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old-school post

old-school "post"

Back when I was a teacher, I instituted “Helper Fridays: Saving Your Sanity One Tip at a Time” on a small chalkboard by the door in my classroom. Students would come up with an organizational tip and post it. “Posting,” back in the day, meant writing it in chalk on slate. Yes, I’m that old.

Today’s Helper Friday tip: If you follow more than one or two blogs, this is the best way to organize them. Sign up for Google Reader (you’ll need to sign in with your Google account; if you don’t have a Google -gmail- account, you have to register for free but it’s only the one time) and tell it which blogs you like. Once you do that, you’ll find all your blogs listed in one place. Type Google Reader into the address bar, et voila. It lists all your favorite blogs and you can sample the ones you like. You know what? I just did a lousy job explaining this. Do yourself a favor and read Elizabeth’s post about Google Reader. She’ll walk you through it.

One of my favorites? Shrinking Violet Promotions, a blog for introverted authors looking to promote their books. And lookee there. Today’s guest blogger is moi! Blathering on about you-know-what. Happy surfing!

Win a trip to Willow Lake! I’m not kidding. Check it out here: http://www.eharlequin.com/swinvitation.html?swid=100006

Win a trip to Willow Lake!

In further news about my apparel, 5000 sailors saw me in my jammies when an aircraft carrier went by my house.

30am

It’s pretty common to see a carrier in this part of the world, but I also live in a spot where the carrier can see
me

carrier

Which is a tad disconcerting when you are standing in your yard, blinking at the dawn, having been awakened by an insistent puppy with a very small bladder.

A passing aircraft carrier is surprisingly quiet, even surrounded by tugs and Coast Guard vessels. It glides by, barely leaving a wake, and on a very still morning at about, say 5:30a.m., sound easily carries across the water.

But I still think Navy guys are hot.

Dockside contestToday’s the day! The wonderful folks at Bookreporter.com are giving away another crop of brand new, hot-off-the-presses books, and Dockside is one of them. You can’t beat that!

Some of my favorite authors are featured in this contest–Lisa Tucker, Lisa Jackson, Marian Keyes, Meg Cabot–and others that look fantastic, and I’ll surely be trying them. This week, Dockside is the featured title. Enter to win this book and a sack full of other great reads by submitting your name here. Good luck!

Real quick–there’s an excerpt of Dockside online here. Let’s just say we all have a Shane Gilmore somewhere in the past. Here’s hoping he stays there. Enjoy!

Book people. You know the type. They read. They remember, they have their favorites, they have a gift for matching up books and readers. They can tell you where they were when they first read [fill in groundbreaking title here]. They know exactly where a certain book is shelved, even if it was put there months and years ago.

You’ll be happy to know that the people in charge at Barnes & Noble are extreme book people. I had a very happy meeting with Tommy Dreiling, Antoinette Ercolano and Bob Wietrak in New York this week and I have to tell you, it’s a treat to sit down and visit with people whose careers are dedicated to selling books. Dating myself: I was able to share with them the fact that I’ve been a B&N customer since before there were B&N stores. As a student, I used to order from the B&N catalog every month. Bob & Tommy have worked for bookstore chains nearly all their adult lives and know them inside and out. Antoinette, too, and she has visited some 500 of the 800 B&N stores. You can mention “Bellevue, Washington” and yes, she’s been there. We are in very good hands.

And P.S.–I got to dine at two unforgettable restaurants: The Modern and Beppe. Not to be missed if you’re in Manhattan.

That’s entertainment–Levy Home Entertainment: I attended the Levy National Meeting last month. Outside of publishing, people might not be familiar with this firm, but it is one of the biggest players in the industry. And once a year, they have a meeting at a great resort. [Note: This year, the locusts were out in their 17-year cycle, which I’d never seen (or heard) before. These bugs are so huge and fly in such impressive force that they look like alien invaders. In fact, at the airport, they would periodically explain the phenomenon over the PA system, so people wouldn’t look out the window and panic that something very Old-Testament was taking place.]

Back to business–My publisher arranged for me to attend the Levy meeting. Think about it. A week of meetings completely dedicated to getting books into readers’ hands. Meetings attended by people at the highest level of publishing and book distribution, like Louise Burke of Simon & Schuster and Donna Hayes, president of Harlequin–every major publisher sent their top people. The workshops and seminars were designed to maximize the exposure of our book to readers. That’s what Levy Home Entertainment, based in Illinois, is all about. If you bought a paperback at a big discount store, chances are, it was placed there by Levy. Their main warehouse, in the appropriately-named Romeoville, is the size of an airplane hangar and staffed by the nicest people you’d ever want to meet. I know. I was lucky to meet them when I went to the warehouse to sign 6000 books. What 6000 books looks like

That’s not a typo. I signed 6000 books. Levy is going to distribute them to their accounts so 6000 readers can have a signed book. Then I rushed back to the hotel for–wait for it–a booksigning.Yes, I seriously signed 6000 books.

I didn’t know whether or not I could survive signing so many books. On my best day, I’ve written maybe 5000 words in longhand. But the Levy people made it easy. They had us set up assembly-line style so helpers would open the carton, sticker the book, open it to the title page and put it in front of me for my hasty–but legible–signature. Picture the candy-factory scene in “I Love Lucy,” and you get the idea. To make the time pass, we took breaks to dance to the incredibly cheesy disco music being piped into the room. We played with my screaming monkey slingshots. We guzzled bottled water. Tamar Kipper of Levy showed me some chiropractic exercises for hands and I am none the worse for the wear. There is something so special about meeting people whose entire job involves getting my books to readers. Also about attending a banquet with fellow authors Dave Barry, Carol Higgins Clark, Mary Jane Clark, Joanne Fluke, Laura Lippman, Ridley Pearson, Deanna Rayburn, JR Ward. We were all privileged to hang out with the Levy people.

God, I love this business.

what’s on my mind right now:

Join me on Facebook. You won’t be sorry.

I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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