One Crazy Week

SlidingPastVerticalCoverOctober is my favorite month—Indian summer, apples, beautiful leaves, that lovely crisp feeling in the air. After a completely insane September culminating with the release of Sliding Past Vertical, I had been looking forward to kicking back a teensy bit. Okay, I know that’s not really possible, since once the book comes out, the work really starts. At least I hoped to get outside once in a while before my schedule heated up again.

Not so, it seems, but it’s all good. I woke on Monday to find that Don’t Tell Anyone had been chosen the category winner for literary fiction in The Kindle Book Review 2013 Best Indie Books Awards.  (see shiny badge to the right). Snoopy dancing! As my entry progressed from semi-finalist to finalist in September, I was happy to see enough editing work and book promotions on my calendar to keep me from thinking about October 1.

One great thing about indies is their generosity and eagerness to support other authors. I entered the contest along with a bunch of talented author friends and did little happy dances when Nicole Storey, DV Berkom, Julie Frayn, Rosanne Dingli, and Carol Wyer made it to the semi-finals, then again when Nickie and I were in the finals (with Hugh Howey in a different category!) When I got the “you’re a winner” email from Jeff Bennington at The Kindle Book Awards, it had also been sent to the other category winners. We immediately began contacting each other with congratulations and requests for Twitter handles.

SPVPrint1After a bit of flutter, I forced myself back to earth, because Husband and I needed to get the print version of Sliding Past Vertical done. And here she is! I was so excited to get the proof in my hands. Four books in, and the feeling of holding the finished copy hasn’t yet gotten old. I hope it never does.

Have a great week!

An Indie Smorgasbord in First Chapters

First-Chapters22-ocean-sampleI’m so excited about this release from Indies Unlimited!

First Chapters provides 1500-word excerpts from the work of twenty-two cutting-edge indie authors (well, twenty-one plus me!). Some of them are award-winning, some are bestselling, and they all, at one time, joined forces at IndiesUnlimited.com: a site dedicated to the indie author movement. This volume includes a wide array of genres and unique voices. From elegant vampires to former assassins, from drama to comedy, from science fiction to nonfiction, you’ll find something to please every palate, along with brief author bios and a purchase link, should you decide to read more.

Why did we do this? Because sometimes the “look inside” feature of a book you’re interested in buying online isn’t enough. You might have to wade through a bunch of front matter, leaving only a page or two of the story. How frustrating is that, especially if you’re looking at a number of books?

This volume includes first chapters from authors DV Berkom, Melissa Bowersock, Laurie Boris, K.S. Brooks, Lynne Cantwell, Martin Crosbie, Jim Devitt, A.C. Flory, Yvonne Hertzberger, Stephen Hise, Mark Jacobs, Chris James, LA Lewandowski, TD McKinnon, Rich Meyer, Melissa Pearl, Lin Robinson, Kathy Rowe, Carolyn Steele, Krista Tibbs, Dick Waters, and Carol Wyer.

I hope you enjoy it.

Here is some handy linkage:

Amazon US:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E8RWYXW/
Amazon UK:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00E8RWYXW/

Healing with Humor

ImageI love a good joke. Even a bad one. Which is one of the reasons I wrote my first novel. In The Joke’s on Me, a stand-up comic returns to her hometown of Woodstock after a major crisis and tries to get her groove back. One stepping stone toward reinventing herself is to craft a workshop on Healing with Humor. Frankie ferrets through research notes, movies, and videos of other comics, trying to glean what’s funny and why it makes people feel good.

Having laughed my way through some serious and not-so-serious health problems over the years, I felt unerringly qualified to write about a fictional character writing her workshop.

After all, a string of funny romance novels by Janet Evanovich got me through a nasty back injury, and elephant jokes once saved my sanity.

Elephant jokes? Yeah. Okay, they’re a little juvenile, but a good case of the giggles is still good medicine. About twenty years ago, I had one of those not-so-great mammograms (which turned out to be a false positive), and my perhaps overzealous doctor had referred me and my films to a breast surgeon. Needless to say, the forty-minute drive to his office was a bit stressful. So I turned on our local NPR station, which was running “Knock on Wood” during that time period. Some of you—and especially those of you in the Woodstock area—may know Steve Charney and Harry, his ventriloquist’s dummy (Yeah, I know. A ventriloquist on the radio.) That day, Steve was doing a long string of elephant jokes, one after the other. I was giggling so hard I almost ran off the road. Yeah, silly, but it definitely took my mind off where I was going.

So this is why one particular joke stuck in my head. Recently, when the lovely Carol Wyer, author of several humorous novels about aging disgracefully, interviewed me on her blog, Facing Fifty with Humour, she asked me to tell a joke. This was the one I selected:

Q: What do you get when you cross a kangaroo with an elephant?
A: Great big holes in Australia.

Okay, not spit-coffee-across-your-keyboard funny, but cute.

Then I came across this website. Apparently, the author, Kevin R.R. Williams, had read Carol’s interview and felt the same about my joke. In an effort to parse the eternal question of what makes people laugh, he deconstructed it over a dinner party. How I wish I could have been a fly on the wall.

Or the elephant in the room.

What do you think? Has humor ever helped you through a tough spot? Can humor really be analyzed? Once we do, does it lose its comedic value? And what’s your favorite elephant joke?