Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Word From The Wise

There are just some people who take FAN to a rocking level. I'm not talking about those 'moms' who have scenes from a certain book tattooed on their body (By the way moms, that's scary and creepy, and doesn't leave much room for other books you may fall in love with. And what do your husbands think?)

I'm losing the thought train here.

Superhero co-author Natalie Zaman and I, along with a host of other authors, were invited to "Unmask the Writer Within;" book signing, author workshops, lunch and Halloween party in Johnstown, New York. Hard times and that freaky snowstorm probably kept away some people, but we all had a great time, made new friends and talked books.

And then Melissa Marie, the darling of Mysteries on Main Street Book Store, gave one of these to each of us:

It's Sirenz, done through a series of photos of signs, objects, window bars, wrought iron, etc. in a lovely black frame.

It was my first gift from a fan. I was so touched and thrilled and astonished and speechless (really, me? right?). I've re-arranged my home office so I can be thankful for it, be inspired by it, and be humbled by it. By no means am I encouraging all fans to send such thoughtful, beloved, delightful gifts (while nice, I'd surely run out of room). Cheerful emails, blog comments, a chat at a book signing, a little note on FB mean so much to authors, especially those that are not in the spotlight, that are on a tight publicity budget, that don't fit the current trend (yes, I have no vampires, werewolves, zombies or steam-powered devices. Do have a witch though...) Sometimes we non-famous authors feel neglected, forgotten, overlooked. It takes so much advertising, going to book signings, blogging, interviewing, guest posting, and networking to steal a bit of attention. Nat and I have no famous relations, no connections in show biz or the literary world to ease our path; we're two moms from New Jersey who love to write and just want to share our books with as many people as we can.

It takes a simple reminder; a picture of 6 letters but a universe of meaning, to refresh our memories of why we write; because we love it. Sirenz was no labor; hard work at times, but the fun and laughter Nat & I shared will continue as the series progresses, come what may. So thank you, Melissa Marie, and your wonderful mother (who did the eye-catching photos) for such a priceless gift; appreciation for our work.

YOU get the first copy of Sirenz, Back In Fashion.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

How The Mighty Have Fallen...

Okay, I'm not mighty in any sense of the word, but just go with me.

 I'm sick--flu, cold, bug, whatever.
My nose is stuffed, my sinuses hurt, my throat is sore throat enough that I want to stamp my feet and scream. So I've fallen out of my routine. House needs to be vacuumed, novel isn't getting finished, errands aren't being run. Now I could excuse myself that I shouldn't spread germs to the public at large, and that's a valid reason for not grocery shopping (maybe I picked this bug up from a grocery cart? ewwww; motivation to shop with your gloves on.), going to the robotics meeting (and leaving my germs on high science desks), and lunch with my writing gal pals (talk about torture!). But neither the dirty rug nor the blank pages care that I feel so lethargic it's a task to get another drink for my burning throat.

There are times we all fall short of expectations. A friend texted me saying "Cheer up! The holidays are coming and you have so much to do!" First of all, reminding me how much I have to do is NOT the way to cheer me up. Second, I'm not depressed, I'm just sick. The holidays are far enough away (even Thanksgiving, the Forgotten Holiday) that I don't need to worry about it; I'm more worried about making my book signings on Thursday in NYC at Books of Wonder (18 W 18th Street, 6-8) and Friday in PA (Children's Book World, East Main Street, Haverford, 7-9). If I can get past them, then I'll be able to get back on track...

Except my firstborn, away at college since August, is coming home on Friday (no doubt with laundry and demands). And I'm helping out the kids' bell choir on Sunday morning. Monday might see the plumber coming to install the new gas fireplace and then there's the regular fencing practice, SAT tutoring, and writing group rescheduled meeting in addition to getting ready for Thanksgiving.

There's always an excuse to put off things that need, must, should, ought to get done. So, I've had my two days of bed rest (almost- I did do laundry, some dishes, straightening up, checking of emails, media posting, yelling at offspring for garbage, recycle and homework; I am not a total slug.). Tonight, I'll start clearing up all those things that are backlogged and get back into the grind, er, routine.

My blog entry is done for the week; that's one thing off the list.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Cover Up!

