Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Do I Have a Brain?

I have a neurologist appointment today. I wonder if he'll tell me if I have a brain? :)

Speaking of brains, mine is most creative between 1-3 a.m. I don't know why. My best ideas come when I'm half asleep. Then, they keep me awake until I do something about them. Write them down, talk into a recorder - something. It's how I came up with the idea for THE LIST. It's how I used to write songs when I lived in Nashville.

How do you get your ideas?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Interview Me

If you participate in the Thursday 13 meme, you may have seen this interview last Thursday, but I wanted to post it anyway because it's so cute. :)

Interview with Carmen

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oh Excitement!

Two of my favorite authors on the planet have new books coming out! Like I need more on my TBR (to be read) pile (see tuesday's post). These will definitely move to the top of the list!

The first, Turn Coat, comes out April 7, and is written by Jim Butcher, author of the Dresden Files series. It's like Buffy the Vampire Slayer except a little more grown up. He released a prequel a few months ago, and I was slightly disappointed in that it was a graphic novel. I'm not a fan of reading in that format, and the story took me like 10 minutes to read. However, this is an actual book! Woot!

And then on June 23, Finger-Lickin' Fifteen comes out, the latest in the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich. She can't write these things fast enough for my voracious appetite!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday 13: Virginia Festival of the Book Report

Saturday was the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA. It was a long day.

1. We got up at 7 a.m. (on a SATURDAY!) and drove an hour to the home of my alma mater, UVA. (Where the lacrosse team is #1! Congrats to them!)
2. We unloaded all the books, balloons, displays and computers and set up our half-table at 8:45.
3. My table was in the atrium of the Omni hotel, so I got to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and glorious inside garden area.
4. I managed to peddle 7 books! Should you like to purchase one of your very own, you can get it on Amazon. (Kindle as well! A good use of any Amazon gift cards, I think.)
5. One woman took me up on my festival special (2 books for $25) so she was my customer of the day! She also asked to take a picture with me, for when I got famous. Ha! It was kind of cool. It could go to my head.
6. The authors next to me were wonderful to talk to.
7. First, there was Don Payne. He has written a book called A Legacy of Rural Virginia. He was a selling fiend, I tell you! Check out Don's Website
8. On my other side was William Minor. His great, great uncle has a UVA building named after him (Minor Hall), so I was immediately in awe. :) He is a musician and a writer. He plays 4-string guitar, among other instruments. You can check out his Website as well. Buy a CD or a book.
9. Next to Don was a table that was giving away books, trying to get people to write that elusive review! Check out iBookDB to catalog, rate, review and win books.
10. I met a few of my Twitter Tweeple this weekend as well. I met @Idleubry - selling a book called Be Careful What You Wish For - the story of Gwendolyn the Great, Savoir of Idlebury.
11. I also met friend-of-a-friend and Tweep @thebookmaven, Bethanne. She writes a book blog for WETA in D.C.(where she often gives away books to commenters), as well as her own personal blog.
12. The cover of Jeffrey Harris's book caught my attention, since it was an illustration of two people sitting on the steps of UVA's Rotunda. It's a story about a man who proposes to his wife On The Steps (the name of his book). She dies of breast cancer, and it's a story of his healing and journey. You can check it out here.
13. Brad Meltzer came into the Atrium lobby after his lunch speaking engagement to sign books. I caught a glimpse of the back of his head. The line for his autograph went out the door. That's going to be me someday, I promise. :)

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Photos from Virginia Book Festival and Charlottesville

Here's a slideshow of my table at the Va. Book Festival, and my walk around the Lawn at UVA reliving my college days. :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Own TBR Pile

I love to read. I think that's why I love to write so much.

