Archive for March, 2011

31
Mar

Did You Know?

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

For today’s writerly-type blog, I thought some “did you know” type things might be fun. If you’re a book reader you might find these interesting.

1) Did you know that most authors have very little say (if any) in their covers?¬†It’s true. And you’d be hard pressed to find an author who hasn’t had a cover horror story along the way. I got mine out of the way five years ago and it’s been smooth sailing ever since! ūüôā

2) Did you know that the first few weeks (in particular the very first week) of a book’s life are the most critical? That’s when any chance of getting on a bestseller list tends to happen. Pre-order numbers are put of first week numbers so those are very helpful.

3) Did you know that–at least in my case with the Southern Sewing Circle series–production takes about a year? This means that from the time I complete the book and turn it in, it takes about a year for the rest of the process to unfold–cover art, edits, format, printing, shipping, etc.

4) Did you know that the vast majority of authors (if not all) at my level, pay for all their own promotion? This means any travel expenses, promotional items (postcards, bookmarks, contests, etc). When you take into account how little we make, plus the expenses we incur, this is very much a labor of love.

5) Did you know that for someone like me on a six-month book cycle, I’m two books ahead? Meaning, while book 4 is getting ready to come out on Tuesday, I’m hard at work on book 6 (book 5 was turned in months ago and we should have a cover very soon).

Well there you go. I hope you learned a few new things about books and authors in general!

Any questions?

~Elizabeth

30
Mar

Stuff

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 4 Comments

As most of you know, the launch for DEADLY NOTIONS is next week (Yay!), and I’m starting to get excited.¬† In fact, just this morning, I got one of those “buy this” emails from Amazon with DEADLY NOTIONS starring as the lead book they were plugging. And just last night, a package showed up on¬† my doorstep with the bookmarks I ordered (if I have your address, you’ll be getting yours next week)!

So everything is coming together nicely for the big day.¬†Of course, on that day, I’ll be checking out my closest¬†bookstore just to see it on the shelf! That very first shelf-sighting is always a bit of a thrill. Especially if it ends up on the “new in fiction” display in B & N as the last three have been fortunate enough to enjoy. Of course, there’s a little bit of nail biting as launch week approaches, too. Did you know that the first few weeks of a book’s sales are¬†critical? Did you know that pre-orders are counted in with week one?

Aside from that, things have been a little nuts. My laptop, which had been dying a slow death for six months, decided to stop accessing the internet. And since I’d been planning on replacing it in the next week or so anyway, that pretty much pushed me into the store. I found the computer I wanted, had the techs put on the software I needed and, hoorah-hoorah, I came home with it yesterday afternoon. (side note: having absolutely no computer for 30 hours or so was oddly discomforting)

Of course, after using Word 2000 for years, it’s taking a wee bit to get used to 2010. For instance, yesterday I did a query as to where to find word count (the old version you used to click on tools and then down to word count). Boy did I feel stupid when I found out it’s simply shown on the bottom of my document as I’m typing. D’oh!

I guess that’s pretty much the big stuff around here. What’s going on with you?

~Elizabeth

28
Mar

A Check in the Award Winner Column

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 5 Comments

When I was 10-years-old, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I knew I wanted to see my books on library and bookstore shelves.

Today, that dream has evolved just a bit.

Yes, I still want to see my books on library and bookstore shelves–something I’ve accomplished and hope to see for years to come.

Now that I’m older and actually get this business a little, I’ve added a few more aspects to my dream…

1) To be a national bestseller (something I hit with SEW DEADLY when it came in at # 4 on the national B & N list for mass market mystery it’s first few weeks on the market). Now, while each subsequent book in the Southern Sewing Circle series has achieved this honor…I’d like to see one of my books make it onto the NYT Bestseller list one day!

2) To be an award winning author. This little gem is something all writers want to achieve if for no other reason than validation. And, until this past week, I’d been nominated for awards (an Agatha for Best First Novel of 2005, and RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice for Best Harlequin American of 2010–for which I got two nominations) but hadn’t been a “winner” yet.

This week, that changed. I am pleased to report that one of those two books ,that were ¬†nominated for Best Harlequin American of 2010, has won!!!!¬† Yay!¬† Every year, Harlequin American puts out 48¬† books (four each month). RT Magazine reviews them all, selecting their top five at the end of the year. My January release–Kayla’s Daddy, and my December release–Miracle Baby, both made it into the top 5 (not bad considering Kayla’s Daddy was the first romance I’ve ever written).¬† Once they have their top 5, RT’s team of reviewers selects their very favorite.¬† MIRACLE BABY is that book!¬†¬†¬†I’ll officially receive the award next month in L.A.¬†¬†

Exciting stuff, huh?

~Elizabeth (who, for romance purposes, can also be called “Laura”)¬†

P.S. My post for tomorrow may be late. My computer is virtually dead and my new one is being set up by the Geek Squad as I write this.

25
Mar

Wishes

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 2 Comments

Heading to the beach for part of this weekend. Sure, I know it’s not tanning weather, but I’ll take a few walks on the beach in its place!

But before the weekend officially starts, I’ve got some questions for all of you…

1) If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about today (so far), what would it be and why?

2) If you could wave that same wand again and transport someone into your weekend, who would it be and why?

3) Same wand. Poof a treat onto your plate. What is it?

4) The wand makes a magic lamp appear. You get three wishes for your coming week. What are they?

~Elizabeth

24
Mar

Taking Over

Posted under Writing Thursdays No Comments

For those of you who have read the first three (or even just one) books in my Southern Sewing Circle Mystery Series, you know Leona Elkin is a bit of a hoot. She’s sixty-something, yet thinks she’s thirty-something. She knows everything (and lets everyone know it), and has a weak spot where the opposite sex is¬†concerned.

