Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Readers are THE BEST! Part 4.5

Yes, I know what I said in my last post!  But technically this is part of Part 4...right?  I wanted to do this post for a special reader - those on Facebook know her as my administrator for the MVS Fans page and those on Goodreads know her as the Study Buddies moderator.  As you can see, she's very involved with my books and is one of my biggest supporters.  How big?  I'm glad you asked!

Alethea first emailed me September of 2008.  She worked at Borders (rip Borders :( at the time and told me she had two copies of my Study series books, one to keep and one to loan out.  Alethea then proceeded to tell me her goal was to hand sell 400 copies of my books by Christmas that year.  Thrilled by her email, I replied, offering to send her signed book labels and bookmarks to her store.  Of course she'd love them and asked for 200!  Yikes - but I didn't hesitate (if someone is offering to hand sell hundreds of your books - you'll send them anything! really!) - I spent one night signing 200 labels and then another 200 later when she ran out.  Because, YES she met her goal and sold 400+  copies of my books in 3 months.  Amazing! 

Alethea and Me (April 2009)

Alethea single-handedly hooked many readers in the Los Angeles area ;)  She gleefully related tales of recommending all the Study books to a customer, warning her she'll be back for the others.  The customer didn't believe her and only bought POISON STUDY, but when Alethea arrived at the store the next morning, there was the lady, waiting for the store to open so she could buy the other two!  Alethea reports she didn't gloat (I'm not sure I believe she didn't gloat just a little ;).  Alethea has many of these stories and through her, I learned A LOT about what goes on in a bookstore and how NOT to piss off the workers (don't plop your books on those display tables near the front - it's a big no-no).

Teaching readers how to taste for poisons
(no one died....this time ;)

Her efforts did not go unnoticed by my publisher and when STORM GLASS was released in April 2009, they happily agreed I should have a book launch at Alethea's store in Glendale, CA.  It was a blast - over 60 people came to hear me talk and I signed lots of books for people who told me if it hadn't been for Alethea.... (well, let's just say they wouldn't be there).

Signing line in Glendale, CA

One of the best things to result from that email from Alethea is our friendship and I've gotten to know her well.  She has given me feedback/advice on a few short stories and she is also an artist.  Alethea gave me a print made from a linoleum block: 

Peacock 1 of 10

Beautiful - isn't it?  Alethea has a blog and she's posted a couple of our chats about my books and she also reviews books.  Check it out at:  She has lots going on there - including giveaways!

Thank you for letting me showcase my fabulous readers!  This is truly the last post...for now ;>

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Readers are THE BEST! Part 4

This series could go on forever, but I'm going to cap it at four :)  This last installment brings a few pictures of Valek - he has inspired many of my readers and I've heard about a number of "book crushes" and out right "undying love."  Good thing he'll be back for more adventures in late 2014!  And there's a picture of Maren and Leif and a bookmark.

Anime Valek (Shea Crumbley)

Valek with Emily (the artist)

Maren and Leif (artist VMH)

Here's a bookmark designed by Renee V. (a.k.a. my cyber stalker):

Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Readers are THE BEST! Part 3

More talented readers.  The artist of the pen and ink pictures is Amy Harlib - she sent me a bunch of pictures, but these two are my favorites:

And I recently found out Amy is also a contortionist! If you want to see her in action check out her website - it's just AMAZING and I think I pulled a muscle just watching the videos:
 Below is a picture of Tammy - who recently earned her BLACK BELT!  CONGRATS to Tammy!! She was inspired by my strong female protagonists and now you don't want to mess with Tammy. 

And below is a cartoon that I received right after POISON STUDY was published in 2005.  I've had it hanging on my desk for years and failed to write the artist's name on the back and it was two computers ago :(  But I wanted to share because it's one of my favorites:

Click on the picture if you can't see the whole thing.  And if you can't read the captions - here they are:
Panel 1 - Valek, "You're unbelievable."
Yelena, "Is that good or bad?"

Panel 2 - Valek, "Good. I assumed you would give the soldiers a good chase, and you did. But I never expected..."

Panel 4 - Valek, "Is that...a leaf on your head?"
Yelena, "Yes. I thought it complimented by eyes."

