Elisabeth Naughton – Easter in August

This kicks off my first summer Easter Egg hunt. My friend Elisabeth Naughton has a book out this week; it’s called STOLEN HEAT. In celebration of this occasion, we’re doing an Easter Egg hunt. Stolen Heat At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, what does that entail?

Well, Elisabeth has given me a question that you need to answer. The info can be found on her website, which means you need to do some reading. Here’s what you need to find out:

What’s the name of the antiquities gallery in Miami that is central to all the Stolen books?

Once you have that answer, email me at ann.aguirre at gmail.com. Then post a comment here saying, “I visited Elisabeth’s site & I’ve entered” (or some variant thereupon; you don’t have to use those exact words). That way, I have a tidy list to make sure I don’t lose any entries in cyberspace or my spam filter. Note: under NO circumstances should you post the answer in comments.

The prize? A copy of Elisabeth’s amazing STOLEN HEAT. You know you want this book. If you enjoy adventure romance and liked the Indiana Jones movies, then you won’t want to miss this one. The contest kicks off now, and will wrap up next Wednesday at midnight. Winner will be announced on Thursday morning.

Then next Friday, I’ll be a running the Lauren Dane Easter Egg hunt, and you don’t want to miss that either. LAID BARE is her best (and hottest) work yet. She just keeps getting better.

And game on!

Special reader profile: Daniel

If you aren’t aware of the context of this profile, let me share it with you because you need to know the whole story. He contacted me a while back because he wanted a copy of Blue Diablo, but he couldn’t buy the ebook in the UK. (That’s because it hasn’t been released in the UK yet, and Orion Books has the rights. Books one and two will be released back to back next spring in England.) He also mentioned he reads books aloud to his wife because she can’t hold them. I got a little tearful because it’s so freakin’ sweet — and I offered to mail him a signed copy. I got that sent out, and just this week, I heard back from him.

He reported they clicked with the book and both really enjoyed it to the point that when they were getting close to the end, he had to read for three straight hours and his throat was sore. He said they both were converts to my work and couldn’t wait for the next one. It was one of the most touching letters I’ve ever read. I was moved to ask if I could interview him for my blog because I want people to know just how cool (and smart and articulate!) my readers are. Happily, he said yes, and so without further ado, I present to you, Daniel from the UK. (You’re going to love his writing; it’s just lovely, but you may tear up. I did.)

male profile(Note: this isn’t Daniel. It’s a graphic for a male profile. Get it?)
Where were you born?
Portsmouth on the south coast of England… but I didn’t stay there long. My folks moved to Jersey in the Channel Islands when I was a few years old and we stayed there till I got back from University (at nine miles by five, Jersey is too small to have a University of its own).

Where do you live now?
Edinburgh in Scotland. You see… I met this amazing woman, we decided to get married and thought Scotland would be a wonderful place to do it because of all the castles, distilleries and scenery. A few months after the wedding and honeymoon, I applied for a job in Edinburgh and got accepted so we moved. I still have memories of the removals guys hauling our stuff up the stairs with snow in their hair and on their shoulders as we wondered if we were mad moving from sunny Jersey to a place where it snowed in April!

What made you a book lover?
Well, there is quite an age-gap between me and my younger sisters and since my mum was a primary-school teacher she had what must have been a good chunk of the Schools Approved book list. My room was used for storage of it so I grew up with a wall-to-wall bookshelf. OK, some of it was a bit under my reading age but the first book that *really* sticks in my memory is the Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin. As (at the time) an only child, I had a lot of time for reading. As a young adult I moved to the usual swords-and-sorcery books at the local library and devoured trashy sci-fi and fantasy books by the arm-full. These days I favour Sci-fi (not Space Opera however) and Fantasy/Urban Fantasy (but avoiding the “high fantasy genre”).

Who are some of your favourite authors?
What, apart from Ann Aguirre? Well I suppose Terry Pratchett is pretty near to God. I seem to have a large number of Anne McCaffrey books (the Ships and also the Talents series mainly). Since I bought a Sony eReader, I have discovered the Baen Free Library and am devouring Mercedes Lackey at a great pace!

