In honor of National Book Lovers’ Day

It’s National Book Lovers’ Day, and I’m obviously a book lover. Whether I’m writing them, reading them, editing them or cataloguing them, nothing, in my opinion, is better than a book. I love giving books to people, I love finding books for people and I love, love, love when someone gives me a book. There is no better gift.

When I wrote Out of Time, I wanted to express some of the gratitude I feel for those who helped foster my love of reading and books in my acknowledgements. On this day of all days, it feels appropriate to share that here. I hope some of the people who I mention might see them and know how much they meant to me. I hope others who read these acknowledgements will think of those who’ve helped put books in their hands at one point or another. And mostly, I hope we’ll all think about how we might get more books into more hands in the future. Because if you create a book lover, you’ve done the world a huge favor.

From Acknowledgements, Out of Time:

I always want to say something splendid in the acknowledgements of my books. It’s kind of like writing a note in a birthday card, though. If you’re not careful, you’ll write yourself into a corner, but you just have to keep going…

As usual, I want to thank the friends and family who support me and believe in me. My parents and in-laws and brothers and, especially, my husband, Chris and children, Josh, Ben and Jessi (to whom this book is dedicated). And the members of The (most) Flye Street Team. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Strangely, however, with this book, I feel I need to add a thank you to some other people who don’t know me, some of whom are dead now. Maybe it’s because this book, which is so different from others I have written, comes closer to what I feel I was always intended to write. A fantasy that sort of reflects my belief that there’s way more poetry in our prosaic world than at first meets the eye. So a special note of appreciation to the following seems in order.

Thank you to the owners of Highland Books and The Book Nook, where I spent many hours reading science fiction and fantasy books I couldn’t afford to buy when I was a kid. I know you saw me in the corner of your store, but you never once asked me, “Are you going to buy that book?”

Thank you to the ladies of the Transylvania County Library where I “worked” on Saturdays during my teenage years. I know you know I spent a good amount of my shelving time browsing the books, but you never complained.

Thank you to the innumerable science fiction and fantasy authors who have provided me with hours of enjoyable reading. You don’t know me, but I have lived in your worlds, whether it be Pern or Narnia or Middle-Earth…

And thank you to you, my readers. Whether you’re hiding in a corner of a book store or browsing the shelves of a library, or reading on your e-reader, I hope my book can take you somewhere beyond the reality of normality.

Quick Update: What I haven’t done.

You know that moment when you’ve been up all night with your kid who has the tummy bug and you’ve got a splitting headache and all you want is to take a shower and go to bed, but you’re still waiting to see if the Gatorade and pretzels are going to stay down this time?

Yeah. That’s me. Right now.

So I chose this moment to update you on what’s going on in my life. And maybe give you an excerpt from Saturday Love cause I really want more people to go out and give that book some love! It deserves it.

I’ve been staying busy, which technically means out of trouble. My kids’ school libraries are up and running and almost fully staffed by volunteers. I love moms who love books and kids! I’m writing somewhat furiously on Island Magic. This one’s like a maze. I keep hitting roadblocks and having to go back to the beginning. But I’ve got a good feeling about the current track I’m on. And I’ve been doing some other fun stuff like working on a fundraiser for the kids’ school, keeping up with their various practices, etc.

What I haven’t done (and that’s always what haunts us, isn’t it?) is be consistent with my marketing for Saturday Love. As I mentioned before, it really is a good book. And even if you haven’t read Ducks in a Row, Saturday Love is pretty much a standalone novel. So anyway, rather than bore you further with my regrets, here’s a taste before I leave you alone:

Will hesitated inside the front door. He glanced down the hall, knowing his mother waited in the kitchen. His brother and sister paused with him and Will looked at Lisa. “Can you give us a minute?”

Lisa opened her mouth to object, but Patrick jerked his head at the kitchen. “Tell Mom we’ll be there in a minute.” She frowned at him, but flounced down the hallway after a second’s hesitation. Patrick sighed and looked at his brother. “Don’t ask me.”

“I just want to know if she’s okay.” Will heard the note of desperation in his voice and saw it reflected in his brother’s eyes. “Jesus, I feel like a fucking addict.” He turned away.
A moment of silence passed, then Patrick spoke. “She’s fine. I saw her the other night.”

