Sliding Past Vertical Wins…

BigAlSPVwinThe votes are in, and Sliding Past Vertical wins a 2014 B&P Readers’ Choice Award! Thank you so much for your votes and your support. I really appreciate it. There were so many great nominees this year. I don’t know about you, but I’ve already snagged a few of them, and I’m looking forward to reading. Thank you also to Big Al & The Pals for supporting indie authors. Congrats to all the winners and the nominees!

Readers’ Choice Awards: The Voting Starts Now

B&P Readers' Choice

Click on the shiny badge to take you to the voting page. It’s SO easy!

Some of you may know this already, but among the world of indie authors, getting a review from BigAl’s Books and Pals is no small accomplishment. According to statistics released by the site, “In the twelve months ending February 28th, 2014, BigAl and the Pals will have received over 1,400 books to consider for review and published 368 book reviews.”

I’m wicked excited that one of those titles was mine: Sliding Past Vertical has been selected as one of the books they felt stood out as an exceptional example of indie writing. (Their words, not mine, and they’re enough to make a girl mix up a pitcher of virtual margaritas and dance. No, not on the pole. Not since the last time.)

SlidingPastVertical300Anyway…B&P divided these books into thirteen categories. Sliding Past Vertical has been nominated for Contemporary/General Fiction. Starting now, you can vote for your favorites in each category. If you think the book is worthy, I hope you’ll swing by and give me your vote; I’d appreciate your support. Thank you! Voting enters you into a drawing for some cool prizes, and I hope you win!

Voting automatically enters you into B&P’s giveaway. You can learn all about that here. Voting ends at midnight, March 12, and final results will be announced the morning of Wednesday, March 15. Winners get a shiner badge and some cool exposure on the B&P website. Exposure (not the kind when you’re swinging around on the pole) for indie authors is a really good thing.

PWC3 - Tapped - small

Some of my friends and colleagues have also been nominated. Lynne Cantwell’s Tapped, the third book in the Pipe Woman Chronicles, has been nominated in the Fantasy category.

Bad Book, a wickedly funny combo-genre novel written by Stephen Hise, KS Brooks, and JD Mader, has been nominated in the Humor category.

coverJulie Frayn has been nominated in the Women’s Fiction category for her novel, It Isn’t Cheating if He’s Dead.

blind-sight-2Nicole Storey has also been nominated in the Fantasy category for Blind Sight, the first book of her Celadon Circle series.


DV Berkom’s wild ride, Yucatan Dead, sixth book in the Kate Jones series, was nominated in the Thrillers category.

Good luck to all the nominees and remember that if you vote, you can win!

[Voting notes: The form doesn’t like Internet Explorer. Once you click on this link that takes you to the site, log in with Facebook or your email address. Click on the downward-facing arrow in each category to see the books nominated. Click the open circle to the left to make your selection and “Enter” to register the vote. Clicking on the title will give you more info about the book.]

Sliding Past Vertical Entered in Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards!

SlidingPastVertical300Hi, folks!

I just entered Sliding Past Vertical into the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest, and blatantly stealing paying homage to a brilliant idea by author Charles Ray, I’d love to share a preview of my entry here.

I’m always open to feedback if you’d like to provide it.

Good luck to my author friends who have or will be entering. You have until March 2 or until they reach their quota or we break the website, one or the other. Have a great day!

And Now a Brief Word from Our Sponsor…

guinea-pig-computer-flickr-castawayinwales-369Okay, I know we’re all busy and people have probably been in your face to buy their things since…um…the invention of things. So I’ll keep this self-promotion short with a few holiday-type reminders.

If you live in the Ulster County area, you can buy print copies of my books at Barner Books in New Paltz, Inquiring Minds in New Paltz and Saugerties, and The Golden Notebook in Woodstock. I’m pretty sure that all of them have copies of The Joke’s on Me and Drawing Breath, and some have copies of Don’t Tell Anyone (which became an Amazon best-seller for a couple of hours a while back.) If the stores run out or you live too far away, I have it on good authority (Leland Dirks) that independent bookstores can order books. Also, I have a few books kicking around the house, so if you’d like a signed copy, I’ll be happy to oblige. Drop me a note here.

I’ll be at The Golden Notebook in Woodstock on Sunday at 1:00, talking about Sliding Past Vertical. Please ask the Snow Goddesses to cooperate, thanks, because GN has a TON of great events scheduled all weekend and I’d hate for Nan to have to reschedule them.