In the last few weeks, I've been hearing about TBR piles (To Be Read). Book reviewers have TBR piles that probably stretch to the ceiling, and when you request a review, you should expect to go on the bottom of that pile. :)

My own TBR pile has increased exponentially over the last few weeks. I usually buy a book or two a month to read before I go to sleep at night, since Jim likes to read and won't turn out the light. ;) So I bought Charlotte Hughes new book, Nutcase. Then, I found out that Janet Evanovich had released a book that she had written a long time ago, so it was new-to-me, and I bought that one. Then, when I did my book signing at a local bookstore in Staunton, VA, (BookWorks) I wanted to support the store so I bought a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book called Glitter Baby. After that, I won a book by Denise Robbins called It Happens in Threes. Then, I did a radio show interview where the host, Rita Schiano, wrote me a wonderful review, and I want to return the favor and read her book, Painting the Invisible Man. I found a few books (which will be in Thursday's post) at the Virginia Festival of the Book this past weekend that I want to read. Plus, I got a free book from another vendor with the promise to write a review called The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. Gasp!

These days, with promoting my own book, my free time has dwindled. Thank goodness for my upcoming vacation for reading time. I have a 7-hour flight to Amsterdam and back, so that should take care of at least 2 books, if you include "sitting in the airport time." Then, maybe I'll share the love with some of these books and hand them to someone else to read in the airport when I'm done. Oh, and that's another book on my list - Rick Steeves Amsterdam, Brussels & Bruges. If you want to check them out, here are the Amazon links below.

Maybe I'll take on the review hat when I'm done and spread the review love. By the way, I love reviews on THE LIST as well, so if you read it, I'd appreciate you telling the world about it!

Monday, March 23, 2009

The Mind Is the First to Go

I forgot I had a contest running. Yes, that's right. I completely forgot. Until this weekend. Sigh. There's just a lot going on.

Anyway, the contest was for a $50 discount hotel card, and you could enter by leaving a review for THE LIST on Amazon. When the contest ended, I had 11 Amazon reviews, and the hotel card goes to the very first person that wrote a review.

Jim pulled MELLI's name out of his hat. Woot!

Though Melli won the prize, I have a special place in my heart for each person who wrote a review for me. You know, I can never get enough of them. So, if you still have a review to write, don't hold back. Let me have it!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday 13 - Virginia Festival of the Book

I will be attending the Virginia Festival of the Book in Charlottesville, VA this Saturday at the Omni Hotel, which is on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. I'll be exhibiting, selling and signing THE LIST. It's a big day for me, because visiting Charlottesville is like going home, because for 4-years at the University of Virginia, it was home. (And don't anyone start on me about not being in the March tourney.) So this week's list is things I'm looking forward to on Saturday.

13 Things I Look Forward to On Saturday:

1. The Booksigning Okay, that's obvious. I hope to network with lots of people, and sell some books!
2. Lunch at Bodo's Bagels: Some of my online friends have already heard me wax poetic about these bagels. They truly are all that. My fave? Onion bagel with cream cheese. Yum.
3. Seeing the Rotunda: No trip to Charlottesville for a UVA alum is complete without paying respects to the Grounds (which is what we call the campus) and the Lawn with the fabulous Jefferson-designed Rotunda. Photo op!
4. Feeling Like I'm Home: Aside from my parents' house, this is where I always feel like I belong.
5. Having a "Tweet Up": I've connected with quite a few authors and those in the publishing world through Twitter. (follow me @carmenshirkey) Several will also be in attendance, and I'll get to put a face with each Twitterer!
6. Spring in Charlottesville: Blooming dogwoods, and lots of sneezing allergies. :)
7. Twittering My Day: Speaking of Twitter, I plan to post updates on the festival throughout the day. Barring Internet complications.
8. Possibly Seeing Brad Meltzer: He's one of the author guests at this year's festival. I don't have tickets to his luncheon, but I keep hoping that maybe he'll come check out his competition . . . I mean the other authors. ;)
9. The Downtown Mall: I had to do a school project at UVA when I was in architecture school (yes, me. I changed majors after 1st semester thanks to a sexist professor, my one regret) where we studied the architecture of the Downtown Mall. It's really beautiful, and houses a lot of unique shops and galleries.
10. Dinner on the Downtown Mall: The restaurants change all the time. So I don't know which one we'll visit, but it will depend on what we're hungry for then.
11. Driving with Jim I know it's corney, but I just like spending time with my S.O. A one-hour drive means dedicated time. Even if we don't talk.
12. Networking: I hope that I can make contact with the right people. It's all about who you know.
13. Success!: I just know that this is the right time for this book.

