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    Monday
    Jan232012

    Win a signed copy of Don't Let Me Go!

    To celebrate Don't Let Me Go's one month anniversary, I'm giving away a signed copy on Goodreads. You can't win if you don't enter. It's easy! The deadline for entering is February 4. So enter here today!

    Wouldn't it be fun to see DLMG on a billboard one day?

    UPDATE: Congratulations Samantha in Ohio for winning this giveaway! Your book is on the way. Hope you love it!

    Monday
    Jan022012

    How to schedule a book signing and not screw it up

    I'm not terribly shy, but walking into a HUGE Barnes & Noble with thousands of books and poking around the shelves until you find your own is pretty intimidating. Realizing you left your phone at home and can't even take a photo of your book to prove to everyone it's really there is just plain irritating.

    Nevertheless, I came, I saw, and that was the easy part. By the way, that's my local Barnes & Noble to the right.

    Next came the procrastinating.

    I handed my book to someone browsing in the aisle and said, "This is a really good book. You should read it. It's mine." She politely smiled and took the book.

    Then I took a couple more of them off the shelf and moved them to a "Noteable New Paperbacks" table where I felt they belonged and where MAYBE they would stand out a little to shoppers in the wild.

    Then I wandered around the store a bit, hoping to see this young male salesclerk who looked pretty approachable when I came in. When I didn't see him, I decided to leave. It already looked like I was casing the place.

    Once outside, I chided myself for being such a coward. I didn't come this far just to sit on my hands while my book sunk into obscurity, so I turned around and marched myself right back into the store and up to the information booth and asked for the Events Manager.

    When she came downstairs, I introduced myself, handed her a business card with my book on it (a sample I ordered for free from Moo.com [very cute card]), and smiled. She asked if they had my book on the shelf. I said, "Yes. Six copies." She said, "Really. We don't usually order that many titles from a new author. It must have gotten some really good reviews." I said, "Yes, actually, it has."

    The next part is where it gets a little tricky.

    She asked if I'd like to sign the copies. I said I would love to. So upstairs we went to retrieve the four on the shelf, and, um, the two I had moved to another table. "Oh, look!" I said, slightly red-faced. "Here are a couple more right here." (Did I mention the book I handed that lady was back on the shelf? Hmph.)

    Anyway, as I signed the books, she suggested I do a book signing, pulled out her calendar, and gave me the whole run down on what the store would do, what I needed to do, and what to expect. 

    A few minutes later I strutted out of that store like I owned the world. (That might be a slight exaggeration, but at least I didn't feel the need for self-flagellation when I got home.)

    So, based on this ONE experience, here is my list of do's and don'ts when trying to schedule that first book signing:

    Don't be chicken. They want to know you.

    Don't move your books before you introduce yourself. Get a friend to do it afterwards.

    Don't sign your books before (or unless) they ask. That would have been really embarrassing.

    Do bring a bookmark or a business card with your cover and other important info on it. It gives you something to hand them and makes you look legit. 

    Do smile and be friendly (and I suggest confident but humble).

    Do bring the pen you want to sign with or you'll end up having to use one of theirs (in my case, a fat Sharpie).

    That's it! Good luck.

    Oh, and you should really buy my book! It's good. Very good.

    And if you're in the neighborhood, stop by Barnes & Noble at The Woodlands Mall on February 18 between 2 and 4 and say hi. I'll be the one with the pen.

    Sunday
    Jan012012

    2011 wrap up

    I borrowed this list from my friend, Laura at Refuge. Looked like fun, so here goes!

    1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?

    Published a book!

    2. Did anyone close to you die?

    My sweet lab/border collie Sam. We had her nine years. She was a mess, but we loved her.

    3. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

    Consistent, reliable internet service. Truly, this has been a BIG issue in my house.

    4. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

    Completing my next book--Where You Are--and knowing when I finished that I'd grown a lot as a writer. It's coming out in late 2012.

    4. What was your biggest failure?

    Like Laura, it's keeping up with this blog. Ugh. There are just so many hours in a day!

    5. What was the best thing you bought?

    A Macbook Pro for my daughter (a Christmas present). She cried. How cool is that? Usually, the only one who cries when I buy things is me.

    6. Whose behavior merited celebration?

    My friends, who are kind, generous, and open. They've really supported me. And they make this world a better place. And my son, who accepted his gay sister without even blinking an eye.

    7. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

    Republicans. (Sorry if I'm offending anyone.) I don't truly believe that they are all as mean and cold-hearted and ignorant as some of their positions suggest. So I don't understand their rigid adherence to the party line. I still love you guys, but you're making me crazy.

    8. Where did most of your money go?

    My kids spent it. Enough said.

    9. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

    There's a long list this year. My daughter came out. My son started driving on his own. I met David Levithan. My book got a starred review from Publishers Weekly and other outstanding reviews from some pretty big publications. I did some cool interviews, including one with Publishers Weekly and one with my good friend Brent Taylor for Lamba Literary. And I've gotten to know some pretty amazing people on Facebook.

    10. What song will always remind you of 2011?

    "Low" by Flo Rida. I've discovered a deep-seated love of hip hop. Don't know it? Check it out. Come on, you know it makes you want to dance!

    11. What do you wish you'd done more of?

    Read, write, walk. I did a lot of the first two, but I still feel like a slacker.

    12. What do you wish you'd done less of?

    Wasting so much time obsessively Googling my name! 

     

    What about you? 

    Friday
    Dec232011

    A tribute to my gay daughter

    This is how it went down three days ago:

    Me: Anna, is Megan your girlfriend?

    Anna: Yes.

    And there it was. Just that simple.

    It goes without saying that I love my daughter. But I do want to say how very proud I am of her . . . for who she is and for the courage she has shown. And how very proud I am of her older brother who has taken her revelation in stride.

    Here's a photo of my daughter (on right) with her girlfriend.

    I came across this video made by Zach Wahls, the young man who defended his family in front of the Iowa legislature. I think it's beautiful. So if Zach doesn't mind too much, I want to dedicate this video to my own children.

     

    And if you missed Zach's address to the legislature, you can watch it here:

     

    And to my family who are "worried" about Anna. Don't be. She's going to have a great life being exactly who she is! And I celebrate that. Love you, baby.

    Monday
    Oct312011

    NaNoWriMo, here I come!

    I have a soft spot in my heart for National Novel Writing Month. It was their no-holds-barred approach to noveling that got me through that first manuscript, then the second, then the third, then the fourth. Their fearless, playful approach suits me. So NaNoWriMo people, I'm taking the challenge again. See you on the other side!