Books

Time for serious hard-core thanks

It has been the craziest two weeks ever. I am humbled, grateful, and blessed by the response to my new book Forever Innocent.

A couple screen shots say everything:

Reached #46 on Amazon’s hot new release list, right next to my hero writer Nora Roberts.

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Apparently hit #4 in iTunes Australia while I was sleeping last night. I’m still #10 this morning.

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Hit #112 on Amazon, top 10/11 in categories.

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Best of all, we’ve made it halfway to our goal for this book in just 10 days. Whether that mean adopting a baby (which is SO expensive) or expanding the house to adopt older children siblings in need of home, we’re getting there.

This is a miracle, and absolutely thanks to you all, my friends and readers.

I am excited to move forward with the next book Forever Loved and to share it with you. Sign up to read excerpts as it goes along.

 

Forever Innocent is launched! And rocketing!

I am shocked and pleased and pinching myself hourly.

web-Forever-Innocent-3DSo, a funny thing happened on my way to releasing my book on October 1. The ebook versions had to go live a few days early so that all the amazing blogs posting reviews this week would have buy links.

But a couple very influential people (I’m looking at you, Mimi Strong!) noticed it was up and the Tweeting began! Before I knew it, my phone battery was dead from notifications and the book was selling like crazy.

So, yes, the book has been a top 500 book on Amazon for three days now. It’s hit the bestseller lists in Romance, New Adult, and Coming of Age. Who could ask for a better launch day! I get a message from a reader about every ten to twenty minutes, which is making work hard, but I’m loving every minute of it.

If you missed the book trailer, it’s in the sidebar on the left. What an amazing thing to get to put the names of almost 200 babies on hand-cut paper butterflies and shoot such an emotional scene from the book! I feel very very lucky to do what I love and to continue the journey that I began in 1998 when my first sweet baby Casey was lost to us.

Thank you!

amazon-buy itunes-buy nook-buy kobo-buy

 

Hundreds of paper butterflies for Forever Innocent!

Project Butterfly image

 

So many projects have sprung up based on my new book, that it’s hard to keep track of them all. Right now, I’m working on a joint effort of the book trailer and Project Butterfly, a social media movement to place butterflies on the pages of families who have lost babies to show you haven’t forgotten their little ones.

Hundreds of families have given their babies’ names to put on the butterflies that will be featured in the book trailer. We’ll be shooting this weekend, sweb-butterfly-pileo it’s your last chance to get a name in!

I had a half-dozen friends help me hand-cut the paper butterflies. Then I sprayed them, added the names, and we have begun the process of stringing them to prepare for the scene where Corabelle, the main character, walks through them as she did in the novel.

We’ll be shooting in three locations for the trailer. I’m super excited web-henry-cutto see how it all turns out!

The book won’t be out until Oct. 1, but here is a hint of the scene we will be portraying in the video. Corabelle has told Gavin, who left her four years ago during their baby’s funeral, that she can’t see him again. This is one of the ways he tries to get her back.

_________________________

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The blinds to my living room window were closed, so I carefully pushed a couple of the slats aside.

Unbelievable. I stepped back a minute to blink, then looked again.

In the trees outside my door, hundreds of colored paper butterflies hung from the branches. Their wings glittered in the sunlight, winking, the wires so thin as to almost be invisible, as though an entire flock of them had chosen this moment to breeze by my window.

I ran to the front door and wrenched it open so I could see it better. That’s when I noticed the neighbors walking through the butterflies and touching their sparkling bodies.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” An older woman I’d seen a few times cupped a bright blue one in her palm.

A younger girl in a red beret saw me and smiled. “They lead to your door.” She pointed behind her. “See, there’s just a few up there, and then they get thicker as we get closer to you.”

She held one close to her face. “These are all hand cut.” She glanced over at me. “Whoever did this for you spent a lot of time on it.”

I moved up the path again. White butterflies with iridescent sparkle gave way to pale blues, then pinks and gentle yellows, moving to minty greens and lavenders that shifted to plum and fuchsia and deep red and sapphire. I caught a movement at the corner of the building and we all turned to it. Gavin stepped out, as beautiful as I’d ever seen him, fresh and combed and wearing a crisp button-down shirt loose over khaki shorts.

My breath caught and the women murmured their appreciation as he came toward me, holding out his hands with another butterfly, a lovely, opulent eggshell blue. “One more,” he said and handed it to me by the slender wire. “For Finn.”

