Grab Your Halo

I don’t mean the cute little oranges.

Today, I had a BookBub promo start for She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things.

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I love a lot of things about this story, and I hope new readers will love it, too! But I don’t just want them to love this story.

I’ve blogged before about the seeming weirdness of paying to give your book away for free to folks who’ve never heard of you. But that’s the point. Because they’ve never heard of me, maybe they’ll take a chance on a free book, discover they like it, and then buy my other books. Francis Guenette called it “the halo effect”, and it’s real. Book sales do blossom under its effect.

But there’s another reason to buy my other books – the ones that aren’t free. It’s time for my fall/winter fundraiser. For several years, I’ve donated all or part of my royalties spring and fall to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, with some matching donations from friends. To date, I’ve donated over $1500 to them.

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Last year, I discovered another charity, Pets of the Homeless. I researched this because one of my novels, Cast Me Gently, released October 2015, featured a homeless man with a dog. Last year, thanks to a matching donation from a friend, we were able to send a check for $700 to Pets of the Homeless.

Around the holidays, a lot of people remember food banks and food pantries. Churches host Thanksgiving dinners and make up food baskets for needy families. I know there’s never enough to go around, but they get way more help now than they do in the spring when schools are letting out for the summer.

So, I’m going to make Pets of the Homeless my fall/winter recipient again. I will donate all of my royalties from now until the end of December to Pets of the Homeless.

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(Source: people2people.com.au)

So now, grab your halo! Do something great for a terrific organization. Buy any of my books, give them as gifts (did you know you can gift e-books with just an e-mail address?), build up your To Be Read pile a bit more, and help me help homeless folks who aren’t just taking care of themselves, but a four-legged companion as well.

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(Source: Pets of the Homeless)

Pets of the Homeless helps with food donations, emergency veterinarian care and surgeries. Some of the stories are heartbreaking.

Your support is really very much appreciated.

Peace and full bellies to all.

UPDATE: For those of you who have already purchased all of my books (thank you so much!) but still want to help, you can donate directly to Pets of the Homeless HERE. They also have a list of donation sites around the country where you can drop off pet food, leashes, beds, etc.

Fall Update 2014

There have been a few bits of good news to share recently – some book-related, some not.

For those of you who read my earlier blog posts, Some Days (part I and part II), I wanted to give you an update on “Brian”. His surgery for his pancreatic cancer went as well as could be expected. The doctor feels he got the whole tumor. Pancreatic cancer, though, is a nasty type of cancer. No one can say Brian is cured or in remission, but this was truly good news.

This morning, the finalists for the Rainbow Awards were posted, and She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things was listed in the Lesbian Contemporary Romance Category. You can see the full list HERE. To celebrate, I’ve placed She Sings on sale for $2.99 at Amazon and Smashwords.

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Year of the Monsoon received a wonderful review from Lesbian Reading Room HERE.

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I’ll keep you posted here about the Rainbow Awards and other announcements. Thank you for reading!

She’s Singing!

Well, it doesn’t happen often that everything falls into perfect alignment, but today, it has. I woke up this morning to the news that In This Small Spot has been named a finalist in the 2014 Golden Crown Literary Awards in the Dramatic Fiction category. Considering the high level of quality in the nominations this year, that feels especially gratifying.

As thrilled as I am by my novel having been chosen as a finalist, I remember all too well how crushing it is when a book doesn’t get chosen. Author Clare Ashton (author of Goldie winner After Mrs. Hamilton) made a point on a group we both belong to that writing for writing’s sake vs. writing for sales and recognition is a sliding scale. I think she’s right. We write because we’re driven to, but after the euphoria of seeing that first book in print, there is an element of validation that comes from external things like sales and accolades. The hard part is not losing focus on why we write in the first place.

To that end, I am also consoling myself that Neither Present Time did not get named a finalist in the Contemporary Romance category. There were 65 entries in that category! Holy moly, that’s a lot of romancing goin’ on! But there were a LOT of really fine books in that category, so I can’t help but congratulate the authors whose books did get named as finalists.

We write because we have to… and so, I am announcing the release of my newest novel, She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things.

proofSHE_SINGS3The e-book is available now at Smashwords and Amazon and will soon be available at Bella. The paperback should be available in a day or two.

I hope you enjoy this story as much I enjoyed writing it! For the back cover blurb, go to the Books page of this blog. For an excerpt, go to Winter’s on the Wing.

 

Bellissima!

I wanted to update you on a couple of bits of good news, including the unveiling of the cover of my newest novel.

