me a comment over there for your chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card.
First off, a note of thanks to everyone who helped me promote Where the Heart Lies on its birthday yesterday. I found dozens of Tweets and loads of Facebook posts from friends and readers. Plus, several people read my book! I really, really appreciate that help in getting the momentum going. Thanks to you guys, check out the most popular book on Carina Press’s website:
That’s just too awesome for words! Thanks to all of you, to the reviewers who stirred up interest, to the Tweeters and Facebookers and Bloggers. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the momentum continues.
On to other business. Not only did my book come out in ebook format yesterday, I barely even mentioned the fabulous audiobook available at Audible.com. You can listen to a sample of it on Audible. It’s narrated by the fabulously talented Kate Udall, who, I swear, reads it with such expression, she actually sounds like the voice in my head when I wrote it. And she even looks like Alicia!
Finally, I’d like to invite all of you to join me again today. I’m blogging about the setting (Hillsborough, N.C.) of WHERE THE HEART LIES on the Carina Press blog this afternoon. I’ll be giving away a $10 Amazon e-gift card to one lucky commenter, so stop by and give me your opinion!
Release day is going well. I have several entries for my NOOK Simple Touch giveaway, taking place at 5 p.m. today (or as close as I can make it), but there’s still time to enter. Just post about WHERE THE HEART LIES somewhere on the web: blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter. Then email me at email@example.com to let me know! I’ll throw your name in the hat for every bit of marketing you do for me. 🙂
A little trivia about WHERE THE HEART LIES: My inspiration for Alicia’s red hair and perfect figure came from my daughter’s Disney Arial doll!
And a tiny excerpt:
She looked amazing in a long black skirt and white silk blouse with her brassy red hair falling over her shoulders. For a moment he had trouble breathing. He’d considered bringing flowers, but he’d known what Penny’s opinion of that would be, and more importantly he hadn’t wanted to do anything that would make Alicia uncomfortable. Confronted by her beauty, however, his fingers felt empty, as if he needed something to offer just for the opportunity to look at her. Was this how Aphrodite’s worshippers had felt as they left their worldly goods at the feet of her statue in ancient Greece?
Tomorrow is the day I’ve been waiting for since I got the acceptance from Carina Press. I still remember the thrill of that acceptance, and every step of the process toward publication of WHERE OF THE HEART LIES has been nothing short of fantastic and enjoyable. Now the day looms…and I’m in the mood to give stuff away!
Tomorrow is all about this blog, right here. I’ll be celebrating all day with excerpts and trivia about WHERE THE HEART LIES. And at 5 p.m. eastern time I’m planning to give away a NOOK Simple Touch to one luck entrant. Want to enter? Mention WHERE THE HEART LIES in a Tweet, on Goodreads, your blog or a Facebook post tomorrow and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can enter as many times as you like (two tweets gets you two entries, etc.). Friends and family of me are still eligible as you guys are my fan base. 🙂
Look forward to seeing you here tomorrow!
It’s now less than nine days to the release of my fourth book (ebook), WHERE THE HEART LIES. I’ve got high hopes for this one. It’s on sale for 99 cents during the month of July, it’s gotten some pretty decent reviews and it’s already garnered a higher sales rank than any of my other books—and that’s just pre-sales. So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to recruit you all to help me sell my book between now and July 16. And to give you an idea of what you’re helping promote, here’s a short excerpt:
Alicia took her time getting ready for bed. Finally, looking at her cleaned, toned, moisturized face and hair brushed to the edge of staticky chaos, she couldn’t put it off any longer. She turned to the bedroom with reluctance. The empty bed looked uninviting. One side was turned down and she focused on that neat triangle of rose-colored sheets against the darker wine-colored bedspread. She closed her eyes and pictured Ty on the other side. “This isn’t how I imagined our first night.”
She climbed into the bed and curled herself into a ball under the thin chenille. The room was warm enough, but cold permeated her body. Or maybe it was loneliness. Ty wasn’t there and never would be again. She remembered the sound of his voice and the feel of his body and let the tears come at last, her shoulders shaking with her sorrow while she tried to keep her sobs quiet so she wouldn’t wake Jason.
After a while, she slipped from the bed to the hall closet and found another blanket. It was an old quilt, probably one Millie had owned when Ty was a child. She held it to her face for a moment, taking comfort from its age and sense of history. Wrapping it around her shoulders, she got back into the bed, pulled the sheet up to her chin and fell asleep.
And one more:
Liam watched her minivan disappear down the road. He sighed and looked at the tiny crushed body in the road, thinking that just a few minutes before, it had been a living, breathing soul. Now it was just a pile of meat and bone.
“That’s the way it goes, my friend,” he said. “One minute you’re trying to find the sweetest patch of clover, the next you’re lying facedown in the road with tire tracks on your back.”