A couple of notes about Drawing Breath: if you like audio books or know someone who’d like one as a gift, it’s now available from Randi Larson did a great job on the narration. Also, the e-book will be on sale for $0.99 from December 26 to January 1 as part of a group sale with Awesome Indies.

That’s it. I hope that amid the craziness, you’re taking some time to live in the moment and enjoy what’s around you. You may now return to watching videos of cats destroying Christmas trees. Or this one.

Lessons Learned from Broken Characters

file5721279006391I’m a bit different from some authors. Instead of outlining and building a character from scratch, I let one fall into my head. I follow him or her around as we find the story together. So sometimes (oh, who am I kidding; it happens nearly all the time) I get to work with characters who are a little broken, a little damaged, or who don’t always make the choices I want them to.

This means I often hear the same comment from my early readers: I wanted to SLAP her! Continue reading

Book Tour Winners!

VBT_SlidingPastVertical_BannerRandy (Random Number Generator) and I have just chosen the winners from each stop on my recent virtual blog tour for Sliding Past Vertical. One commenter from each participating blog wins a copy of Drawing Breath; the overall winner from all the commenters wins a $30 Amazon gift card, just in time for holiday shopping.

Here are the e-book winners:

Rich Meyer
Andra Lyn
Nurmawati Djuhawan
Eva Millien
Rita Wray
Chelsea B.

And…drumroll, please…the winner of the $30 Amazon gift card is…

Mary Preston

Congratulations to our winners! Thank you to everyone for stopping by during the tour and thank you to Goddess Fish Promotions for throwing the party. They make the best margaritas… 😀

What’s Up With That Title?

431px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-C1015-0001-012,_Tokio,_XVIII._Olympiade,_Ingrid_KrämerSometimes a book, like a character, will name itself. You’ll be chugging along on the first draft and the perfect name or title pops into your head and nothing, no matter how long you brainstorm, poll your friends, read the baby-naming books, or draft pro-con lists, will ever work as well.

Drawing Breath was like that.

In a way, Sliding Past Vertical was as well.

The title came from a term used in diving competitions. I’m a huge fan. Obsessed, you could call it. When the Summer Olympics air, I will troll the cable channels and Internet footage for all of the qualifying rounds, not just the finals. Mainly I watch because it’s so beautiful. These daredevils leap and spin and twirl and land perfectly, knifing through water with such quick precision that they become negative space, leaving a tiny hole where they cut through. I want to know why. I want to know how they position their hands and feet to create barely a teaspoon of splash. I want to know what’s going through their heads as their toes leave the board. I want to know what those little towels they dry their hair off are made from. I want one. I want to know why someone would think of jumping off such a ginormously high platform in the first place.

I’m also fascinated because I have always been terrified of diving. No matter how much my father egged me on, no matter how many times he offered me a quarter to simply put my arms out and roll head first off the edge of the pool, I couldn’t make myself do it. I still can’t, and I’m okay with that, so I live vicariously through Olympic diving.

I forget which Olympic games I was watching while I worked on the first draft of this novel. During the commentary, one of the announcers, a former champion herself, kept talking about one competitor’s unfortunate habit of “sliding past vertical” during her dives. In the ideal dive, no matter how many times you spin and flip and twirl, you need to straighten out your body at a certain point so that you break the water as perpendicular to the surface as possible. That’s part of what results in the tiny splash, which is the last impression a diver leaves with the judges. The Chinese divers seem particularly good at it. Slide past that vertical ideal, however, and it’s not the prettiest of pictures. If you don’t get a good jump, or if your spins go out of control, often you don’t have enough time to get your body in the right position for the entry. Hence, that sliding thing.

Even before I started writing the book, I knew that Sarah, my female lead, had been a diver. I knew she was having problems with getting her life on track, especially when it came to certain ill-considered decisions going terribly awry. Learning about “sliding past vertical” brought it all together for me. I knew that had to be my title, because the affliction not only ended Sarah’s diving aspirations, but also had bled into her everyday life and the lives of the other characters.

What are some of your favorite “odd” book titles? Do you think they fit the stories?

Win a Copy of Sliding Past Vertical

Sliding Past Vertical coverA giant box of pretty, pretty books arrived on my doorstep this morning. And a good thing, too, because I’m giving a few away. If you hop over to Goodreads, you could enter to win a signed copy of Sliding Past Vertical. The giveaway is for folks in the US and Canada and goes until October 25.

Thank you for listening, and now back to your regularly scheduled Internet fun, like this quiz to see how well you can read people’s emotions from only their eyes. (Thank you to Lynne Cantwell for the tip.)

Have a great weekend.

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!