How long have you been married?
Sixteen years so far… and still counting. According to the list of Traditional Wedding Gifts, this year should have been Silver Hollow-ware. You know, silver vases and gravy boats? Well we reckoned a real leather cover for the Sony Reader from Oberon Designs was a good substitute!

What do you do for a living?
That is a tricky one… What I *did* for a living was work as a Computer Programmer and Software Tester, but my wife has been coping with MS for most of our married life so I started reducing my hours. A few years ago I stopped work and became her full-time carer which meant I was finally able to get rid of my suits and cut up my ties. That was a good day! We became car-free too and bought a good bicycle for me to use. Now, apart from my domestic duties, I make jam, sourdough bread and read books. On the subject of reading books, my wife cannot hold books and magazines herself, so I have taken on the duty of “living Audiobook”. I read out loud to her. We have a Christmas tradition of starting Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather in the first week of December every year. Having the eReader and access to a wide range of online books has increased what I can read to her. She has a few “desert island books” that she would take if she ever moved to a tropical island (you know, the ones with sun-shades, iced drinks and someone else to do the cooking, not the really wild abandoned ones). These get read more often than all the others.

If you could travel anywhere and money was no object, where would that be? And Why?
I would love to visit the Temple of Borobudur in Indonesia once. It looks amazing. Of course I would need a guide and a hotel with air-con (you did say someone else was paying, yes?). After that? Somewhere quite wild but within easy reach of all the important amenities. Say the west coast of Ireland or the Scottish Islands would do it quite nicely. Somewhere off the tourist track with amazing scenery.

What’s your most anticipated book release in the coming year?
What? Apart from finding Corine’s answer to the last question Chance asks her in Blue Diablo? We have all the Terry Pratchetts on auto-buy in hardback but I am also looking forward to reading the long-awaited (twenty-odd years?) sequel to The Deed of Paksenarion by Elizabeth Moon.

One question you didn’t ask me was “Where did you discover your first Ann Aguirre book?” I would have to say it was Blue Diablo, recommended in the MobileRead forums under Urban Fantasy. Then I found the excerpt in Fictionwise which hooked my attention. Of course the eBook was geographically restricted (bah!) but you know the rest.

I purposely didn’t ask any questions about me or my work because I wanted the spotlight to be on Daniel, but I must thank him for his kind words. I’m so pleased he agreed to the profile because I think he’s wonderful. Don’t you agree my readers are the best?

Jewel contest winner

So it’s Tuesday. The contest thread is locked. You know what that means, of course. Time to announce the winner!

Amanda T, come on down!

You need to email me your name & address at ann.aguirre at gmail.com. If you don’t respond within a week, I’ll draw another name. I have this lovely yellow ARC right here. *pets the arc* You know you want it.

To everyone else, thanks for playing.

A Jewel of a Contest

Yes, I punned. Punish me. I deserve it.

But before I go into the details of the contest, I have to show off this sexy reader sporting her Team Chance shirt. Doesn’t she look amazing? This is @fantasydreamer on Twitter and I linked to her blog above. I give her major props for getting a shirt to support young readers. So let’s give her a round of applause. Or if you’re a gaming nerd, you can “huzzah” for her in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

And moving on.

indiscreet You saw the word contest in the title. You know you did. So now I reward your patience with an explanation. During my Bacchanalian week at RWA, I met up with the delicious and delightful Carolyn Jewel more than once (at one point I was in her bed, and she was in mine on another occasion. Oh, the scandal! Yes, that’s yet another wondrous Jewel title. If you haven’t read it, you’re missing out.) At any rate, she gifted me with an Indiscreet arc, which I find beyond awesome. I devoured it at once, naturally, which means I want to share the goodness.

There are conditions, however. If you win this, you must commit to writing a thoughtful review of the book shortly before the release. That’s the first week of October. You’ll need to post it on your blog and Amazon. If you don’t have a blog, you can borrow mine. If you’re willing to do that, then I can totally hook you up with an arc.