First, I am very proud to announce that my books have been accepted for inclusion at Bella Distribution! For those of you who don’t know, Bella, in addition to publishing their own fantastic lesbian fiction books, runs a distribution site listing books by other lesbian fiction publishers – kind of a one-stop shop for the finest books. If you click on that pretty Bella button in the sidebar, it will whisk you away to their site. So far, Miserere and Neither Present Time are available there as e-books, but within a couple of weeks, all of my books – both paper and e-book – will be available through Bella. I am tremendously grateful to them for this opportunity to work with people who have been doing this publishing thing way longer than I have.

As for the other bit of good news, we now have a cover for my soon-to-be-released novel, She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things!

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I think I gave poor Patty Henderson a daunting task with this cover – the long title made it challenging to find the right image and still leave room for all those words, but I think she did an outstanding job! I have been delighted with every cover Patty has done for me, and each time, I think, “This is my favorite!” – until the next one.

So, please, browse Bella’s site for your shopping pleasure, and if you happen to buy one or two of my books while you’re there, it would be the icing on the cake!

I’ll keep you posted as the release date for She Sings draws near. For an excerpt, go to my last post, “Winter’s on the Wing”.

Winter’s on the Wing

“Winter’s on the wing, here’s a fine spring morn…”

That line from the soundtrack of The Secret Garden is especially appropriate for a couple of reasons. This has been one hard winter. We had snow on the ground continuously from the first weekend of December through the first week of April, which is pretty rare in these parts. We can’t complain too loudly, though. We didn’t have it nearly as bad as a lot of other folks in different parts of the country. The grape hyacinths and daffodils are blooming…

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But the sycamores still stand like skeletons against the spring sky.

The other reason that line from The Secret Garden is apropos is that it ties in so well with the pending release of my next novel, She Sings of Old, Unhappy, Far-off Things, due out in early-mid May. I got to play with many of my favorite things in this book: Jane Austen, The Secret Garden, Wordsworth, the Biltmore House and Asheville, North Carolina.

Our local university’s music theatre department recently staged a production of The Secret Garden by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon. It is, hands-down, my favorite musical of all time. If you’ve never seen this musical, you really, really need to. It’s more of an opera, as nearly the entire show is sung. I have memorized the soundtrack. The music is hauntingly beautiful and complex as many of the numbers have three or four characters singing simultaneously. Norman and Simon expounded upon some of the themes Frances Hodgson Burnett touched upon when she wrote the novel – the longing for loved ones who have passed away and the healing power of nature, but they also introduced the pain of unrequited love and they brought to life the power of a woman’s love – as a wife and mother.

In this newest book of mine, gardening and nature’s power to heal figure prominently. I, myself, am not a gardener. My back hates nearly all tasks associated with gardening: bending over to weed, hauling and spreading mulch, kneeling or squatting to plant or rearrange things. My partner and our closest friends all love gardening, however, and I realized as I wrote this book, that I’ve absorbed more information than I knew, just from listening to them and accompanying them on visits to public gardens and nurseries.

The cover is being worked on now, and I’ll share it as soon as it’s ready, but in the meantime, here’s the blurb and a link to an excerpt. I’m trying the link thingie as opposed to just copying and pasting the excerpt because I’d love for you to have a chance to see the beautiful work my formatter has done to help bring this book to life. I don’t know about you, but a good book is more to me than just the words – it’s how it’s all put together.

 Back cover Blurb:

Margaret Braithwaite was a rising Regency scholar and an acclaimed author. Thirty years later, she’s a one-book wonder, a fifty-something college professor with the dubious distinction of being an expert on Jane Austen, hidden in the shadow of her famous husband and his Civil War novels. “Too young to retire, and too old to start over,” Margaret feels as dried up and dead as the neglected gardens her husband took such pride in before he became ill.

Wyck Fitzsimmons is the Asheville landscape architect Gavin Braithwaite hires to restore his precious gardens to their former glory. She learned a long time ago that plants and trees are safer and more reliable companions than other people.

Under Wyck’s care, the gardens begin to come back to life, but the flowers aren’t the only thing blossoming. For the first time in decades, Margaret feels the stirrings of love, but those long-buried feelings frighten her more than the prospect of withering away alone in her ivory tower of academia.

Gavin, more observant than most people give him credit for, sees the attraction developing between his wife and his gardener. Using every means at his disposal, he arranges things so that Margaret has no choice but to remain faithful to him, even after death.

Margaret, confused and faced with losing everything that offers her any kind of security, flees to England – to Austen and Wordsworth country – where she tries to forget Wyck and all the feelings she has awakened.

Back in North Carolina, Wyck must come to terms with her own past and somehow find a way to forgive before it’s too late to make amends.

Love, it seems, can take root in even the most barren hearts, if only Margaret and Wyck can find the courage to let it grow.

Click here to read the excerpt: She Sings_excerpt