Sunday, August 19, 2012

Welcome the jaguar, and a contest.

This week's news:
  • Congrats to Danee Hayungs, who won a copy of SwanSong in the Goodreads giveaway.  I'll be dropping the book in the mail tomorrow.
  • My very first official staff post went live at Indies Unlimited this week.  The subject is a serious but little-known syndrome suffered by indie authors, and we all hope you give generously so we can continue to suffer from it. ;)
  • More fun with Animoto: I decided The Maidens' War needed some love, in the form of its very own trailer.  You can see the result over on the left there.
But of course, the big news is the release of Fissured: Book Two of the Pipe Woman Chronicles.  It's currently available at Amazon, Smashwords, and the Nook Store. I fully expect Smashwords will be sending it out to iBooks, Kobo, and their other affiliates within the next week or two.  Oh, and you can get a paperback copy from CreateSpace.

Major thanks to those of you who have already picked up a copy!  You are all my new best friends!

Starting Friday, I'll be on (virtual) tour for Fissured as part of the Orangeberry Summer Splash.  My first stop, at Nyx Book Reviews, will feature an interview with me, which I am posting for your convenience below.  Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to answer one of the questions below better than I did.  (Answer it as yourself, not as me!)  Post your Q&A either in the comments here, or on my Facebook page.  I'll award to my favorite a free copy of Fissured in the format of the winner's choice.  And as a friend used to say: the judge's decision is arbitrary, capricious, and final.

Here are my answers.  Go.
If you could invite any 5 people to dinner, who would you choose?
Four of them would be my grandparents.  Both of my grandfathers died before I was born, and my maternal grandmother died when I was six years old.  Now that I’m old enough to hold a conversation, I’d like to meet them.  Then I would try to stretch the guest list so that both my mother (who died in 2008) and father (who died in 1984) could come, too.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Once upon a time, a company called Barracini made a flavor called cherry amaretto almond.  That stuff was amazing.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find it in probably twenty-five years.  These days, I settle for Turkey Hill Philadelphia Style in any flavor but strawberry.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
A breakfast burrito from a street vendor.  But usually I have to settle for cereal.

Night owl, or early bird?
Night owl, for sure.  I can get up early if I have to, but I’m basically sleepwalking until about 8:00 a.m.

One food you would never eat?
Liver.  Ugh.  It even smells bad while it’s cooking.
Skittles or M&Ms?
You really know how to hurt a woman.  Today, almond M&Ms.  But tomorrow it might be Wild Berry Skittles.

Please tell us, in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
I had a lot of fun writing it and I think you’ll have fun reading it.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects? 
I’ve got three more Pipe Woman Chronicles books on tap.  I’m planning to write the third book during NaNoWriMo this November.  My original plan was to publish two books a year, but I might try to finish the final three next year.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
I loved Little Women until I read Jane Eyre when I was in eighth grade.  Mr. Rochester proved to be a lot sexier than Mr. Bhaer.

If you could be one of the Greek Gods, which would it be and why?
Can I pick a different pantheon?  I would be Lugh, the Celtic god of light.  He was good at everything!  Plus, he’s the patron god of storytellers.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
There’s a reason why the Pipe Woman Chronicles series is set in Colorado – it’s because I harbor a not-very-secret-at-all desire to live there.  What’s not to like about waking up to a view of the Rockies every day?
When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?
I was a multitasker from an early age.  I wanted to be a nurse, a singer and a mother.  I gave up on nursing after finding out how many years I would have to spend in school.  And later, I learned I was a better writer than a musician.  But I do have two daughters who are now in their twenties.  I guess one out of three isn’t too bad.
What's the craziest writing idea you've had?
I once had an idea for a sci-fi short story that was basically a one-sided phone conversation about waiting for a bus, but it never went anywhere.
Hidden talent?
Music.  At one time, I could play clarinet, alto sax, guitar, and soprano recorder. I’m horribly out of practice now.
What movie and/or book are you looking forward to this year?
I had been trying not to get too excited about “The Hobbit,” but then a friend posted a link to the trailer on Facebook and that was all it took.  I’m not a huge Tolkien fan – I just think it looks like it will be a terrific movie.  As for books, the big one on my horizon is The Last Dark – the final book in “The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever.”  Alas, it won’t be out until 2013.
My nickname in college was “Chesh,” which is short for “Cheshire Cat.”  As you might expect, there’s a story behind it.  At Indiana University in the 1970s, registration was held in Assembly Hall, the basketball arena.  Each academic department had a table that held boxes and boxes of IBM punch cards.  You went around to the tables and collected a punch card for each class you wanted to take.  Then you collected your financial aid at another table, and gave that to the bursar at still another table.  It was only after being spit out of that meat grinder that new students got their pictures taken for their ID cards.  When it was my turn to have my picture taken, the guy behind the camera told me to “stand there” – on a pair of bare footprints somebody had painted on the floor.  I was just punchy enough to think the footprints were hysterically funny.  So I sported a huge grin on my ID picture all through college.
If you were a bird, which one would you be?
I would be a magpie.  Magpies are members of the corvid family, as are ravens, crows, and jays.  But magpies live in Colorado, which (as we’ve discussed) is where I want to live.  Plus they like shiny things.  Not that that says anything about me.

If you could have a signed copy of any novel, what would it be and why?
Actually, I already have it:  Lord Foul’s Bane, signed by Stephen R. Donaldson.  It’s the first book in “The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever,” which is my favorite fantasy series ever.

You have won one million dollars.  What is the first thing that you would buy?
Well, first, I’d do the practical thing and pay off debt.  But then I’d knock off the rest of the places on my short list of travel destinations (see “favorite places to travel” below).  Then I’d invest the rest of the money, retire early, and write.

What do you do in your free time? 
You mean when I’m not writing, marketing my books, or knitting?  I sleep!
What's your favorite season/weather?
Autumn, hands down.  I used to be a big fan of winter until I moved to the Mid-Atlantic, where snow throws everybody into a panic.  Spring is too soggy and summer is too hot and sticky.  But autumn skies are that beautiful deep blue, and I love the scent of fallen leaves.
Favorite places to travel?
I keep going back to Colorado, New Mexico, and southern West Virginia, so I guess those qualify as my favorites.  But I also have a list of destinations that I intend to visit someday.  I’ve been whittling away at it over the years and it’s now down to three places:  the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Alaska.  I’m going to the Czech Republic this fall, so if all goes as planned, soon the list will be down to two.

Favorite music?
Either Irish trad (my favorite group is Flook) or top-40 songs from the 1960s and ‘70s.  As a kid, I listened to one of two Chicago radio stations, either WLS or WCFL, depending on where Larry Lujack (a.k.a. Superjock) was working at the time.
I'm , and I approve this blog post.