Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guest Sandra Parshall

Today, my guest is Sandra Parshall, a member of Sisters in Crime, who has a psychological suspense series out. I had a chance to catch up with Sandra and ask her a few quetions. Here is what Sandra had to say:

Sandra, thank you for stopping by my blog and visiting with us today.

EE: I see you were born and raised in a town about an hour from where I am presently living (see, I was born overseas and have chosen to live in the south since my father's retirement, leading us to Laurens, Anderson and Honea Path). I also see you live in the D.C./Virginia area now. Have you lived other places? If so, which is your favorite place to live and why?

SP: I lived in West Virginia for several years, then Baltimore, and my husband and I lived briefly in London before we came to the Washington area. I’m happy right where I am, in lovely McLean, VA, just across the Potomac from D.C. I love the country and mountains, but I don’t want to live in an isolated place. Washington is a beautiful area that offers the best of everything. Except traffic. The traffic is probably the worst in the world, but no place is perfect.

EE: Your "pecan pie" story was written after a vivid dream. Do you attribute that to too much pie, too much molasses, or too many pecans (you know too much of a good thing isn't good for you)?

SP: In this case, too much of a good thing turned out to be very good for me. During a restless night after my overindulgence, I dreamed of two little girls clinging to one another, outdoors in a thunderstorm, the younger one crying for their mother. The image wouldn’t let go of me, and over the next few months it became The Heat of the Moon, my first published novel. Regardless of what else I write, I think that will always be my favorite book.

EE: What is your writing area like - messy or organized? Do you write in total silence or do you listen to music while writing?

SP: My desk is messy. Very messy. Now and then I clean it off, just to prove to myself that there a desk does lurk under all that paper, but it quickly reverts to its natural state of disorder. I’m always vowing to reform and become a neatnik, but of course I never do. I prefer to write in total silence. I wish I could get that message across to the cats and the UPS delivery guy.

EE: Which writer inspired you the most to write the type of suspense/thrillers you do? What were your favorite books to read when growing up?

SP: I read all kinds of stuff when I was growing up. I was insatiably curious about the world and was reading terribly serious adult novels like Crime and Punishment at a young age. (Yeah, I was a weird kid.) I never read the Nancy Drew mysteries, though, and still haven’t to this day. My interest in reading mystery and suspense didn’t develop until my late twenties, and it took me a long time to summon the courage to write in the genre. My first book was heavily influenced by Thomas H. Cook’s writing, and Ruth Rendell’s masterful plotting of her psychological suspense novels is the ideal to which I aspire.

EE: You have a new book coming out in the next couple of weeks. Tell us a little bit about it - is it another in your Rachel Goddard series or is it a new series you are working on?

SP: Bleeding Through is the fifth Rachel book. A lot of readers have asked me to revisit the events of The Heat of the Moon and resolve the conflicting emotions Rachel and her sister Michelle feel toward Judith, their mother. This book is for those readers, but at the same time it’s a tangled mystery of the kind I love to write. While Deputy Tom Bridger, Rachel’s fiance, launches an investigation of the murder of a young law student, Rachel has to cope with an unexpected visit from Michelle. Her own husband doubts Michelle’s claim that someone is stalking her, and she turns to Rachel for help. The stalker is real, and when he follows Michelle to Mason County he also widens his attention to include Rachel. Several storylines come together in this book, and Rachel’s life is changed forever.

EE: What is one piece of writing advice you would pass on to future generations of writers?

SP: Write from your heart, and remember that most people read for character and emotion, not plot. They might pick up a book because the plot sounds intriguing, but if they don’t connect with your characters quickly, they won’t stick with it. I realize that some stories, such as techno thrillers, are plot-driven, but even there I believe you have to give a reader characters who feel like living, breathing people – characters who will make the readers feel something.

EE: Where is your dream vacation spot and why?

SP: I would love to go to China and spend a week volunteering at the Bifengxia panda center, where my beloved Tai Shan lives now. The chance to be among the pandas in the gorgeous mountains of central China sounds like an ideal vacation to me.

Again, thank you for being on my blog today and I wish you much success in all your writing endeavors.

AUTHOR'S BIO: Sandra Parshall is the author of the Rachel Goddard mysteries, which Library Journal has praised for “edge-of-the-seat suspense” and Kirkus has described as “fast-paced, chilling, and compulsively readable.” Her first novel, The Heat of the Moon, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her latest is Bleeding Through, due out September 5. A former member of the Sisters in Crime national board, she remains active as administrator of the SinC members’ listserv. She lives in Northern Virginia with her journalist husband and two cats.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Educator's Life: What Do Writer's Write?

