I Like and I Don’t Like

I’ve been tagged by my sister, who is not really my sister but who shares the same first and last name as my sister (I’ll shutup now), the beautiful and talented Karen Harrington of Janeology and Scobberlotch fame.  I haven’t done a non-bookish meme in a long time but this one couldn’t be easier, and it made me think about the small things I enjoy and am grateful for on a daily basis.

The rules:  Fill in the blanks after each bold word and tag 3 friends.  Even I can do that.

I like book blogger get togethers.

I like Nature Valley Sweet and Salty peanut granola bars.

I like clean sheet day.

I like walking with my friend every morning.

I like when someone else makes dinner.

I like the peace in the hour before my family gets out of bed.

I like taking pictures of my kids.

I like watching American Idol.

I like Jim and Pam (and baby Cecelia Marie!).

I like the beach.

I like being outside.

I like eating dinner together when everyone is home.

I love hearing my girls laugh and get along with each other.

Today was a chance for a new beginning – a do-over.

I hate snobs.

I hate going to the dentist.

I hate feeling overwhelmed.

I hate termites.

I hate dishonesty and fuzzy values.

I hate when teachers give boatloads of homework.

I hate selfishness.

I hate seeing my daughters in pain.

I (secretly) like to eat lunch by myself (I borrowed this one from my “sister”- we are so much alike!).

I love when my family is happy and everyone gets along!

Okay… To the following three people, tag! You’re it!  Tell me what you like & don’t like (or tell me to take a hike!)

Wendy from Caribousmom

Care from Care’s Online Book Club

Susan from Suko’s Notebook

Contest Deadline Extended 24 Hours!

Last chance to win! The deadline for my July giveaways has been extended until midnight tonight, July 16th.

Karen Harrington, author of JANEOLOGY, had a birthday yesterday, July 15th (Happy Birthday, Karen!), and in celebration of her big day she generously offered to give away an additional copy of her book! So we will have TWO lucky winners of JANEOLOGY!  Comment HERE by midnight to get in on the fun.

And I thought it would be a good idea to extend my Hatchette Book Group giveaway as well, since it’s been buried several posts down during my vacation, so click HERE by midnight tonight for a chance to win TWO beach reads by Elin Hilderbrand, A Summer Affair and Barefoot!  Click on the Hatchette link for other giveaways of their books.

Good luck! I will be posting about a new contest in a few days, so stay tuned.

Guest Post and Giveaway: Overheard at a Booksigning with Karen Harrington

I frequently get asked what prompted me to write a story that starts with a mother who kills. It’s a fair question. If you told me five years ago that I’d be writing about this subject, I might have looked at you like you had banana peel shoes. (And if you do own a pair of banana peel shoes, I mean no disrespect, but I hope you have good insurance.)

Ultimately, I did write about the subject of maternal filicide, but not without a good bit of trepidation. Though JANEOLOGY is set in motion by this troubling crime, I decided that looking at the crime would be most compelling through the eyes of her spouse, Tom – who lived with her, loved her, and ultimately, heart-breakingly, was somehow unable to see the mental breakdown occurring right before his eyes.

As you might imagine, describing this story is even tougher for a debut author under the bright lights of a Barnes & Noble. It has been a steep learning curve for sure. Naturally shy, I bought every short sleeved turtle-neck I could find to hide the red nervous neck I knew would come when I asked someone to part with their hard earned money and take a chance on an unknown author. Like most things in life, with each description, with the meeting of each new book-buyer, I got better. (And even learned how to pitch differently to men and women, to relax and have fun.)

So thought I’d share some of the more interesting exchanges I’ve had in recent months.

Of my books on the signing table.

“Are these complimentary?”

Of the topic of filicide.

“I can’t read this. I read The Lovely Bones and I hated it.”

Of my pitch that my novel is about a man trying to understand his wife by way of understanding the family secrets and ancestors in her family.

“Oh, we all have black sheep in our family. My brother’s wife just left him and he’s now realizing it had something to do with her mother.”

Of my description of the book to a kind old man.

“Sounds good. Let me go ask my wife.”

Of the title.

“Oh, is this another book about Jane Austen?”

Of my offer to sign a book for a woman.

“Oh, are you the author?”

Of my newly confident introduction to the next person who approached my table, “Hi, I’m the author Karen Harrington.”

“Hello the author Karen Harrington.”

Of the chocolate mints on my signing table.

“What are these for?”

Me: Well, you know, fiction tastes better with chocolate.

Of the puzzle on my signing table.

“Why did you cut up your cover like that?”

Of the woman who ran over to my table with her hubby and told me her name was Jane.

Hubby: “If I read this, will I understand my wife better?”

Me: Uh, maybe. (nervous laughter) Here’s a bookmark.” (She leaves. Returns 10 minutes later.)

“OMG! OMG! My husband’s name is Tom!” (See, the couple in my book is Jane and Tom.)

Of my accidental penning “Very best pictures” (Doh! Should have written WISHES)

Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry. We were talking about pictures, and, well, ha ha…well, if I become famous, one day this will be very valuable.”

