Time Traveler looking for a Good Time

x0 tshirtI truly appreciate the friends, relatives and strangers who for one reason or another have read through my novels before publication and offered suggestions and back-up proofreading. After I published c3 I came upon a way to say thanks. I made t-shirts.

It seemed like kind of a goofy thing to do, which I suppose is why I liked the idea so much. I didn’t want the shirts to contain blatant advertising — that’s not exactly a gift, is it? — but rather to be something fun that tied into the whole 46. Ascending collection idea. I finally settled on the shirt shown above, inspired by the first novel in the collection, x0.

Well, it’s a year later and now I’ve got thirteen folks reading the almost final version of the soon-to-be-published novel d4. Nine are first time beta readers. Eight are people I’ve never met in real life and probably never will. How does one thank nine women and four men with ages that range from early twenties to late sixties and who call six different countries on three continents home?

tshirtEasy. You send them a t-shirt. At least I hope that the shirt to the left, inspired by the novel z2, will make them every one of them smile and will even start a few interesting conversations for each of them.

Yes, I would like to do a t-shirt for the intermediate novel y1 as well, in a suitable chameleon shade of orange, but the right tag line just would not come to me so I skipped on to the next book.  Perhaps someday a clever reader will suggest the perfect words. And of course there will eventually be a green tee inspired by the intrepid Teddie of c3.

Those who have heard me complain about how much I hate marketing my books may notice how much fun I am having creating these little thank you gifts. It’s true. I like doing this. It goes to prove that there at least some marketing skills that even a strong introvert like me can embrace.

(For more on this, check out my thoughts on using family and friends as beta readers and my observations about whether strangers make the perfect beta readers instead..)

z2 goes on tour

The fine folks over at Reading Addiction are hosting a virtual book tour for me that starts today.  They have a great site with giveaways associated with many of the books they promote and are well worth visiting. If you drop by, you can also enter to win a paperback copy of both x0 and y1 and a gift Kindle copy of my newest book c3.

The schedule for the tour is:

April 15 – Fantasy Book Lane – Excerpt
April 16 – Word to Dreams – Excerpt
April 18 – My Devotional Thoughts – Guest Post
April 19 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Excerpt
April 20 – Coffee Break – Guest Post
April 21 – Indie Authors You Want to Read – Excerpt
April 22 – A Life Through Books – Review
April 23 – Mythical Books – Interview
April 24 – Always Jo Art – Guest Post
April 25 – My Reading Addiction – Interview
April 26 – Avid Book Collector – Excerpt
April 27 – Clutter Your Kindle – Guest Post
April 29 – Texas Book Nook – Excerpt
April 30 – Shelf Full Of Books – Review
May 1 – Pure Jonel – Review
 May 2 – Chuckles Book Cave – Excerpt
May 4 – The Book Faery Reviews – Guest Post
May 5 – Mommasez... – Review
May 6 –Must Read Faster – Excerpt
May 7 – Mismatched Bookends – Review
May 8 – Rythem Poets – Review
May 8 – Read It Write – Excerpt
May 9 – D’eBook Sharing Reviews – Guest Post
May 9 –RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

Please visit at least one of these sites and leave a comment anywhere along the way!

Wearing the confederate flag as part of a costume

I don't think so

I don’t think so

As a resident of the deep south for over half of my life, I have strong feelings about the confederate flag. I believe that there is no place for it in the modern world other than as an historical item. It represents not only the enslavement of the ancestors of many southerns, but it also represents decades more of their mistreatment. My views on the subject are part of the plot in z2 and I am glad to see this more empathetic view becoming more accepted by southerners of all races.

A friend who knows my beliefs on the subject sent me this question posed in Teaching Tolerance, fall 2013, a publication of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
hillbillynerdOur school sponsored a “Redneck Day” during spirit week. An African-American parent complained about a student wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate battle flag. It was all in fun. Any advice?
SPLC responded: One of the most important principles for school leaders is a version of the doctor’s oath to do no harm. A corollary might be: Don’t poke fun at anyone. Yet for spirit week, in the hope of promoting unity, schools routinely sponsor events that rely on stereotypes – encouraging students to dress like nerds, rednecks or hillbillies. When school leaders approve such plans, they invite students to take lightly things that should be taken seriously – stereotypes, slurs and powerful symbols. Our advice is to consider initiating a dialogue among students about the power of symbols and find ways to bolster school spirit without drawing on divisive stereotypes.

bankerI found this interesting. Years ago my teen-age daughter chastised me for using the term “trailer trash” to describe how a place looked. It had never occurred to me that it was pejorative, but of course it is. Over the years I have come to believe that no group deserves to be lumped together and judged as one, whether I tend to like people from the group or, like the banker pictured here, they are less likely to have my sympathy.

In fact, the “don’t poke fun at anyone” suggestion above is wise, even though the idea of a “spirit day” at a school sounds so harmless. The truth is that whether it is dressing up as nerds, wall 30 Rock - Season 7street bankers, or dumb blondes — you are in fact making fun of somebody. And much as I dislike seeing people wearing the confederate flag, I can’t really fault a kid for wearing it on a t shirt when instructed by the school to dress up like a redneck.  I mean it’s a little like asking kids to dress up as famous despots and then sending one home for using a swastika on his Hitler costume….. what did you expect?
Surely there are ways we as humans can enjoy camaraderie and a few laughs without it involving making fun of someone else …. surely ….

z2 out in paperback

There is something more permanent about a novel once it is printed on paper, and so it is a big moment when a tale that has lived only on machines now sets in your own two hands. Over the last few weeks my third and latest novel z2 came out in paperback and I still am gazing at it in wonder.

Let me be clear.  I do love my kindle. It is wonderful to be able to carry hundred of books with me on a trip, particularity seeing as traveling and reading are two of my very favorite things to do. And it is wonderful to be able to subscribe to a half dozen science fiction magazines for pennies a day and never have to decide whether I should throw any of them in the trash when I am done leafing through them, or whether I should add them to the giant stack of things I might read someday.

paperbackBut I also like books. I like to read floating in the swimming pool and sitting in the sun and when all electronic devices have to be turned off until the captain says otherwise. I like to touch and smell the written word, and it brings me no end of joy to see my own work in print.

If you are not a fan of e-readers and have considered reading z2, please check it out on Amazon here 🙂

Check here for news on y1 making it to the semi finals of a contest and here for news on x0 making it onto 1670 people’s to-read shelf on Goodreads.

More ways to read

z2 final May 2013Interested in reading z2 but don’t use a Kindle? Visit the new z2 on Smashwords where it is available in all sorts of formats you can download or read on screen.  Also check out z2 on Goodreads where you can get a pdf or an epub file for the first 75% of the book for free.

Coming Soon: z2 will be out in paperback at amazon.com June 16, 2013.

Check out the new cover

I’ve been working with Jennifer Fitzgerald at Mother Spider Marketing to redesign the z2 cover with a little more zing and a little less confusing combination of images.  I am very pleased with the result! Please check it out and let me know what you think.

new cover for z2

new cover for z2

 

Free today!

and tomorrow…..

z2 is having its free promo at Amazon.com Saturday and Sunday March 16 and 17.  You can grab a free kindle copy just by clicking here.