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In Case You Missed It

My Blogtalk Radio show last night was a blast to do. The host was charming and professional, and I even wrote a limerick in honor of St. Patrick's Day!

If you missed it, no worries. You can still hear the show by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Radio Interview


To celebrate, Jim and I are heading out for a green libation of some sort for happy hour, and then I'll be appearing on a Blog Talk Radio show to talk about THE LIST (no worries, only one or two drinks before hand.)

The last time I was on the Blog Talk Radio, the show was a little late for my East Coast friends. This one may be too early for my West Coast friends, but hopefully, some people will listen/chat with me!

Tonight at 8:30 PM EST

The call in number for guests is (347) 327-9158 (if you'd like to call in with a question, or if you've read the book and you want to give me a "holla!")

Or, you can visit http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rita to listen online and participate in the chat room.

If you chat, let me know, I'll try to send out a personal "holla!" to you!

Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Authors Promoting Authors

There are some genius people out there on the World Wide Web. Tina-Sue Ducross is one of them. She thought that we authors need to help each other out, and created the Authors Promoting Authors Website. Those who are promoted are supposed to promote the author that came before them!

THE LIST is the book featured today. Hop on over and take a look!

While you're there, you may want to check out some of the other books. Such as the following:

THE parenting handbook : compassionate, practical, and deeply wise ...

A child is possibly life's greatest miracle; raising one is possibly life's greatest challenge. But fear not – help is at hand!

From conception to early childhood, Spiritual Parenting, the first in a series by Hay House India will steer you through this life-altering journey. Marrying spirituality with tried-and-true advice, it offers simple but enormously effective strategies on bringing up children in this crazy world that we live in – and staying positive and sane through it. 

In this indispensable guide, Gopika Kapoor, a writer and mother of twins, shares with you all that she has learned both as a parent herself and as a close observer of other parents. From managing your toddler's tantrums to advice on kiddie birthday parties, and from suggestions on positive discipline to ideas on how to connect with your child, she provides not just solutions, but also useful tips on pre-empting the common problems that every parent encounters in bringing up Baby. However, this book is much more than a primer on how to raise happy kids; it is also about how to be happy parents. In her typically reassuring, compassionate tone, she shows us how to tackle the physical and emotional difficulties we face as parenting adults – post-partum depression, sleeplessness, strains on spousal relationships, and much more – with suggestions for body and soul based on practical experience and spiritual lessons.

This book will not tell you how to deal with colic or cold sores; it will not give you recipes for kiddie snacks, nor will it tell you when your baby's shots are due. Kapoor shares what she has learned with other parents like herself, as who collectively struggle to create an atmosphere of normalcy for their children in this world of greed and materialism, competition and commercialism. She does not advocate any religion or practice, nor does she claim to be a child-development specialist or psychiatrist. She is a writer and a mother, and what she offers are simple solutions that have worked for her, and are guaranteed to work for parents today.
Focused on both parent and child, Spiritual Parenting is an invaluable compendium of common sense and spiritual wisdom. Read this one book and you'll see how one of life's greatest challenges can also be one of its greatest joys ...