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

My Readers are THE BEST! Part 2

Part 2 of my series showcasing my fabulous and talented readers!  My readers are always asking me which actors I'd pick to play the various characters.  And I never know who to say because I'm not up on the current crop of young actors.  For Yelena I do like Summer Glau from the Sarah Conner chronicles - she played the terminator/body guard and some of you might know her as River from Firefly, but she'll probably be a grandmother by the time my books are ever made into movies.

JanYves Stewart designed wallpaper of a few of my characters and he picked a few actors to play Yelena, Ari and Janco.  Take a look:

The writing are quotes from POISON STUDY: "Yelena, I'm offering you a choice. You can either be executed, or you can be Commander Ambrose's new food taster." [Valek]

"A fool would refuse the job."

"What shall I tell the executioner?"

"I'm not a fool."
I'm not sure who these actors are - I think Janco is a great match.  Ari is a little different than I'd imagined - Ari is blond and muscular like a rugby player.
And Joy Kenney thought my short story, ICE STUDY should have a cover and she made her own (purely as fan art):

Pretty cool eh?

My readers have also been inspired to make videos.  Here are a couple about Yelena and Valek:

And there's even a Spoof of POISON STUDY - which I thought was funny (apparently the high school boys were annoyed to be assigned a "chick book" to read):

Sunday, April 7, 2013

My Readers are THE BEST! Really!

My readers provide me with the biggest and most unexpected joy of being a published novelist.  Now, I know you're thinking, what's so unexpected? you wrote a book and had it published for people to read.  Yes, but I didn't expect the outpouring of love.  I didn't expect to inspire other artists to paint and draw pictures based on my stories and characters, to inspire other writers to write their own stories,  poems, and fan fiction.  To inspire lovely videos, graphic art designs and even cartoons.  To inspire young women to take kickboxing and karate classes and one young lady to not commit suicide.  Would you expect all that?

And the best part is they share their poems, stories and pictures.  I have two pencil drawings hanging on my wall (one is on the left of Valek - credit and other photo is below), I have jewelry inspired by my books, and I have thousands of emails (and I saved every one!). 

In this series of blog posts, I'm going to share some of their efforts - not to say, "Look how fabulous I am."  But to say, "Look how fabulous and talented THEY are." 

Here's a poem inspired by all my books from Penny Willow of Australia:

When a reader finds an author and it’s a perfect fit
 They suddenly stalk bookstores to devour each word they’ve writ.
 They check her Facebook pages, then scan all tweets and blogs
 Looking for those magic words in every update, post and log.
“Well my new book is finished – and soon will hit the shelves!”
Twelve words which you can guarantee will have a fan beside themselves -
with hope, anticipation – and of course impatience too,
 it’s hard to wait, to see just what, your favourite character will do!
 I cried for poor Yelena when she drank the poisoned potions,
 I hated that man Valek – though I admit to mixed emotions.
 He seemed so hard and cruel – what an iron heart he’s got -
It would be easier to loathe him – if the man weren’t so damned hot!

 I watched Opal develop – with every turn of page,
 She went from glass to diamond – from innocent to sage.
 And though I wouldn’t quite agree with the choices she would make,
 I respect it was her journey – and not mine – to take.
 Oh how I loved fierce Trella and the strange world she would roam,
 I can’t believe I never guessed a [spoiler] was her Home!

 And now we have another tale, a new journey to share,
 With strong and caring Avry whose gift is strange and rare.
 Who takes the wounds of others – their sickness and their pain -
upon herself – then magically – both are well again.
 When we left her there was danger – from Tohon’s army of deceased,
 And now that Kerrick isn’t there – her peril is tenfold increased!

 So now I play the waiting game and as all fans will do
 I stalk Maria’s Facebook, her webpage, Twitter too
 In case she posts those little words I wait and hope to see
 Which say another Avry book is on its way to me!
 When you find an author – it’s such a special day
 One with awesome characters (who neither sparkle nor like shades of grey)
 Books with love and drama and just a bit of fighting
 (and if you’re reading this Maria – shouldn’t you be writing?)
 I cannot wait for your next book – I’m obsessed quite clearly
 But you are my favourite author – and I mean that quite sincerely :)

Yes, I should have been writing and got a good laugh from that third to last line :)

Here is the other pencil drawing by Xiaocaca that I loved so much I bought the originals and hung them in my office:

Yelena and Valek