Monday, May 21, 2012

My KDP Experiment

A big thank to everyone who downloaded copies of my book The Switch on Friday and Saturday last week. Does that sound backwards, thanking people to getting my book for free? Well, it's too early to see what it'll do for my sales, though I've had a little bump over the past couple of days, only time will tell if it lasts long enough to make a real difference. On the other hand, my book did go out to thousands of new readers, which could translate into sales of my other books, and I did zoom up the ranks on Amazon. Check this out.

Yes, that is accurate: My book made it into the top 50 best-selling books on Amazon for most of Saturday. Okay, so they were free to readers, but that's still a lot of exposure, which has already netted me more sales of the companion book Blank Slate than I'd seen all month.

So, I'll be watching my sales obsessively for the next week or two to see what it does, but either way, it was pretty exciting to see what can happen when so many of my friends help me spread the word.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Get "The Switch" Free Today and Tomorrow

I'm so excited my book, The Switch is available for FREE on Kindle through tomorrow night. This story has been a fun project, especially since I got to use a lot of my EMT knowledge for the emergencies Danny, the paramedic firefighter from Blank Slate goes on. There is an excerpt below, and at the bottom of the post is a link to download your own free copy!

They could hear the fire truck returning from more than a block away. The siren blared and Tia wondered if her daughter had managed to sweet talk her way out of her seatbelt to run it, or if her baby blues had mesmerized the handsome driver into ruining his own ear drums. It wouldn’t surprise her if they were all deaf when they returned.

After coming to a stop, Danny hopped from the truck and headed around to the other side to help Samantha out. After noticing her daughter removing her seat belt—which meant Samantha’s eye-fluttering powers were still in good working order—Tia thought again about the firefighter. His suave self-confidence bothered her and his flirting unnerved her. She wondered if it ever got him into trouble on the job.

Samantha ran back over and wrapped her arms around her mom’s legs. “I pushed the siren, and Danny ran it for me a lot.”

“I heard, sweetheart. I think the whole state heard, actually.” She tapped a finger on her daughter’s nose

“He said if I’m good I can try on his fire hat.”

“Did he?” Tia didn’t have a chance to decide how she felt about it before he was in front of them.

Danny grinned and crouched so his face was even with Samantha’s. “I’m glad you helped me tonight. Maybe you could bring your mom and sister and help again sometime. I can show you the cool stuff we have inside the ambulance.” He glanced back into Tia’s face and she felt her cheeks flame. “Not while strapped into the gurney this time.”

“I think that’s a great idea,” Nichole said, extending a hand in greeting. “Hi, I’m Nichole Baugh, Tia’s friend, and you are?”

“Danny Tullis.” He angled a glance at Tia’s face. “And very glad you all came tonight.” He turned and beckoned to someone behind them, then returned his gaze to the ladies. “I did promise Samantha a chance to try on my helmet tonight. Do you have a few minutes?”

Tia’s chest constricted and she became self-conscious about what she said around him. Why was he paying so much attention to her? She’d been out on a date or two since Lee died, but none of the men really flirted with her. She got the feeling, however, that flirting was second nature to Danny, so she tried not to make anything of it. “That will be fine.”

Since Nichole agreed, and the girls bubbled over with excitement, they all headed for the building. Danny stopped to talk to another firefighter, a woman with pale golden hair falling halfway down her back, and ask her to drive the truck full of kids until James returned. Then he led them through the building.

“My locker’s back here.” He stopped at one and twisted the combination lock until it popped open. First, he pulled out his firefighter’s helmet and set it on Samantha’s head.

“It smells like smoke,” she said, wrinkling her nose.

Danny laughed. “Fires do tend to smell like smoke.” He pulled out a heavy yellow set of protective clothing like Tia had seen on television and movies. “These are my turnouts, they protect me when I’m doing my job. I have different sets depending on the type of call I go on. This is for fires.” He briefly described how they protected him from getting burned and gave each of the girls a chance to wear the jacket so they could feel how heavy it was.

He returned it and the fire helmet, which Samantha seemed done with for the moment, to his locker and removed a lighter black outfit. “These are extrication turnouts. I wear them when I’m not worried about fires, but if we’re opening up a car so people who are trapped inside can get out. It protects me from glass and other sharp objects. I wear this when I go to accidents on the ambulance, too.” He let them all finger the heavy material and briefly talked about the equipment they used.