The book has debuted at #8 on the Bestseller Chart. http://www.thehindu.com/mp/2009/02/03/stories/2009020350160400.htm

About the Author
Gopika Kapoor is a writer and communications consultant. She has written for a number of leading publications, including The Times of India, The Indian Express, Elle, Seventeen India, and Andpersand Magazine, and has been consulted on various communications initiatives with Child Relief and You (CRY), Point of View, CREA, and Save the Children, Sweden. Gopika lives in Mumbai with her husband Mohit, a corporate lawyer and life coach, and her twins, Vir and Gayatri. ISBN: 978-8189988531 Price: Rs.200/- Format: Paperback

Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency, the Indian representative of the Wade & Doherty Literary Agency UK is proud to launch Gopika Kapoor’s first in a series of books on parenting. Literary Agents are a new concept to Indian publishing but a vital link between authors and publishers. 

Sherna Khambatta Literary Agency

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Listen to Me, People!

On the radio, anyway.

I'm going to be on BlogTalkRadio tonight, and again on Tuesday.

BlogTalkRadio is an Internet-based radio format that allows you to either call the number and listen in, or listen to the show streaming on the Web. There's also a chat room (that opens during the show) where you can participate and ask questions (please? for me?)

Saturday night's show information is listed below. I'll not confuse you with the info for Tuesday's show until Tuesday. :) Which is St. Patrick's Day, btw!

Author Spotlight
Call-in Number: (347) 308-8612
or chat online at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/Adrienna-Turner

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thursday 13 Friendship Poems

You may or may not know, this blog is the home of my new novel, The List (buy it on Amazon!).

This week's 13 has nothing to do with my book. Are you shocked? Well, it also doesn't have 13 items. I'm breaking all kinds of rules today. My friend Monica sent me this in an email, and I thought it was funny enough to share.

13 (or 9) New Takes on a Friendship Poem:
Are you tired of those sissy friendship poems that never come close to reality? Well, Let's try this my way, just the stone cold truth of our great friendship.

1. When you are sad: I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!!
2. When you are blue: I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.
3. When you smile: I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.
4. When you are scared: We will high tail it out of here.
5. When you are worried: I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse it could be until you quit whining, ya big baby!!!!
6. When you are confused: I will use little words
7. When you are sick: Stay the hell away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.
8. When you fall: I'll pick you up and dust you off-- after I laugh my ass off!!
9. This is my oath: I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask; because you are my FRIEND
10. Hope
11. you
12. enjoyed
13. it!

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Small Press Month

Did you know that March is Small Press month?

Now, I love my Barnes and Noble as much as the next book addict, but the big chain stores can sometimes run the little guys out of town. (Remember Fox Books putting the Shop Around the Corner out of business in "You've Got Mail?")

So maybe once a month - or more - you could frequent a little-guy store. I did my book signing below at such a place, BookWorks, in Staunton, VA. They're the only bookstore left in the city limits, and the big guy - Books a Million - is really their only competitor. So do the same, look around your neighborhood and find an independent bookstore.

You may also want to check out an independent or self-published author. Now where would you find one of those? ;)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Signing Update

Well, Saturday afternoon in Staunton, VA was just the most beautiful day. Best day of the year so far (thank goodness it's only March.) It was the perfect day for people to be out and about downtown, and brought some foot traffic into the bookstore.

I sold 3 books to people I didn't even know, by my sheer friendliness and self marketing. ;) Another book to the mom of a friend. So 4 books in 2 hours, not so shabby. Plus, some other people came by with their OWN COPIES and got a signature & chatted.

Here are some photos :)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Another Great Review!

I've got to be honest. When I get the emails from book reviewers telling me that they've posted their thoughts, I get a little nervous. What if they hated it? What if they just feel "eh" about it?

So far, I've had this feeling with all three of the professional reviews I've received. And so far, I've been pleasantly surprised when I read the reviews!

Today's review came from Kay's Bookshelf. Here's an itty bitty bit:

"All in all the book was a fun read that I have quite enjoyed. Recommend it? Chick lit, light reading, funny at times. It reminded most of Kinsella's books, so if you like the genre you might want to try this one too :)"

Sophie Kinsella? She compared me to Sophie Kinsella? Well goooo-lly! That's quite the compliment, seeing as she's a bestseller x10!