“Did she speak to you?” Will stood with his shoulders hunched, holding onto the old wooden banister that he’d slid down as a child. He could feel a slight nick in the wood beneath his fingers and remembered how it had happened. He’d been playing with one of his father’s knives from the kitchen, pretending to be in a swordfight with an invisible adversary. He’d never intended for the banister to take a hit, but it had. Will remembered how angry his father had been. He wondered how angry he’d be now.

Patrick didn’t seem to notice his brother’s preoccupation. “No. I don’t think she saw me. She was with her husband.”

Will closed his eyes, pain and relief warring in him. I’m glad she and Neil worked things out. It’s the right thing. But God it hurts to think of her in his arms.
Then again, it always had. How in the hell did I manage to fall in love with a married woman? Especially one who was still in love with her husband?

Writer Beware? My thoughts on Amazon’s return policy…and a review. :)

Authors are petitioning Amazon to change their return policy on ebooks, and an unfortunate line has been drawn between writers and readers.

I signed the petition, not because I have a huge problem with people returning my books, but because I see why it was started. Currently, Amazon allows the return of an ebook within seven days of purchase. Readers say it is a fair policy, even if they’ve read the book, if they find the book is sub-par for some reason. And most readers don’t abuse the policy, it’s true. But the fact remains that the loophole is there, and some people will abuse it. Many people won’t even think of it as cheating. Remember back when women used to buy a dress, tuck the tags out of sight, wear it and return it the next day? How many of those women would have been shocked if you’d called them a thief? Most, I’m betting.

Most stores have now put a stop to this sort of practice. My last purchase from Nordstrom’s came with a red tag attached in a conspicuous place which, after removal, rendered my dress non-returnable. Good for Nordstrom’s!

Maybe I feel the way I do about this petition because I do not a have a “borrower’s” frame of mind, which is weird since I have a master’s in library and information sciences, right? But I don’t go to the library on a regular basis now that I don’t work there, and I HATE library fines, so I frequent book stores (and Amazon) instead. I buy my kids books and exchange them at the secondhand bookstore after they’ve outgrown them. I buy myself NOOK and Kindle books. And yes, a few of those have been regrettable. I did not return those.

To the readers I may have offended by signing the petition, I ask that you look at my side of the fence. I am a reader and I am raising readers. I am a librarian, and I believe in libraries. I have no real problem with Amazon’s lending feature, either, although I don’t utilize it. But if you buy an ebook you need to understand something. Whether the author is J.K. Rowling or me, a lot of work went into that book, and if you buy it and return it after you’ve read it, you’re stealing.

CloseUpMagicPersonally, I believe in giving readers lots of chances to read my stuff before they purchase one of my books. That’s why I post excerpts on my blog, have a Free Fiction Page, and have been known to give away books. I currently have four copies of Weeds and Flowers up for grabs on Goodreads, for instance, and I’ve given away four copies of Ducks in a Row over there recently. Over the course of the next couple months, I’m going to be promoting my new release Close Up Magic. I’ll be posting excerpts and quotes and (hopefully) a few advance reviews. I’m going to give you lots of chances to decide if you want to read the whole book before you hit that all important “Buy” button.

And I’m going to be hoping that those who do hit the “Buy” button will take into account that I gave up sleep to write this book. I cursed and sweated and bled on the pages. I endured a lot to bring those voices to life. Don’t cheat me out of the few dollars I earn off each copy I sell.

For an advance preview of Close Up Magic, click here.

In Other News

I was fortunate enough to obtain another review of Ducks in a Row the other day. Steph at Book-A-Holic Anon gave it 4.5 stars! Here’s a little taste of the review and a link, if you’re interested in checking it out:

“…a tragic story in some ways with a glimmer of hope that even at our bleakest moments real love can conquer all.”
Book-A-Holic Anon

Steph is brutally honest in her review that Ducks may offend some readers. And it might. I knew it when I wrote it, but the story wanted to be told. This review might be one of the best I’ve ever read of one of my books, because it was honest, blunt and to the point. And beyond that, she really got what the book was about. The above quote sums the story up perfectly. I love it when a reviewer really understands where I was coming from because it means I did my job as a writer. Thank you, Steph, for giving me that moment.