He held my hand as we both lifted it to the branch closest to the door and tied it around the slender limb. The other women moved away as I brought my palms to my hot cheeks. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Say you’ll spend the day with me.” He backed away, giving me space.

The setting was like a fairy tale, Gavin, looking so much like he had in high school, the trees and morning sun striking the glittering butterflies. A breeze wafted through, shifting the strings and making the bits of color dance among the falling leaves. I nodded; what else could I do? Each of these moments were new wonders, memories I could hold on to. Even if it all fell apart later, we would have this.

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Enter the Forever Innocent give away — $50 gift card to ANY store

web-Forever-Innocent-3DI’m super excited about the launch of my new novel Forever Innocent, a blend of baby loss story and contemporary new adult romance! As we get the countdown to Oct. 1 started, I’m giving away a very fun prize pack:

A $50 gift card to any store of your choosing
A crystal butterfly USB flash drive necklace preloaded with the ebook to Forever Innocent

If you get a chance to read the book, you’ll discover the importance of butterflies in the story — it’s a symbol many families associate with their angel babies.

So enter and win — you can come back and Tweet the giveaway as many times as you want!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’ll be at the Texas Book Festival

I’m super excited to be at the Texas Book Festival this year with Baby Dust and the prequel book, Stella & Dane.

It’s been an amazing year with Baby Dust. Thousands and thousands of copies out in the world. So many new friends. So many bloggers featuring the book. I have to pinch myself almost every day.

If you’re attending the book festival in Austin, you can find me easily at two times:

  • The Writers’ League of Texas is sponsoring a book signing at their booth in the festival tents for me on Sunday, Oct. 28 from 3-4 p.m. I will have all my books there.
  • I wil be hosting the Writerly Lunch on the Lawn from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday on the lawn of the Capitol behind the food tents. I’ll have signs up, plus my pink pigtails are hard to miss. Come say hello!

At the Texas Indie Authors booth I will have Baby Dust and In the Company of Angels, the memorial book for recording details of your pregnancy. I might end up doing a signing over there too, but right now I’m planning to step aside and let all the other awesome TIA authors have their moment since I will already have a signing time.

It’s exciting and amazing! I hope you say hello if you are there!

Stella & Dane: A Honky Tonk Romance is OUT!

Stella & Dane: A Honky Tonk RomanceNot long after my novel Baby Dust was out, readers immediately began writing me asking about Stella, the group leader who is a central figure in the book. Where did she come from? What happened to Dane? Why did she stay with him?

I knew Stella had a heck of a story to tell, so last November I went ahead and started writing the romance between her and Dane, when this Harley-riding bad boy roars into her small Missouri town and upsets the balance of the locals by dating too many hometown girls in too quick a succession.

But despite either of them—Stella with her determination to leave town for good, and Dane with his insistence on avoiding entanglements—their collision spirals out of their control.

Including Dane’s temper. He’s been on the bad side of too many of the town’s hot heads, and eventually trouble was going to erupt.

I’m so excited about the book and how it played out. I’ll talk more about it in the coming days, especially leading to the broader release in August, when the paperback will come out, and I’ll be on a ten-blog tour where hard-core romance reviewers will be chewing up and spitting out their opinions about my first actual romance. (I’m terrified!)

I hope you’ll go download the sample and see if it fits the sort of reading you like. Both of the authors who (so wonderfully!) endorsed Stella & Dane read it within a day or two and at least one early reader got through six chapters in secret bathroom breaks since she decided not to call in sick, which she regretted. I LOVE you guys!

Go see Stella & Dane on the Amazon book store!

 

 

 

INDIEpendence Day: A review of my fave indie book

As part of the IndiePendence blog hop, I’m writing a review of my personal favorite independently published book: A Dignified Exit by John J Asher.

In A Dignified Exit, Monroe is a painter living in rural Texas with a devastating secret. Rather than burden his aging small-town friends, he makes the decision to take this secret with him to Mexico and live out the rest of his life alone.

He leaves behind an ailing adult son, Robert, who spurns him one last time before Monroe goes, and an angry ex-wife who isn’t too sorry to see him gone.

Despite this, the reader learns to like Monroe, who seems a bit lost in his personal life, but determined and competent as he makes the move to Mexico.

His plans to stay alone are very quickly changed when he can’t help but intervene in a fight between a young couple that earns him a bloody nose. The girl, Angelina, ends up destitute and abandoned in Mexico. Monroe decides to take her in so she can earn wages as his help to get back to the States.