She: (eyes rolling)

Of me just standing there alone for a looooooong time feeling like a dork.

“So, I saw you standing here by yourself for a looooooong time. I’m a salesman. Make your best pitch in 60 seconds. Go.” (Yup. I sold him a copy.)


Number of signings so far: 5

Number of books sold: 71

Number of miles traveled: 156

Poorest results: 3 hours/3 books

Best results: Sold out – 25 books in 2 hours

Most useful signing tools: A smile, bookmarks and photo album including pics of my ancestors that served as genealogical inspiration for JANEOLOGY. (I would add chocolate mints, but I ate many of these myself, so…)

Times asked where person could find another book: 4

Funniest Ooops: When a bookstore manager introduced me over the store PA as Jane!

Biggest thrill: When a young girl told me she wanted to be a writer, asked my advice and would I please sign her bookmark.

Biggest book promotion lesson: Finally understanding my mentor’s statement, “There are many writers with talent, but few have the temperament to make a career of it.”

Ranking on the worth-it meter: Off the charts!!!!

Blogger Bio: Karen Harrington lives in Texas with her husband and children. She received a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at Dallas. She is the author of the legal thriller Janeology, and a children’s book, There’s a Dog in the Doorway, created expressly for the Dr. Laura Schlessinger Foundation’s “My Stuff Bags”.

Read an interview with Karen on J. Kaye’s Book Blog HERE

You can read a synopsis of Janeology from the publisher’s website HERE

I will be giving away my copy of Janeology to one lucky reader! Just leave a comment here by July 15th for a chance to win!

Guest Post: Judging a Book by its…. Trailer?

It was nice to learn that I was not the last human on the planet to discover book trailers! Yesterday’s Janeology post and trailer sparked a lot of discussion in the comments, so Karen Harrington, author of Janeology, offered to share a piece she wrote for her blog a while back about book trailers.  Thanks, Karen!

Judging a book by its…trailer?                       by Karen Harrington

Do you recall that great line from Sunset Boulevard where fading silent movie actress Norma Desmond defends her role in the movies? She cites her looks, her expressions and says, “You can’t write that down.”

It’s true. There are feelings one can convey through a look that the best writers would find hard to describe. So it’s only natural that the trend towards using cinematic features is now in vogue for bookselling. Book trailers arguably have the ability to convey dramatic elements of a story in ways a book jacket cannot.

Author Brenda Coulter disagrees that this is a good method for books however saying that most trailers are simple slideshows with a soundtrack. She also dislikes that so many of the trailers cannot be viewed by a huge percentage of Americans due to dial-up connection. Now, to be fair, Ms. Coulter wrote her opinion two years ago. The method has come a long way, baby!

The trailer for Ann Patchett’s latest novel Run shows an aqueous blue background with bubbles continuously floating over images of people, houses on the rich/poor ends of the spectrum and selected descriptive passages from the novel. The singular piano accompaniment to this trailer creates an inviting, if not subtle, undercurrent of mystery and secrets. You could probably view this trailer in a library.

By contrast author Caro Ramsey’s novel trailer for Absolution comes at the viewer full stop, with ominous images of knives and crosses bouncing across the screen in a shaky hand-held camera style, all set to an eerie single violin Silence of the Lambs-esque piece that would likely get you summarily shushed by a librarian.

I am intrigued by the very way images, music and ideas come together in less than five minutes to give a potential reader a sense of the book. And this new view into book trailers made me wonder: would we choose books the same way we choose movies – from a two-minute glimpse? Would you rather go into Barnes & Noble and scan several short videos to make your selection? Or do you prefer to scan the New Release table and thumb through the pages in hand?

Much like the current political environment where the key slogan of the day is “You Decide,” you can decide for yourself by viewing the trailers above, or even the one created for Janeology which is filled with haunting scenes of water imagery and dark family secrets, scored with music that will make your neck hairs stand at attention. (Fortunate author that I am, this trailer was created by one of THE inventors of the novel trailer art form, Kam Wai Yu, who has been developing this art since the 1980s.) 

Karen Harrington is the author of JANEOLOGY, the story of one man’s attempt to understand his wife’s sudden descent into madness and murder.

Janeology by Karen Harrington

It’s strange the way books come into our hands sometimes.  There was no way I was NOT going to read this book, because the author has the same name as my sister!  I ran across Karen Harrington’s name at Pump Up Your Book Promotion where she did a virtual book tour in May, and before long I was emailing the author to tell her of this odd coincidence with her name and wish her well with the tour.  She offered to send me the book, which I’ve been referring to as JANE-ology (Jane is the mother’s name in the book), but perhaps it’s Jay-Nee-Ology, which is more similar to geneology and would also make sense for this story.. I’m not sure.  Anyhoo, I started it yesterday and whipped through the first 60 pages-  let’s just say I *think* the kids had dinner and took baths before going to bed!  

Janeology has a book trailer, much like a preview for a movie.  Is this a new thing, or am I just stupid? Don’t answer that.  Let me rephrase it:  Am I simply the last to know about book trailers??  Anyway, it’s quite dramatic– check it out!