To make things interesting, I will state that one comment equals one entry. However, you may NOT post back to back comments. No spamming. No random links. Each comment must have content that relates to something someone else said or be a question for Carolyn who may be kind enough to stop by. We can keep our fingers crossed, right? If I see back to back comments, I will discount all of that person’s entries. I am not obliged to tell anyone they’ve broken the rules or been disqualified. You just won’t win. Clear enough?

To recap: no spamming. No random links. Each comment must have content. No back to back comments. Talk to each other, okay? You have three days, which means I’ll post the winner on Tuesday. Play on!

The Method to My Madness

Most authors give away some swag. Pens, notepads, mugs, water bottles, mouse pads, and more. Giving away that stuff is just money tossed down a hole, and you often never know if it’s doing you any good.

Then I discovered Zazzle, where you can design your own swag, post it for sale, and other people can buy it. So if I design some Ann Aguirre mousepads and order 50 of them for a convention, I earn a commission on that, even on my own purchase. How cool is that? It’s sort of like a cashback rebate, I guess, and the more you order, the more the price drops, which is also awesome. I’ve decided I’m not going to order ordinary swag anymore. From this point on, it’s Zazzle only.

That way, any money I spend on promo, I get a little of it back, and I’m going to take that saved money and donate it to First Book. They’re a nonprofit organization who get kids hooked on reading. Since my childhood would’ve been immeasurably impoverished without my love for books, I think this is a very worthy mission. Obviously, anyone who takes a liking to something I have up on Zazzle is welcome to buy it, and the proceeds from each sale will go to First Book in entirety. I won’t be profiting from any of these things, but I wanted to do my promo in a different way, as I had been growing discontent with giving my money to various imprint companies. This is better for me. It makes me happy.

Not all of this stuff will have my name or website info on it. Sometimes I just get a funny idea for a product and I want to implement it. For instance, I’ve ordered 50 “recovering death girl poet” buttons for RWA, and they don’t have anything about me at all on them. I’m sure I’ll be adding stuff as we go along because I love designing stuff on Zazzle. I’m toying with the idea of making some kind of gamer geek button, but I did enough designing yesterday (I am so happy with how the Team Chance & Team Jesse shirts turned out! Spent ages finding good pictures for them.) And I need to work on Hell Fire today.

This post is mainly to explain the new widget in the sidebar. That’s why it’s there. Don’t feel pressured to click but if you do happen to find something you want, it will make some kids very happy.

Can of worms, redux

can of worms We hear a lot about author behavior, but we examine the behavior of people who read their books less often because there’s a commercial component in there, an assumption that buying a book brings a lot of entitlement: probably more than actually exists, in fact. If I buy a book I am entitled to the contents of that story. Not control over what an author writes or how he or she chooses to tell his or her stories. Are you with me so far? Good.

I’m going to set forth hypothetical situation.

Julie Q. Author writes a book. She sells it and gets it published. Most reviews are good. There’s one reader, let’s call her Melinda, who really hates this particular book. Melinda blogs about it. She visits everyone else’s blog and talks about all the reasons she hates it. She makes it a crusade to be the one-lone-dissenting voice in the wilderness. And that’s all fine, right? It’s her opinion.

However, it’s unrealistic to believe that Julie is never going to get wind of what Melinda has been saying. Well-meaning fans are likely to send her links and offer to inflict a smackdown on her behalf. If Julie is classy, she says, “No, I’m not acknowledging this. She has a right to her opinion.”

So far, everything is fine, correct? The world is operating as the world will.

But what about if Melinda starts hanging around Julie’s blog because Julie runs a lot of contests. Do you think Melinda should be asking for free stuff when she hates Julie’s work? How does Julie handle this?

More hot winners

BOUND BY YOUR TOUCH winner:
Jane

SCANDAL winner:
Paula

I also have more exciting news.

TWO of last week’s winners didn’t get in touch with me. Only Evan has his shiny new book at this point, so I am drawing two more names.

ALTERNATE MoTD winners:
Hockeyvampiress
Beverly

If these two don’t get in touch with me within a week, then I am giving up, and I will be super bummed that only Evan wanted his copy enough to email me. It’s an awesome book!

All winners contact me at ann.aguirre at gmail.com please. I need your names and mailing info.

Play on, players, and have a happy 4th.