Archive for April, 2012

Well, here’s the official day … Last Will is out in the wild. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, direct from the publisher, Stairway Press.

I’m feeling a little excited and slightly anxious. After all, the first inevitable bad review must come. I’ll feel better when it’s over. So far the nicest thing is how supportive and helpful people have been. I’ve discussed this with other folks, but I’ll say it again: with very few exceptions, book people are good people.

So far, the funniest part of the process has been my family’s reaction. I’ve been writing most of my life. They know I write. They’ve badgered me for years about when was I going to sell a book and become a millionaire. (No amount of me explaining the publishing industry has disabused them of the notion that publishing is almost as random as the lottery, and my odds of “winning” are about the same.)

Now that I finally have a book coming out, they’ve been on this see-saw of excitement and dread.

My mother, holding the book in her hand and frowning: I’m not going to be shocked, am I?

Well, you’ve know me for forty years. If I can still shock you, I’ll be pleased, but I kinda doubt it.

My sister, calling me immediately after she finished reading: OMG!!! I really really liked it! I was worried that I wouldn’t, because … you know, but I really do!

Because … I’m a weirdo? Who writes weird things? Or because you weren’t sure I was any good at it?

My cousin: I’m not in there, am I?

Only if you’re an alcoholic alien abductee or a beauty queen or an elderly rich woman. Are you?

In summation: the book isn’t all that weird, I think it’s competently written, and I didn’t base the characters off my family.

Alas, the book is out, but I’m not yet a millionaire, so I better quit futzing around here and get back to work. Cheers! And I hope you enjoy it.

PS: the contest winners’ books are going in the mail today!


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Whew! Real Job™ has been a little crazy this week, so I’m running behind schedule. That said, the winners of an advance reader copy of Last Will have been selected:


Sarah C. H.
Anne E. J./KittyAdventures
Nikki R. H.
Liz M.
Ilana M.
Judy M.
Debra H.
Hangaku Gozen

I’m pretty sure there’s some magical way for me to pull all your email addresses from my contest platform, so I plan to send out an email to check on your mailing addresses. If you don’t hear from me by tomorrow, though, would you shoot me a message?

Now I must scurry back to Real Job™!!

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My novel Last Will comes out on April 24th, so in celebration of that, I’m posting an excerpt for Teaser Tuesday! There’s still time to enter to win a signed advance reader copy of the book, too. Visit me over on Facebook, where you can see the full array of things that will get you more chances to win. You can Like my author page on FB, follow my blog, follow me on Twitter, retweet the giveaway, and you can add the book to your to-read list on Goodreads. The contest ends at midnight, April 12th, and I plan to have the books in the mail by that Saturday.


While you were out ...

I met up with Mrs. Bryant in the front hall and waited for her to say, “Good afternoon, Mr. Raleigh.” Instead, she reached into her apron pocket, presented me with a handful of message slips, and said, “I need to speak with you, Mr. Raleigh.” Five minutes later, she was sitting on the other side of my grandfather’s desk, looking over the piles of phone messages at me.

“Mr. Raleigh and I had discussed me retiring. My health isn’t what it used to be, what with the arthritis,” she said. I accepted my defeat graciously.

After Mrs. Bryant’s resignation, I called the office of the Chairman of Raleigh Industries, and his assistant said she would call the assistant of the VP of Human Resources, who would hire me an assistant, who perhaps would kill the rat that ate the grain that sat in the house that Jack built. Mr. Tveite was right. I needed help.

I hoped, too, that replacing Mrs. Bryant could be accomplished from a distance, but my grandfather had always managed his own household staff. The next day, Mrs. Bryant presented me with her replacements. She asked me into the kitchen and forced me to engage in a farce of an interview, as though my opinion could be of any value. I wasn’t surprised that one of her prospective hires was her daughter, Mary Beth Trentam, who seemed embarrassed to shake my hand. Nepotism I had expected, but I was dismayed when she re-introduced the other applicant saying, “And you’ve met Mary Beth’s niece, Meda Amos. She’s been helping out temporarily.”

We didn’t shake hands.

Once we were seated at the kitchen table, Mrs. Bryant began by explaining, “Mary Beth’s been working in retail, but she’s really been looking for something more stable.”