As you all know, I've been participating with Mr. Hughes' class (previously only 6th grade) during the writing time.  This year, they are doing rotations of classes so Mr. Hughes has the 4th, 5th and 6th grade for writing.  If you are writer, how about stopping by Mr. Hughes' blog and leaving your own ideas of what writers write in their journals.  See you all in the postings - E :)

An Educator's Life: What Do Writer's Write?: I knew this year was going to be different. Becoming the dedicated writing/LA teacher for the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes was an exciti...

Monday, August 20, 2012

This and That

Got so wrapped in reading books on my new tablet and working that I forgot to post my report yesterday. Guess it's better late than never - lol.

No online sales this week across the board - kindle, nook and smashwords, but I did sell two copies of Finally Home Friday while at the eye doctor's office waiting for Andi. She had her second surgery Thursday and naturally, I was sitting around crocheting bookworms (have about a dozen more to make and then glue eyes on the remaining 30 or 40 this week). Anyway, two ladies were talking and they happened to be teachers at schools pretty close to me. One of the ladies bought 2 copies to give to the school libraries and she said she was definitely going to tell the librarian about me making school visits and all. So, the possibility of doing school visits in a local area is pretty cool to me. I'm glad I said something to them when they were discussing school.

Preparing for the event Sunday and then Decatur Book Festival right behind that on Labor Day Weekend. Will be posting some random things this week and have a special guest next week. See you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Midweek Report

Just a quick update - I was looking at my KDP reports and realized that the copy of Finally Home that sold last week has been returned for a refund - that hurts, especially when no review was made on amazon and there is no reason showing for the refund. This means the person had the book for less than 72 hours as I believe you only have limited to return a book for a refund, it could be up to a week but I don't remember since it's been a while since I actually purchased anything on amazon. Oh well, guess they didn't read the book or didn't like it - such is life. Maybe more sales will show up to offset the loss of those royalties, not that it would have been that much. See you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

This and That

It's been a great week as noted by my previous posting of "Miracles and Good News" and sales have been okay this week. All in all, no complaints about book related stuff this week.

For sales, over on kindle, I had a copy of Finally Home and a copy of "Bride-and-Seek" and a copy of State of Heights, so not too bad.

Now for the fussing part. I've been watching some of the Olympics but during times that I've not really been interested in the sports being shown, I've flipped the channels and watched movies or other shows. The commercials are abysmal. There is no modesty or decorum on commercials geared for kids these days. One of the "toys" being advertised is "Doggie Doo" and the catch line is "Doggies do what doggies do" and they show the dog releasing what is supposed to be "doggie doo" (I think it's Play-Doh but it's still disgusting). The other is a Ladybug filled with some sort of jewels or trinkets that when tossed and the tells the girls to clean up the mess - so the ladybug goes around and picks up all the little jewels and one of the things advertised in the commercial is that the ladybug "poops too". I'm sorry but these commercials have gone to extremes - disgusting and totally not child-friendly (yeah, I know kids say more disgusting things but still, no need to advertise this on TV that kids will be watching. No need to encourage the disgusting behavior).

Other than disgusting commercials, I'll be happy for the fall TV season to restart. I've seen a few advertised shows that look pretty interesting but who knows if I'll have time to really watch much TV as I have a lot of events coming up.

Just a sneak peak of what is coming up - the end of the month is Sunday in the Park in Mint Hill; the weekend following that which happens to be Labor Day Weekend will be Decatur Book Festival - the place I got started with my state books and I'm looking forward to being there again. In October there are three scheduled events, just have to come up with the fundings for the last one and I'm good to go. I won't be doing Savannah this year as they have gone up on cost and the table isn't worth $150, even if I were to get a school visit just wouldn't cover enough expenses. Hoping the first event in October leads to several school visits.

Coming in a couple of weeks or so, I have a guest blogger, mystery author Sandra Parshall. So that's what is on the agenda for now. Don't forget you still have 2-1/2 months to purchase your chances for the red, white and blue afghan drawing and that chances are only $1 each. Good luck to everyone who has tickets so far. See you all in the postings - E :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Miracles and Good News

Okay, my miracles are minor compared to some but still in the past 24 hours (more like past 18 hours) I've received an answer to one of my prayers and relief good news to another.