There's a lot of talk about book covers. What's hot, what's been overdone, what doesn't work, and so on. Some covers are iconic and recognizable without a single word: a cross and people know it's the Bible. A golden colored bear with a red vest is obviously Winnie the Pooh. And yes, the hands holding the apple on a black background is Twilight.

Have you seen our cover? If not, I'll cry, but let me help you out, here it is:

But that's not the way it looked initially: it looked like this:

Why the change? While we loved the first cover, it was too dark for our humorous book. And we were told that teens didn't like it, hence the second, lighter cover. Which do you like better?

And now, the release of the cover for Sirenz Back in Fashion.

There are two emotions about this change. One is that this is a good thing: it will freshen up the look, maybe increasing sales beyond estimations by drawing in new readers. It's lighter and gives a hint about what's inside; a story with two very different girls, a Greek aspect, and fun. The other is that it won't match the first one and since this is a series, the first fans won't recognize the sequel.

The editor and publisher design the cover and while we're asked what we think would look good, the decision is theirs. That's the industry. I look at it this way: at least there is a second book, the Canadian artist (I will insert her name here, I have to dig through emails to find it) did a beautiful job, and there was a lot of thought put into it. Right now there is a controversy because a number of book covers are finding that their cover model (and sometimes the same dress and pose) was used for another book, making them both so similar, it will confuse readers which book they were looking for. That's a marketing nightmare--like telling which one is the clone, which is the original. We don't have that problem, for which I am immensely grateful.

No matter what, that's our cover and we're sticking with it.


Follow The Yellow Brick Road...

Well, not really. But follow me over to my new blog, (Note the extra 'e' between Charlotte and Bennardo. Yes, it's my middle initial, no, I will not tell you. And it's NOT Esmerelda, no matter what the hubby says.)

Had trouble with this blog, abandoned it, started new one, and that's where the action is, so come on over (especially Anne from the Christmas ornament store, but everyone else too!)

Let's talk!


Good Tidings of Karma

I was scrolling through the notifications on my smart phone and finally realized that I had comments from the other blog (, which I don't use anymore because of ISSUES. That's why I'm here.) I'm not ignoring anyone, I'm just technologically impaired.

What was interesting was a comment from Anne. Time travel backward about a year ago. Nat & I are Christmas shopping, excited about Sirenz coming out in just under six months. We're giddy, giggly and definitely doing the girly thing- we're at the mall. I drag her into an ornament store, you know the ones: they're there from right after Halloween until the day after Christmas and have hundreds, maybe thousands of ornaments that can be personalized. Right away, we felt the 'good Karma' because the first ornament we see is a Starbucks coffee cup (looked Venti sized to me--perfect!) with the name "Meg." In Sirenz, Meg and Shar are always drinking hot caffeinated libations. The next ornament that caught my eye was a diamond engagement ring in a Tiffany blue box. What did Hades give Shar? (This will come back to haunt her in Sirenz Back in Fashion...) We found a number of ornaments that fit into Sirenz. So of course I bought a lot of them. My tree is going to fall over under the staggering weight.

Fast forward to a few months ago, and Anne, the saleswoman from the ornament store, comments under the first blog, What Dreams May Come. She remembered us and our book, and was so excited to see the book debut. She hopes we'll find her again and say hello.

Well how mystical is that? A lot of people must come in and tell their Christmas story about what a certain ornament means to them, but she remembered us? It's enough to make you cry with joy. Anne, I hope you find my new blog and say hello here (I will try to find you on the other one and bring you over, but me + technology = nightmares. Look for the debut of our website, Nat and I will be back--to say hello, thank you for remembering us, bring you some swag, and yes, buy more ornaments. After all, there are 3, maybe 4 books in the series.

And to Katia, I'm not forgetting you! Your comment on my post, I'm Not Laughing about loving the humor of Sirenz and agreeing with my lament that we need more humor in our oft-times depressing society put a smile on my face. We will definitely continue the humor in the rest of the books, so stay tuned for more laughs!

Keep the comments coming, I will get to them. Know that I am reading them and look forward to hearing from my readers (and you don't have to agree!). Sometimes it takes me awhile to remember all the intricacies of blogging and building websites and everything technological, but I will get there!