“How cool.” Samantha said. “I want to help people when I grow up!”

Tia could see how Samantha’s charm and hero worship were wrapping Danny around her little finger. When he reached out and touched the girl’s shoulder, Tia thought of Lee, and of the way her husband had loved their daughter. She missed the way he’d come in from work and scoop Samantha into his arms, listening to her chatter and grinning at her boundless enthusiasm.

Samantha had cried often, missing her daddy when he shipped out to Afghanistan. It got worse after the funeral when Tia had to tell her Todd wasn’t ever coming home. Two years later Samantha didn’t cry much anymore, but she was starved for male attention, despite Garrett’s best efforts to be there for his dead brother’s family. Tia’s throat felt tight and she had to take a measured breath to hold back emotions that always hit her at the worst moments.

When Danny met her gaze, she saw something flicker there. “I better get back to my post,” he said after a moment. “But you’re welcome to stop in some day for the ambulance tour. Call ahead to see if I’m here and I’ll squeeze in time for you.” Though his words had included everyone, his eyes ended on Tia. “It was a pleasure meeting you all.”

He left them at the table where they were doing rub-on tattoos, and Tia watched him return to duty at the line of kids.

Download it from Amazon now, and please spread the word to your friends!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

LDStorymakers Conference 2013

Fay Klingler, Danyelle Ferguson and me at the Mass book signing Friday evening.

So the 2012 Storymakers conference is over and we're all still standing (except those who fainted from exhaustion. I think that includes my co-chair). Every year the conference gets a little bigger and a little better, and this was no exception. We had an awesome committee who was always on top of things (or at least they seemed to be, which is close enough in my book!) a terrific hotel that bent over backward to make things go smoothly for us, and incredible instructors. And the three minutes I was able to listen to the keynote speaker were really great too.

Jaime Theler and I co-chaired the conference this year, which had about 520 attendees at the downtown Provo Marriott, nearly 60 presenters, 75-80 classes (some were offered twice or covered two hours) and lots of laughter as we watched Sarah Eden's writing videos. Oh, and more than a thousand books sold through our bookstore, which will help those authors pay for their conference expenses and share their brilliant advice. And several hundred dollars was raised for a non-profit in Peru. All in all a ton of terrific stuff.

I feel like I should be exhausted, but I've already been writing emails with my new co-chair (Don Carey) about next year's committee, even while tying up the loose ends with Jaime and our current committee. When I said that doing a conference of that size was a marathon, I think I still didn't know yet what I meant, but I look forward to next year--our 10th conference (which has a ton of ideas bouncing in my head).

We're definitely going to have to cap the conference again, which is a bummer, but a necessary evil. Less than seven months until registration opens--and that's closer than it sounds!

Monday, May 7, 2012

My Visit to the Regency Tea Party

For the past several months some writing friends of mine have been planning a Regency tea party, which started as three or four people, and expanded to fifteen of us (more had planned to come, but life happened and several had to drop out at the last moment). Since Sarah Eden's living room isn't built for that many visitors, we held the tea party at the Provo Library. This picture was taken only a few minutes before I arrived (late) after running like mad for the previous several days. I actually sewed the hook-and-eye closures onto my dress as we were en route to Provo.

No, hook-and-eye closures are not of the time period, but buttons are a pretty specialized feature that my sewing machine does not have, so I sewed the buttons on the top so it looks authentic. I figure that's close enough. I still have a little lace to attach around the neckline, but my dress turned out cute. Since I'm a slacker, I didn't get any pictures. But I know a few were snapped of me that day, and when I finish the dress I'll take one of the finished product and post about it.

Anyway, we had tea (herbal) which was incredibly good, and hot cocoa, little cucumber sandwiches (because nothing says Jane Austen tea like cucumber sandwiches), fruits, English cheeses and crackers and lots of little goodies. Sarah, who writes terrifically funny, totally clean Regency romances (I highly recommend them if you like the genre) explained the way the fashions changed over the twenty years or so and how teas were conducted. And I got a chance to talk with some really terrific writers I hardly ever see, and several I'd never met in person (just online). It was a lot of fun, and we're already talking about doing it again next year before the 2013 conference as well. I'm thinking my next sewing project will be a little purse--way easier than a dress!