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04 Apr Tornados and Winners

First and most important of all, I want to extend my thoughts and prayers to all my fellow Texans who are coping with injury and property damage in the wake of our violent tornados yesterday afternoon and evening. The storm passed right over us here in Coppell (and the tennis-ball-sized hail crashing into the roof certainly terrified the doggies) but (pending a professional roof assessment) we have only minor damage and a few tree branches down. My release-day booksigning was cancelled and rescheduled for Thursday. Looking around at the havoc wrought by Mother Nature certainly puts one’s book-release stress into perspective!

ETA: After inspecting everything in the daylight this morning, I find my poor little car, Willow-the-Skate (and of course there is a story as to why he’s named that), has a huge star-shaped crack in his windshield, and won’t be driveable until it’s fixed. Unfortunately he was totaled after another of our Texas hailstorms, so no insurance to help pay for it…

The Broadcasting Legend™ has chosen the winners of the three Flower Reader bookmarks. They are:

Leigh
Terry Martini
Liz Michalski

Congratulations! I’ll be emailing each of you privately to get your mailing addresses.

A note to readers of Dear Reader and AuthorBuzz. There’s an offer this week for The Flower Reader, and to my horror my ISP abruptly announced (with only two days’ notice) that it was doing a “Server Performance Upgrade” and taking my website (including my email addresses) offline for several hours. This was scheduled to happen last night around 1:00am MDT, and last for an unspecified length of time. So if you tried to email my special “flowers” email address in the night and your email bounced, I’m so sorry! Everything is working now, so please try again, and I apologize for the inconvenience.

I’m guesting today at Tina’s Book Reviews, with a post about the real silver casket that inspired the story of The Flower Reader. History! Pictures! Another chance to win one of these beautiful limited-edition bookmarks, plus a free book! Don’t miss it. 🙂

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03 Apr Novels and Puppies

 

So today’s the day. The Flower Reader goes out into the big wild world.

Writers feel all kinds of strange things when their books are released. Pride, sure, and apprehension, and vulnerability, and hope, and moments of joy, and middle-of-the-night, it’s-too-late-now sinking moments of oh, no, I should have written that part this way and not that way.

But mostly I feel—I don’t know—helplessness. Empty-handedness. That puppy has sneaked out the door and you can offer it all the Milkbones you want—you’re never going to get it back. It’s on its own and it doesn’t belong to you anymore. In fact, it’s suddenly all grown up and not the cute fuzzy puppy you’ve been used to as you pored over it and petted it and brushed its silky fur—it’s a great big spotted dog with teeth and claws and—floppy ears? But wait, you didn’t mean for it to have floppy ears! Where did the floppy ears come from?

Too bad. If people see floppy ears, floppy ears there are.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people like floppy ears.

It’s just—not what you thought it would be. You write a book and you love it and think it’s yours, and then somehow it gets away from you and becomes this self-sufficient wild thing, hiding in the cucumber vines and foraging for its own food. It may still have your tags on its collar (“Hi! My name is The Flower Reader! If you find me, please call xxx-xxxx. Reward!”) but don’t be fooled. It’s not yours any more.

I’ll post the winners of the bookmarks tomorrow! The Broadcasting Legend™ is out today and I need his magic touch to do the drawing.

A lovely kickoff review by Melissa, the Avid Reader, at Confessions of an Avid Reader!

I am guest-blogging today at Julianne Douglas’s Writing the Renaissance. Do you like your historical fiction with fictional characters, or without? There are pros and cons to both sides…

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29 Mar Bookmarks!

 

Several people have commented that they’ve already ordered the book (and huge thanks for that!) and would like a chance to win one of the beautiful pressed-flower bookmarks on its own. So here it is. Comment below to be entered, and I’ll have the Broadcasting Legend™ draw a winner—what the heck, two winners—no, wait, let’s go all the way and say three winners—on Tuesday, April 3rd, the day The Flower Reader is released into the world. As always, extra social-media mentions get you extra entries. “Likes” on Amazon get you extra entries. The honor system prevails. International entries welcome.

I would just like to say something about social media. Early on I made a pact with myself that I would not comment on reviews, good or bad—that is the slipperiest of slippery slopes, and we’ve all seen too many ghastly brawls on Goodreads and Twitter and Amazon. But I do read them (how can any author really not read them?) and I sincerely appreciate every single person who has read and reviewed and commented on both The Flower Reader and The Second Duchess. It doesn’t matter whether you loved them or hated them or were somewhere in the middle. You read and you cared enough to comment, and I am grateful from the bottom of my heart. I truly am. You know who you are. Yes, you. And you too. Really. 🙂

Counting down the days…

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26 Mar Rinette is Off to Australia!

The thing about small town post offices is, everybody knows everybody. When I walked in this morning with Jemidar’s book and bookmark, Jackie greeted me happily and wanted to know all about the book and the contest. She helped me with the packaging—the “small flat rate priority box” was just a smidge too small, which was a big disappointment, because if I’d sent it priority I would have been able to track it. As it is—well, Rinette is on her own, and we’ll have to wait for Jemidar to let us know she arrived safely.

Anyway, we got the book and the gorgeous purple bookmark into the envelope and got the customs form filled out and just as Jackie turned to put the package in the outgoing bin, I whipped out my camera (I did ask first) and snapped this picture. So there it is. I’m really quite excited about this—it’s the first book I’ve sent to Australia. Australian readers, remember—the UK edition of The Flower Reader from Preface will arrive on your shelves this summer. I think I’ll save a bookmark as a prize for the first person to send me a picture of the book in the wild in Australia!

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24 Mar The Winner, Part Deux!