The book becomes an unusual romance, with Monroe knowing he can’t fall in love with the girl, as it’s too late for him.

The story has commercial undertones but a literary feel, so that the pacing never suffers under the weight of the beauty of looking at the world through Monroe’s artist eyes. We might linger on a meal, or a scene to be painted, but the story still moves as Monroe’s son comes to visit, tragedy inserts itself, and some of Mexico’s unusual citizens become players in Monroe’s drama.

As Monroe’s secret unravels and his relationship with Angelina spirals into something neither of them expected, Monroe and the reader will be reminded that any of us can find salvation through love, even when it is almost, but not entirely, too late.

Buy for Kindle

Buy Paperback

Discover more amazing indie books by visiting other stops on the IndiePendence blog hop.

 

The story behind Baby Dust

Fourteen years ago, a book saved my life. I had just lost my baby, inexplicably, when a sonogram five months into my pregnancy showed a motionless baby  floating in his amniotic sea. No one could give us a reason. They told us just to have faith, to hope, and to try again.

I didn’t have that faith. I didn’t have any hope. My life had become consumed by fear.

The book was Empty Cradle, Broken Heart by Deborah Davis. My then-husband and I read it together and worked through everything she told us about allowing ourselves to grieve.

In the years that followed, as I developed my own web site to help other women in the same predicament as me, I sold hundreds to thousands of copies of Deborah’s book. It was one of the few I could whole heartedly recommend. And I still do.

But publishing changed during those years. Books I read and suggested to grieving mothers became rarer. The midlist shrank, and with it, niche books like ones about miscarriage and stillbirth disappeared. I found I had little to tell these women to buy.

In 2007, I could see a big hole in the market but wasn’t sure what to do about it. I had been a journalistic writer all my life, but anything longer than ten pages was a stretch for me. Still, I knew there were women who needed stories that would help them, and the anthologies of anecdotes, while wonderful, all dealt with the acute stage of grief—the actual miscarriage and its immediate aftermath. My site was almost ten years old and no one was helping the women over the long haul, most especially those who never had children at all.

And so, I started a little blog (it is still up!) where I asked women for their stories. As I put together the characters in Baby Dust, I took those real accounts of pain and despair, and success and joy, and shaped what I hoped would be something that would not just tell the story of loss, but of surviving it.

Many times along the way, I didn’t think the book would go anywhere. The agents I submitted to believed in the book, and complimented the story and the writing and the message. But it was too small a market. A publisher wouldn’t want it. It wouldn’t sell well enough. All I heard was, no, no, no, no.

So I did the only thing I knew to do. I started my own publishing company. And since then, Baby Dust, and another title I put together, a memorial book for babies for whom traditional “Baby’s First Year” books would never work, have been the basis of my new life.

Since I published Baby Dust in 2011, I’ve had the amazing pleasure of corresponding with Deborah Davis about her book and mine. When I see on Amazon our two books “frequently bought together,” I am overwhelmed by gratitude that she was there to lead me through my dark days, and that with her help, I could move forward to help women through theirs.

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Learn about Stella & Dane, two characters from Baby Dust who got a book of their own, to be released July 15, 2012!

Dust Bunnies appear in the wild — kindergarten wild!

This morning I was walking Elizabeth to the bus when a little girl chased me down to say, “I colored my bunny!”

I was about to nod politely in the way you do when children say random things, when she unzipped her backpack to show me my own character, Mel, delightfully rainbow’d and eyelash’d. Obviously this child had attended my author visit the day before for Dust Bunnies: Secret Agents.

Before Elizabeth could spill the beans that Mel was a tough bunny and would be unhappy in all that crayon mascara, I had her pull out her phone and snap a shot of the girl’s colorful depiction of my bunny. What a great start to the day!

I’ve been lucky to read Dust Bunnies: Secret Agents to four kindergarten classes over three days. We had tons of fun talking about where dust bunnies hide, and what happens when our toys go missing and who might have taken them. We also talked about how old myths used to explain why the sun rose and set, and how stories like Dust Bunnies are like new myths to explain things like where our socks go!

We had tons of fun, and I still have many more classrooms to go, plus the official Dust Bunnies launch will be open to the public at the super cool baby store in Round Rock called Baby Earth on Thursday, May 10 just after school at 3:30 p.m.

I feel very lucky and blessed this week!

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