“And I’ve come in a few times as temp help for Mother over the years,” Mrs. Trentam said. She was a younger version of her mother, well-built and just starting to go a little thick around the waist. Her hair wasn’t grey yet, but it gave away her age all the same. It was styled with such exacting detail that she must have worn the same hairstyle for the last fifteen years. That or it was a wig.

In a tone of mournful confidence, Mrs. Bryant said, “Meda’s been out of work for about two months now. On welfare. I used to have full-time help, but she quit this August and I never hired anyone to replace her. It’s better to have two people steady. It’s a big house.”

I considered all of it unnecessary information. My personal policy toward most of humanity resembles the Army’s policy regarding homosexuals. I won’t ask; please, don’t tell me.

“I’m sure you know best, Mrs. Bryant,” I caught myself saying, for the third or fourth time in ten minutes. Meda sat to my right at the kitchen table, pretending to sip her coffee, although I could see the level in the cup hadn’t gone down at all. Her serenity had a small chink in it.

If the lovely, shy creature tucked under God’s arm in the Sistine Chapel ceiling fresco of Creation was intended to be Eve, she was nothing but a pale ghost of her Talmudic precursor. Meda was the darkly illuminated incarnation of Lillith, one of Adam’s earlier wives, whom he repudiated for wanting to be on top during sex. As though she could read my mind, Meda glanced at me before I could look away. Her eyes were blacker than my coffee and just as liquid.

Based on my inability to look at her with anything like indifference, I knew it was a horrible idea to have her working in the house full time, but I agreed to it. I also agreed to the salaries Mrs. Bryant suggested. I would have agreed to almost anything to bring the interview to an end.

“You’ll need to get the information to give the accountant for taxes,” Mrs. Bryant said. “Or I could call the accountant.” She was thinking of unanswered phone messages when she stressed the matter of paperwork. I couldn’t be trusted.

Once they were gone for the day I wandered around the house, feeling like a time traveler. In my grandmother’s sitting room, the same lace curtains hung against walls not papered, but hand-painted in complimentary stripes. The furniture was all upholstered in the same shades of blue. I half expected to find her at the piano, absently picking out a song with one or two fingers. I wasn’t afraid of ghosts; as far as I knew, I was the only person who ever died in the house.

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My publisher, Ken at Stairway Press, sent me pictures of the folks who are working today to put together book packages. The book, plus a press release, is going out the door to reviewers. 130 copies in all are going. Check it out!

That's a lot of books!

They seem like very nice people, if a little fuzzy. ;o)

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Now that I have this pile of advanced reader copies taking up space on my dining room table, I need to start giving them away. The cats said I had to, as they’re not willing to share the table with my books. So, here’s the deal. I’m giving away the twelve (12!) copies of the book seen in the following picture. That includes the top copy where I scattered cat treats to lure the cats into posing. It may smell a bit fishy, but it’s a free book! I’ll be happy to autograph the twelve copies in any way the winners see fit.

Sippy grudgingly deigns to pose with my book fort

Additionally, I’m giving away 20 bookmarks as secondary prizes.

Oooooh, book swag!

Now, there are a couple of ways you can enter, and each one gives you an additional entry. First and easiest, you can Like this blog post. Almost painless. (Unless your mousing hand cramps up, which I hope it doesn’t.)

However, if you’d like to enter the giveaway multiple times, come visit me over on Facebook.  There you can see the full array of things that will get you more chances to win. You can Like my author page on FB, follow my blog, follow me on Twitter, retweet the giveaway, and you can add the book to your to-read list on Goodreads.

The contest o-fficially begins at midnight tonight and runs for a full week.

About the book:

Bernie Raleigh fails at everything he touches. The victim of a kidnapping for ransom as a child, Bernie has spent his adult life trying to avoid being noticed. That’s impossible once he inherits his grandfather’s enormous fortune.

The inheritance comes complete with a lot of obligations, a mansion, and a problematic housekeeper named Meda Amos. Beauty queen, alien abductee, crypto-Jew, single mother — Meda is all those things, and she may also be the only person who can help Bernie survive his new and very public life.

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I suppose it’s official now: my book really is being published. And I have a photo of a book fort with a cat to prove it. As many people before me have ascertained, it’s just not real until you have enough copies of your book to build a pyramid. Stay tuned. I’ll have details on how you can win a copy soon.

Sippy deigns to pose with my book fort

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