I've been campaigning to sell my book related items via Etsy and my websites to raise funds for a couple of big events coming up. I had asked Ann Eisenstein to join me for the GaCOMO conference coming up the first week of August to help offset the costs of the exhibitor's booth but have not really received a commitment from her, so have been fretting on how to come up with the $350 for the booth cost, which needs to be turned in by September 1. I kept hoping that some afghans or books would sell or large quantities of chances for the afghan drawing, but at almost the middle of August, neither has happened.

Yesterday, we had some terrible storms come through our area and I logged off for a while and then logged back on when I thought the storms had passed only to have to re-log off within a few short minutes secondary to another set of storms coming through as strong as the first one, but not before I was able to read my emails. One of them was from the director of the conference telling me that he was pretty sure he had a solution to my dilemma - they are always needing someone to sit in the SELA (that's the Southeastern Library Association) booth during the conference and if I were willing to help man the booth, I could set up my books at no cost to me. YES! - His last words to me were "think about it" and my reply to him before having to really get off the computer was - I'm there - lol. No thinking necessary. I'll be there whatever hours you need me except during my presentation time - so this was my miracle.

I only have to fret about the biggest book festival coming up but that one shouldn't be as bad since I do get paid on the 22nd of this month and have a small event the Sunday before and I'm hoping that one will be a huge success (lots of afghans and books sales) but I've already been planning so my check should be pretty good and able to cover all the expenses. It wouldn't hurt to see folks purchasing chances for the afghan drawing in batches of 25 (remember the cost per chance now is only $1 each and for every 25 purchased you get 5 free chances - so if you were to purchase 100 chances, you would actually receive 120 for the drawing and this is the afghan I almost don't want to give away but have committed it to being the 2012 afghan). This would just cushion my ability to meet all necessary expenses over the ensuing weeks.

The other bit of good news is that I was fretting about the hotel expenses for the GaCOMO since that conference falls the very first week of October (3-5) and I don't get paid until the 7th but in that case I actually will get paid on the 5th. I called the hotel this morning to inquire about when my credit card would actually be charged - upon check-in or check-out - Erica stated that I wouldn't be charged until check-out which is a relief since I'll be checking out Friday morning and my money will be in my account first thing that Friday morning. So, yay for a little relief on that and now all I have to do is save my check on the 22nd of September to cover gas and food to and from the conference. Things are definitely looking up as far as that one conference is concerned.

I'm having a Miracles and Good News day. What about you - what kind of day are you having? Hope it's full of wonderful miracles and good news - see you all in the postings - E :)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

This and That

Weekly report time again. Sales/downloads were down this past week, but I did have a download on smashwords the last day of the month of "The Tulip Kiss". Of course, since it was a freebie, no royalties were made, but hopefully folks will start purchasing copies of my stories either on Kindle, nook or smashwords or in-person.

My Etsy store is up and no sales yet. I need to post my kindle/nook covers and the tablet covers and a few more bookworm colors that I've crocheted recently. I've got three more afghans to complete but with all the back and forth to doctors for my friend Andi, I don't see it as a problem completing everything in my bag. I have several big events coming up the end of the month, so stay tuned for more on those.

School starts back the 21st of August and I'll be away from my desk a good bit as I've volunteered to take Andi back and forth to school except when I have events planned. I'll still be able to post and be online while away so no worries there (hoping to really get back on track work-wise while at the school).

Not much else is going on right now so see you all in the postings - E :)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

KAREN ELIZABETH BROWN: Launch Party for Medieval Muse

Come check out Karen's launch party for her first book, Medieval Muse, which she is offering for free on smashwords for the next few days. 

I think I posted this yesterday over on the Writers on the Move blog.  Hope you all will check out Karen's books - E :)

KAREN ELIZABETH BROWN: Launch Party for Medieval Muse: (Cover by Art By Retta) Welcome to my launch party for Medieval Muse! This is the official start of my book's availability at Smashw...

KAREN ELIZABETH BROWN: Dragon Kind Pre-Launch Announcement

Karen is prelaunching her second book on the heels of her first book, Medieval Muse, which is offered for free on Smashwords.  Check out her blog for how to pick up your copy before the offers expire - E :)

KAREN ELIZABETH BROWN: Dragon Kind Pre-Launch Announcement: While we are celebrating the launch of my novella Medieval Muse, I am offering a special sneak preview at my new book Dragon Kind. From ...