The Broadcasting Legend™ has once again chosen a winner of a signed advance copy of The Flower Reader, plus a handmade pressed-flower art bookmark. I must admit that I squealed when he pulled the name. It’s:

JEMIDAR!

So now at last I have the opportunity to follow through on my promise to ship books internationally. I’ll start the package on its way on Monday, and track it here to keep us all up on date on Rinette’s adventures as she makes her way to Australia.

There are lots more opportunities to win. NAL is currently running a giveaway on Goodreads, with twenty-five copies up for grabs (US only for this one), so if you haven’t entered there, here’s the link:

Goodreads Giveaway of The Flower Reader

There are only a few more days to enter, so sign up today. There are more giveaways coming up, so watch this space.

Thank you all for your lovely comments this past week. Blake, I think the tussy-mussy (what a lovely old-fasioned term! I didn’t know people still used it) for your wedding, with the flower meanings, is the most delightful idea. Wnitney, I have to warn you that although Mary of Guise is instrumental in setting the story of The Flower Reader in motion, she dies in the first chapter and from that point on only exercises her influence through the secrets she collected and the effect they have on people she knew in Scotland, France and England. She is certainly present in spirit right to the end.

Again, warmest thanks to everyone who commented and helped to spread the word.

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19 Mar The Second Time Around

…love is lovelier, and luck, perhaps, is luckier! I’m giving away another book-and-bookmark combination this week, so everyone has a second chance to win.

 

 

The rules are the same—comment here to enter, spread the word via other social media and get extra entries! Like the first giveaway, this one is open internationally and everyone is welcome. The prize is a signed advance copy of The Flower Reader, plus a signed-and-numbered pressed-flower-art bookmark with the flowers and their floromancy meanings identified.

The contest will close at midnight Friday night, March 23rd, and I’ll announce the winner on Saturday morning, March 24th.

Remember, if this is your first time commenting here, or if you’re commenting from a different address than you used before, your comment will be held for approval—I’m sorry it has to be that way but you would not believe some of the spam that turns up. Your comment will not be lost, I promise, and I’ll add it as quickly as I can.

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17 Mar The Winner!

First I would like to thank everyone who commented—I didn’t want to clog up the comment list with posts of my own but I was so delighted to see each post pop up.

This morning, I wrote up slips of paper for everyone who commented (with extras for everyone who re-posted to other social media), tossed them all in my favorite popcorn bowl (temporarily free of popcorn), and asked The Broadcasting Legend™ to pick a winner. (There were really too many entries for me to be able to do my doggie/kibble trick.) The winner of the signed advance copy of The Flower Reader, plus bookmark #1/36, is:

Jessica B.!

Congratulations, Jessica! I’ll write to you privately to get your mailing information.

You know, this was all so much fun, and there were so many lovely entries—let’s do it again next week! I’ll post a new post on Monday morning, and everyone (except Jessica, heh) come back with new comments/reposts for another chance to win a signed advance copy of The Flower Reader and a gorgeous pressed-flower bookmark with floromancy details. Once again, the contest will be open for international entries.

Again, thank you all so much for all your lovely, lovely comments. You make me very happy. 🙂

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15 Mar Beware the Ides of March

…because it is my birthday! And a very suitable birthday, I think, for a writer of historical fiction with murders. And adventure. And political intrigue. And romance-with-a-capital-R. (Two or three capital Rs!) And, of course, beagles.

Don’t forget to comment on the post below for your chance to win a signed advance copy of The Flower Reader, plus a beautiful handmade, one-of-a-kind pressed-flower bookmark. Many heartfelt thanks to everyone who has entered so far!

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12 Mar Win a Signed Advance Copy of The Flower Reader

 

I’ve just received books—beautiful books! Look at the lovely embossing and rich brushed-gold metallic ink! I am just thrilled with them.

I’m also thrilled with my collection of the most breathtaking custom-made bookmarks, created by flower artist Lesley Hegewald of Butterfly Garden Creations. Each bookmark is unique, made from real pressed flowers and leaves, signed and numbered; what makes each one even more unusual is that I’ll include a note identifying the flowers used (thanks to Lesley’s care in keeping track) and giving their meanings in Rinette Leslie’s lush world of floromancy. On the back, the book cover art and information, of course, plus a few delicate strewn petals.

I’m giving away a signed advance copy of The Flower Reader this week, with one of these gorgeous bookmarks tucked inside. Comment below to enter! Tweet the link or post to Facebook or other social media and get your name entered again for each time you share! (Just tell me what you’ve done—I’m on the honor system.) Giveaway is open internationally—everyone is welcome. The contest will close at midnight Friday night, March 16th, and I’ll announce the winner on Saturday morning, March 17th.

Remember, if this is your first time commenting here, or if you’re commenting from a different address, your comment will be held for approval—I’m sorry it has to be that way but you would not believe some of the spam that turns up. Your comment will not be lost, I promise, and I’ll add it just as soon as ever I can.

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06 Mar “Windflowers, Nightshade and High Adventure”

(I love that quote so much that I just have to use it as my post title.)

Julianne Douglas of Writing the Renaissance is one of the first advance readers of The Flower Reader, and she has written a lovely, thoughtful, in-depth review.

She has put her finger on one of my ongoing themes—what people believed in the sixteenth century versus what we believe now. I won’t say “versus reality,” because who knows what people will say about us, five hundred years from now? Anyway, so much of what people in the sixteenth century saw as “magic” and “miracles” was actually science or psychology, and it fascinates me to explore what their mindsets might have been&#151how they believed they were right just as absolutely as we do today. I am digging even more deeply into that idea with all my material on alchemy for The Alchemist Prince.

It’s both terrifying and wonderful that The Flower Reader is going to be released in less than a month…

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