Every time I sit down to write a new book in this series, Leona commands her due on the page, taking on a life of her own that even I¬†never see¬†coming. At first, I found it rather unnerving. After all, I’m the one writing the book, you know? But now, when she shows up and starts running the show, I know I’m on the right track.

Anyway, Leona is guest blogging over on Killer Characters¬†today (click on the image to visit the site). So check it out. She’s actually asking for some suggestions…

~Elizabeth

23
Mar

A “Just Me” Kinda Night

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 6 Comments

As you know, I took yesterday off to “get stuff done.” And I did. I really did. But, as if often the case, while “getting stuff done” I managed to find more stuff to¬†add to my never-ending to-do list that is sure to keep me busy for quite some time to come.

Funny how that happens, eh?

So, at the end of my busy day, I decided to treat myself to an evening out. I drove down to the city (about 45 minutes) and went to Harlan Coben’s book signing for his new release, LIVE WIRE. His talk was entertaining (as it always is) and I hopped on the line with everyone else with two copies for him to sign–one for the kids’ papa (it was his birthday yesterday), and, of course, one for me. When it was my turn to get my book signed, I got a hug first (cause we’re friends) and wide eyes from the ladies behind me (who were, no doubt, trying to figure out who I was that I knew the author). We chatted, he signed my copies, and I was on my way.

All in all, a good night. And proof that an occasional evening out for just me is not only okay, but also very rejuvenating. 

So tell¬† me, what’s the last thing you did for just you?

~Elizabeth

22
Mar

Catchin’ Up

Posted under odds and ends No Comments

I’m taking the day off to catch up on some stuff.

I’ll return tomorrow. Same time, same place! ūüėČ In the meantime, don’t forget to enter my latest contest (details on the “latest news” page).

~Elizabeth

21
Mar

My *Grin* Day

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 5 Comments

About a week before a book comes out, authors usually get a box on their doorstep. All UPS drivers who deliver to our homes, know what these boxes contain (they’re used to being knocked over in the doorway, I imagine). But, for a lucky gal like me (who happens to have an amazing editor), two hot-off-the-press copies arrive at my door a week before the big box. When those come, it’s really exciting because it’s my first look/touch/smell of my latest book.

Friday afternoon was that two-copies-hot-off-the-press day. See, aren’t they pretty…

I can’t really explain what it’s like to see my latest creation in book form. Real book form.¬† But I can tell you what I did when I pulled them out of their padded envelope. I stared at the front cover for about five minutes. Then I turned it over and read the copy on the back from start to finish. Then it was time to open it. I read the backlist page (growing all the time), I read the dedication (to two of my closest friends), the acknowledgement section, and the first paragraph of chapter one. When all that was done, I turned to the back to see what other authors get plugged in the back. And guess what? On the list of some of the more well known crafty type mysteries, my name was right there, too!¬†

*grin*

The next *grin* phase comes two weeks from tomorrow (April 5th) when I get to walk into my first B & N and see DEADLY NOTIONS on the shelves!

~Elizabeth

18
Mar

A Pinch of This, A Pinch of That

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 3 Comments

I’ve got some fun Bits & Pieces for all of you!

1) What’s the last movie you watched on DVD?

2) What’s the name of your oldest friend with whom you still keep in touch? How did you meet?

3) Who/what put a smile on your face today? Why/how?

4) Plans for the weekend?

5) I’m declaring this weekend a Do Something Nice For Someone You Love Weekend. Are you with me? What (if anything) came to your mind that you can do and for whom? (And you need to do it!)

Have a great weekend, everyone!

~Elizabeth

17
Mar

Reality Check

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

When I got serious about writing fiction back in 2004 or so, I truly thought it went something like this:

Write book.
Book shows up on shelf in stores and libraries.

Write another one.
Book shows up on shelf in stores and libraries.

Rinse and repeat until you’ve written everything you want to write.

Now, some seven years later, I know better. Being published entails far more than just writing. And a snapshot of my March so far is pretty good proof…

*I am actively working on writing A Fatal Pattern (book # 6 in the Southern Sewing Circle series). I get up each morning and sit at the keyboard, weaving the various threads of this story together. I work on this particular project for about four hours. Sometimes they are four very successful hours. Sometimes, they aren’t. But, overall, this book is moving along at a nice clip (a good sign).

*I am going over the edits from my publisher for Dangerous Alterations (book # 5 in the Southern Sewing Circle series that will release on November 1st). The cover is being completed as we speak (can’t wait to see it…I have the best cover artist ever). Which means the rest of us are making sure the inside is as good as it can be. This is where we pick up typos and notice any issues that may have been overlooked in the writing phase. Fortunately, everything is electronic these days, so it’s a relatively easy process. But, still, this takes up about two hours each day as I slowly read the book from cover to cover.¬† This is also the phase where I must come up with my dedication (still working on that) and my acknowledgements (got those ready to go).

*With the release of Deadly Notions (book # 4 in the Southern Sewing Circle series)¬†less than three weeks (April 5th), I’m spending a portion of my day getting ready from a marketing standpoint. I’m booking events, working with a promotional place on new bookmarks and mini sewing kits, and thinking of ways to get the word out. This latter part involves guest blogging on various sites on the web (and writing those pieces).

*And all the while, I have my fingers crossed, hoping that a romance proposal I have out on submission gets picked up.

So much for the original image I had way back when. But that’s okay. Because it’s actually more fun this way!

~Elizabeth