FREE BOOK: Merry Christmas, Y’all

Good morning, LiveJournal! (Imagine that yelled in the Robin Williams “Good Morning, Vietnam!” voice.)

I’m offering a holiday gift to my LJ readers because you’re my best audience ever. If any of you would like a free copy of my cozy mystery, NICE WORK (IF YOU CAN GET IT), I’ll e-mail it to you in .PDF form if you’ll leave your e-mail in a comment to this post. (File is fairly large, so check your e-mail provider’s limits first.) This is a humorous “Snoop Sisters”-type cozy/traditional mystery that has finaled twice in the St. Martin’s contest (in different years!) and doesn’t have any typos (see, already a challenge thrown down for those who like to find such things.) We’ve even talked about its opening line here a couple of entries back. You’ll have some free time to read over the holidays, I’ll bet.

I made this offer on a mystery readers’ list that I’m on, and I’ve already gotten some takers. That means I’ve accomplished my goal of reaching readers, and that’s very encouraging to me. My wish all along was that the book could be read by people who like this kind of novel.

Regular readers probably have already guessed why I decided to go this route, but I thought I’d spill my guts (as always) for anyone who wasn’t paying attention before.

As I may have mentioned here already (*HEE*), I’m going to take a hiatus in the marketing and mailing out of my various novels. Because I’m having a health crisis and a mental health crisis (brought on by my possible health problem AND my elderly mother’s current health problem), I’ve decided to reduce my stress by not sending out the book to agents and so forth, at least for a while.

We have several online friends who are praying for us, and we already feel uplifted. I’ve experienced healing miracles before, and this is just another one we’re asking for . . . my cousin had a remission and another friend had a “problem” shrink away and disappear from her scans after fervent prayer, so it does work. I am praying that we’ll dodge the bullets this time, too. I’ve had a similar health problem before, so that’s why I’m so upset about this (although I do feel uplifted by all the prayers.)

I think this MIGHT be what my late father-in-law called a “wake-up call.” In January of this year, regular readers will recall, I swore that I would concentrate ALL my efforts into selling a novel this year or else give it all up. I’ve written several mysteries (and a fantasy and a chick lit and, and, and. . . .) that have been polished and have gotten sent around over the past few years, but although I have had a lot of “almosts” and disappointments with agents, I haven’t sold anything. So this year I set out to do the total push, in the way that several published authors had advised me worked for them. Nothing would do but sending to all the agents I could find, going to all the conferences and getting appointments, writing as much as I could, and so forth. And doing the “positive thinking” deal with everything–“I believe, and I’ll make this happen.”

Problem is, all kinds of other things were neglected that I needed to be watching out for and taking care of. My family, our house, our finances, my friends and neighbors and what they needed from me, *everything* took second place as I said, “I have to concentrate EVERY free moment on marketing the novels and trying to do it THIS YEAR at last.” I’ve been at this for so many years, and people kept saying, “It’s because you don’t spend every moment sending out work and schmoozing and querying . . . you should be published by now.” Of course, maybe they’re wrong . . . maybe it IS the poor quality of the work, and maybe I can’t do any better . . . that happens. Still, you do have to market the work.

But anyway, that all led down the road to ruin. Everything I tried was somehow foiled or turned out to be a disappointment. It was like chasing a carrot on a stick. Do you know what I’m talking about? All year I would get these encouraging “we’ll talk” messages from agents or editors, but then it would be as though the Mafia had gotten to them, and they’d turn cold. Or I’d be the runner-up in a contest. Or a workshop would be a great disappointment. I even fell on July 5th and broke my kneecap in three places, requiring surgery (hardware–three pins and a wire!) and lots of physical therapy, but in between the suffering and the struggling, I still spent all the time I could doing queries, mailing out, and so forth. I just wasn’t listening to the Universe about what’s important.

So now I’m letting go. I’m not going to try to SELL the books any more, and have decided that if I can give them away to people who love to read, that is enough. I am just asking to be healed so that I can go back and take care of everything that I neglected (including my mother and my own health!), and I’m going to repent of having said so strongly, “NOTHING matters except getting a book published by New York, and I don’t care if I die!” (How do you like THAT crazy talk?! Never good. I picked that up from my mother in her despondent periods over this year, but I never should have started parroting that if I didn’t mean it, right?!) I see now that all is vanity, and that the people who DO have books that are out there on the shelves are, by and large, not the totally fulfilled saints that I thought they were. I saw publication as the end-all, a way that I could be validated and even perhaps start teaching writing (because without books to your credit, no one wants to have you teach what you think you know–except through posts on your LiveJournal, which I have done somewhat), and a way to fulfill my destiny. But alas, the very focus that I thought would be “magical” in the way that society tells you it will be–in the sense that everyone says, “If you only BELIEVE, and if you are persistent, and if you try hard enough, you can accomplish anything!”–turns out to have been detrimental.

Anyhow . . . you didn’t sign up to hear all THAT, I’m sure. (grin) If you do decide to pray for us, we’ll appreciate it greatly! And I hope that if you ask for the book, you’ll enjoy it. I have a special place in my heart for this one, as I really like the characters and the way they interact. Of course, I might be the slightest bit biased. (GRIN)

SO ANYWAY, I want the book to be read, and I think it’s good. If you like humorous mysteries like the ones at Left Coast Crime (or like Anne George’s, or Diane Mott Davidson’s, or Donna Andrews’), maybe you’d like mine. Think Anne George’s Southern Sisters done with sisters who are twentyish instead of elderly, a cozy-ish story with no explicit sex or gore, but with a subplot that concerns BDSM (S&M), just to keep it from being so family-rated that you wouldn’t want to read it. It’s not a laugh-romp, but there are some funny lines. At least *I* laughed (for the right reasons.) You might not (or you might laugh for the wrong reasons.) We won’t know unless you read it.

And there aren’t any strings attached. I know y’all won’t plagiarize it, for if there were any parts worth stealing, someone already would have done it.

What’s the hitch? There isn’t one.

I’d love to hear back from you about whether you liked the book, liked any of the characters, or whatnot, but there’s no obligation. It’s just a free gift. It’s a way of unloading the terrible burden I have to “be read” without having to somehow get past the curse that prevents me from getting anything published. It’s a gift from you to me if you read the book! (You can stop reading at any page, in fact. It’s free, after all.)

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Peaceful Kwanzaa, and Yo Yo Ho For Spaghetti Monster’s Nameday.

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Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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