His mind turned to Ty and how death had come for him so suddenly. He didn’t know the details, just that he’d died in Afghanistan. He hoped it had been quick for his old friend. Ty hadn’t been hopping around looking for a sweet patch of clover. Ty had been doing a job, and from what Liam understood, he’d done it very well right up until the end. A hot surge of guilt and self-disgust filled him. If Ty was the rabbit, he was the minivan who’d run his friend down.
WHERE THE HEART LIES is Alicia’s story about love and loss and starting over. And it’s Liam’s story about recovery and forgiveness and finding love. I think you’ll like it. So here’s the deal. On July 16 at 5 p.m. I’ll be giving away a Nook Simple Touch. I just bought one and I love it. It works outside, inside, in the car, just about anywhere you want to read. Plus, you can download the Nook app to your smartphone or computer or tablet and if you bookmark your place on your Nook, you can pick it up on whatever device you happen to have on you. You can literally read anywhere. Plus, if you want to become Nook friends, you can send me your email and I’ll figure out how to input it and we can trade books!
Here’s how to enter:
1. Pin my book cover on Pinterest. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Carinapress.com and many other ebooksellers.
2. Tweet about the July 99 cent sale on Twitter using one of the buy links at the top of the left column of this blog. Tag me in the post @michellegflye.
3. Post a link on Facebook or your blog.
4. Put my book on your Goodreads, Shelfari or LibraryThing shelf.
5. Any other good ideas? Let me know!
For everything you do, email me at email@example.com to let me know and I’ll enter you to win the ereader on July 16. I’ll also be giving away ecopies of all my books and some gift certificates to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so make sure you stop by for the party!
Today I’m at number 3 on the Carina Press “most popular” list. I’d love it if they’d call it a bestseller list so I could call myself a bestselling author, but I think there’s more that goes into the calculating of the “most popular” books than just sales, so… At any rate, I’d love to preserve my status as a popular author, so if you know anybody who’d like a good romance for a great deal, send them my way. You can refer them to the buy links on this site (look to your left), to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or the Carina Press site. Check out the Carina Press most popular books here: Carina Press.
By the way, the term “mommy porn” that’s being used in the media to refer to books like Fifty Shades of Grey is technically incorrect and degrading to both mothers and the writers of erotica. These books are not pornography, and women should not be ashamed of reading them, and I almost feel like this term will make women ashamed of reading what they enjoy. I don’t write erotica, and I probably wouldn’t be much good at it, but I respect the authors who can write it well.
Sorry, couldn’t resist that title. This post is going to be about Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’m on cloud nine right now. People are buying Where the Heart Lies! This is (kind of) a new experience for me. I’ve never had a book up for pre-order before (at least I don’t think so), and my editor just tweeted to let me know Where the Heart Lies, which doesn’t come out until July 16, is the second most popular ebook on the Carina website. Wow! Admittedly, it’s on sale for 99 cents during July, so a lot of the buyers that would balk at $5 plus might be willing to take a leap of faith for less than a dollar. Anyway, if you’re interested in keeping track of my newest book’s progress, you can check out the Carina Press website.
And now on to the actual blog post. Fifty Shades of Grey. Seems like everybody’s talking about it. I actually resisted reading this one for a while, but I eventually realized it’s going to be an important influence on my chosen genre. Plus, people kept asking me what I thought about it. And I kept reading what other people thought about it. And finally I decided I needed to make up my own mind about it.
Let me start off by saying that in no way do I consider this a review, and I hope it won’t influence anyone either to read it or not. That’s entirely up to you. I really don’t think Fifty Shades of Grey is going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but, on the other hand, I can now see why it’s made such an impact.
Let’s look at the book honestly. It’s erotica. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Especially when it’s well-written erotica with a bit of a plot, which Fifty Shades definitely is. Is it a book you’d want your mom to catch you reading? Probably not. Your husband? Maybe. Is it a book you can discuss with your friends? Yes. In a book club? Um…probably not. At a quilting bee? Ummmm…. Leave it where your kids can read it? NO!
Fifty Shades of Grey is knocking down barriers. I classify it not only as erotica but as romantic erotica. My first thought when I finished it was, “Wow, the world has changed when a book like this can make it onto bestseller lists and become a household name.” Remember when you had to search a romance for “the good parts”? Well, there’s no searching necessary in Fifty Shades. Flip a couple of pages and you’ll find a good part. Guaranteed.
My second thought was, “Damn. She cheated.” She being the author, E.L. James. Why do I think she cheated? She didn’t finish the story. At least, she didn’t finish the story I wanted her to finish. In fact, she hinted at answers, led me on until the last page. I followed her heroine all the way through to the end, and honestly, I couldn’t believe the last page was the last page. I even double-checked to make sure my Nook had all the pages. She couldn’t end the damn book that way! No author would do that!