I know you're now going to want to hop on over to Kay's site and leave a comment!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Thursday 13

You may or may not know, this blog is the home of my new novel, The List (buy it on Amazon!).

Being a writer isn't all cupcakes and cookies, you know. There are some hard lessons to be learned. Here are 13 of mine.

1. Rejection is a hard pill to swallow. Hey, I expect rejection, but it can start to get you down.
2. Books don't sell themselves. Oh man! Shoot. :)
3. You have to spend money to make money. I'm trying to be smart about spending, I'm not paying any agents (bad, bad), I'm not paying for any reviews (can they be honest reviews if they're bought?), etc. I'm paying travel fees to attend signings and conferences and such.
4. You don't make money as fast as you spend it. :)
5. I didn't do this to make money, but I would like to not see those red, negative numbers in my balance sheet.
6. Getting someone to write a review is akin to getting a cat to do anything. Both are extremely difficult.
7. Some people are incredibly lazy, or dense, or both.
8. Some people can be outright cruel with their "constructive" help. Just like Simon and Paula on AI, I think there's a balance somewhere between being rude and lying to me to make me feel better.
9. Four star reviews are great! However, they still make you twinge for a five star. :)
10. Everyone's question to me is "When will you write the next one?" Dude, when would I have time, while I'm trying to sell this one?
11. There has got to be a better process for getting an agent. The current "send a query letter to a perfect stranger, they don't read it, receive rejection" just isn't a great way to go. :)
12. Even when you get an agent, I'm told the work doesn't stop. :)
13. Agents whine a lot. Authors whine a lot. Everyone whines. :)

Home of the new Thursday 13

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Who is the best writer you know?

Writers are no different than any one else. We put our pants on one leg at a time - even though we'll try to put them on two legs at a time just to have a funny story to write about later.

We also have heroes in our field; people we look up to.

I, for one, have always thought that Joss Whedon is one of the best writers of our time. While not a novel writer, as a screenwriter, he's still a WRITER. I find his dialogue to be funny, touching and REAL. Who is Joss Whedon? Holy Cow! He's only the writer/creater of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly and now Dollhouse. What I wouldn't give for 10 minutes in his brain.

As far as writers of fiction novels, I think one of my heroes would be Janet Evanovich. She also writes humorous dialogue well, and knows how to move you through a story. Her Grandma Mazur character is possibly one of my favorite.

Non-fiction hero goes to Bill Bryson. I can not read his books on airplanes, for fear of snorting something out of my nose when I laugh at what he's written. His book, In a Sunburnt Country was my funny bible for my Australia trip.

Who do you look up to, either in your chosen field or mine, or any really?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I always hated that Morisette song "Isn't it Ironic" because I didn't think that any of her examples in the song were irony. It was just crap. Rain on your wedding day isn't irony, it's Mother Nature. etc., etc.

Irony is being a writer and not being able to think of anything to write on your blog.

I think the snow outside, and our record low temp of 12 degrees this morning has frozen my brain.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day

Ever wish that you looked forward to snow days like kids do? Like you used to do when YOU were a kid? Snow days as an adult mean worrying about the morons on the road going faster than they know they should, shoveling sidewalks, cleaning off your car, etc. Well, today (barring a loss of power and no heat afterward) I'm going to go out and relive my youth. I'm going to play in the snow, I'm going to build a snowman, and I'm not going to even think about shoveling or cleaning off the car. Richmond seldom gets snow, much less the 7 inches that are still building in the backyard.

The good news is that this Saturday it's supposed to be back up into the 60s - it's good news because I have my very first in-person book-signing event, and I think more people are likely to show up if it's a nice day. Apparently, there's already an order for a book! Woot. :0)

So on this, my first snow day in years, I ask any authors out there to share their booksigning experiences, so I know what to expect. :)