Of course, I knew at the time that the book was a trilogy, but I have to admit, I would have preferred that she cut out some of the sex scenes and finish the damn story I wanted her to finish in one book. I’m not sure I want to wade through two more books to have the questions answered that I want answered. I may, but then again, reading time takes away from writing time and I’m not sure I want to spend it on her books. So there, E.L. James! Take that! I may not buy your other books. You can’t make me!
But I probably will.
And that’s where I realized James succeeded where many others fail in the erotica world (and romance and scifi and any other kind of literature). I care about these characters. Amidst all the sex and bondage and other stuff, she created two characters I actually like. I want them to resolve their problems. I want to know the answers to the questions James raised in the first book. And the only way I can find out how the story ends is to read the other books. At least, that’s the only way I’ll be satisfied. (Ahem.) I could probably find a friend who’s read the books and could tell me how it ends and what the answers are, but I want to get there myself. So yeah, I’ll probably be investing more money in James’s career, helping to send Fifty Shades of whatever right back to the top of the bestseller lists. Even though she cheated, I’m going to let her get away with it.
It seems like my whole life I’ve been writing stuff hoping somebody would pay attention. That’s what we writers do, no matter what we say we’re doing. We write because we have words inside us that need to get out (writing is kind of like belching), but we publish because we want people to pay attention, to give us feedback, to read those all-important words that are, after all, a part of us.
This is why I don’t want to review. Reviews can hurt. As an editor, I read a lot of stuff that just made me want to fall down on the ground and cry, “Why? Why do you think you can string two words together in a coherent fashion? Seriously?” I never did that. I sent rejections that were as kind as possible. If all else failed, I fell back on form rejections, even though I hated to. I never enjoyed the selection process, and I often felt that it sucked a little of my own writing verve away from me with each rejection I sent.
I’ve gotten as far away from that as possible. I limit my editing to proofreading and editing after selections are made. That’s usually fun and writing life affirming. In helping other writers fine-tune their work, I often learn a little something that helps me along the writing path.
What does all this have to do with awesome news that makes me nervous? Well, although I don’t review, I have tremendous respect for those who do stick their necks out there. Some in particular. I recently approached a few of my favorite reviewers to ask for a favor: review my newest book. The very first of the reviewers I approached was Sarah of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. I have read a number of the reviews on this site, and let me tell you, these chicks are not easy to please. I figured if I could get even a C grade on this website, it would be worth bragging about. Hell, if I could just get reviewed it would be neat.
Well, I’m not reviewed yet, but today my editor tweeted me with this link: 3 Must-Read Summer Romances, written by none other than Sarah and listing my book on her “Can’t Wait to Read list”. Sarah says in the article, “While usually nebby townspeople bug me, I’m so curious about this book because of the newcomer vs. longtime resident dynamic, and the way in which the characters struggle with the way other people see them.”
I’m fighting the self-doubt. Are my townspeople intriguing enough and did I address the issues Sarah mentions in a cogent enough way for her to love my story?
The truth is, I know there is no way to answer that. I mentioned earlier that I got one two-star review on Goodreads. That bothered me for about ten seconds, and then I realized, I can’t help the way somebody else reads my book. I can’t help the way it makes them feel, and anyway, aren’t I supposed to have thicker skin than this by now?
To be honest, I don’t know how I’ll feel if a reviewer I really respect comes out and says they don’t like my book. It probably won’t be easy. Which is why I don’t review (and why my Goodreads page is a wasteland). And why I respect the people who do. If it’s tough for me as a writer to get a bad review, I think it’s probably ten times harder for a reviewer to give one. I’m certain the really good reviewers out there put a lot of thought into their reviews, and I respect that.
All I can say right now is, it’s gratifying to be listed as a “must read” by such a reviewer, and I’ll keep you posted if Sarah does review WHERE THE HEART LIES.
Every day I get more and more nervous about the release of Where the Heart Lies. Every book I put out there is important to me in some way. I’ve gotten seven advance reviews on Goodreads so far, all ranging from 2 stars (only one of those, thank goodness!) to 5 stars. Which just goes to show it really is subjective. But at least I know people are reading and reacting to it. That’s better than being ignored!
Speaking of which, the fabulous Crystal of Crystal Reads has just given my book 4.5 stars. Here’s my favorite quote from the review: “I really enjoyed this book!!!” Seriously, that’s what I want to hear. That’s what’s important from every one of my reviews, although I definitely appreciate the in-depth critiques, as well. It’s very, very interesting to find out what people think about my characters and the situations they’re in. But to elicit such heart-felt praise as Crystal gave Where the Heart Lies can only make me smile.
If you’d like to read the whole review, you can find it here: Crystal Reads Reviews Where the Heart Lies. While you’re there, have a look at some of Crystal’s other reads!
…so this is going to be brief. This is my last chance to make any changes before it goes to copy editing, though, so the need to be thorough is pressing. I must put away all my distractions for the time being and get to it. The good news is, it probably won’t take any more than a week to make the editing changes, so here’s hoping I’ll be back soon!