Interview over at The Write Connexion

A quick note: Gabi Coatsworth, the author behind our locally-based writing blog, The Write Connexion, did an interview with me last week and it’s live right now. I had a great time answering her questions  — Gabi knows how to write a good question — so head over to the Write Connexion and check it out.

While you’re over there, poke around. Gabi collects information that is useful for both readers and writers. If you live in my area of the world (Connecticut), the blog can be quite a resource.

Also, I’m kind of geeking out because the creator of Authorgraph (the service that allows authors to autograph e-books) left a comment, and mentioned a new Authorgraph app, which would be very helpful for me during book signings when someone buys a book through his or her phone or reader. Oh Authorgraph, I love that service. I’d I could sign more books through it (hint hint people with my e-book.

Return of the Post-It Note book-signing! (And authorgraph.)

books, Eagle & Arrow

This Post-It could be yours.

To celebrate my release date, I’m hosting a second week-long virtual book-signing! If you buy The Eagle & The Arrow e-book and want it autographed, I will happily sign it for you. How, you ask? Magic? Well, kind of.

There are two ways for me to do this: one way is through Authorgraph, a free service that allows readers who bought an e-book to request a signed page that is emailed to them. If you want an authorgraph go to the site, and click “request authorgraph” and the site will send you a page with my signature and a message to you and you alone. It’s a free service. Did I mention that it’s free? I’m also going to be doing this live from my iPad at events with wi-fi.

The other way I can sign your e-book is by Post-It Note.

Yes. Post-It Note. Allow me to explain:

Last year, when Beware the Hawk was launched, it was e-book only. Someone asked how I could sign her book if it was an e-book. And then it hit me:

I realized that I don’t need to have a physical book to have a signing. In fact I don’t even need to be in the same room with everyone to have a signing.

Instead of signing books in person, I told readers to send me their addresses. In return, I sent them Post-Its, so that they could stick those babies on their Kindles/Nooks/phones/tablets while they were reading my book. And that’s what I’m doing again.

If you buy an e-book and you want an autograph on a special yellow Post-It Note, send your mailing addresses to annjoconnell<at>gmail<dot>com. (Just until June. 18. Or until my Post-Its run out. I have a lot though. Just sayin’.)Then keep an eye on that mailbox.

Next up this week? A virtual reading on YouTube. I’d better put on some make-up or something.

A list of the links that have been posted to The Eagle and the Arrow, so far.

The Eagle and the Arrow is released today! Links to the book are trickling in.

Here are the links that have been posted so far:

The e-book, on Amazon

The paperback on Amazon

And let us not neglect Barnes & Noble, which has the e-book on NOOK

The e-book on Smashwords.

I’m waiting for the publisher’s website to post the book as well. Also, check it out on Goodreads (another giveaway – this time of The Eagle & The Arrow -  is happening soon.)

Do you know of a great book reviewer? I want to know.

Eagle & The ArrowThis is a crowd-sourcing kind of post. I want you guys to tell me where to send my book.

Yesterday I started sending review copies of The Eagle & The Arrow to a few fantastic book reviewers with whom I have relationships, and also to an elite group of super-readers. (I like to call them The Resistance. Because why not.)

But now it’s time to open things up and start sending review e-copies of my book to reviewers I don’t know. So I thought I’d open this up here: Do you know of, or really like a book review site to which I should be sending The Eagle & The Arrow? Or are you a book reviewer (for this effort, I’m looking for people who write reviews for either book review sites, blogs or publications)? 

Let me know. Leave a comment with the name of the site or shoot me an email or tweet me or Facebook message me and tell me where you think I should send my review copies. Or fill out this form (I’m all about options):

You send me a recommendation and I will send an e-book galley to that site. I will write them a note and mention you by name and tell them that you loved them so much that you recommended them to me.

So tell me, who should I be emailing? I want to know.

(Even more) Blood and seashells

So the other day I posted about how I spent my Monday night up to my elbows in fake blood in our bathtub for the sake of my career.

I took several photos for the cover of my e-short story about a killer sea god. Now the fake blood stains are finally fading from my palms, but I have another problem: I don’t know which photo to choose for the cover.

So because you all rock and probably have exquisite taste, I want your help. I’ve put four of these photos up on Facebook.*  Head over there and tell me which one you like best.  I trust your input.

And while you’re there, please like me. When you have strange hobbies like I do, it’s good to know that you’re liked.

*It’s currently an untitled album because Facebook is freaking out and won’t let me edit the album, but bear with me.

Fake blood & fro-yo: this is what happens when I try to self-publish.

denying the sea, ebook

Like House of Cards promo art, but with a mollusk.

So this evening was my husband’s night out with the boys, and as usual, when he left the house looked normal and I was full of project ideas.

When he came home, there was sand and fake blood all over the bathroom, the house was a disaster, and I was holed up in my office with a carton of fro-yo. For art.

It’s a testament to either my husband’s character or to my insanity that he didn’t bat an eye. In fact, he didn’t even ask why the bathroom looked like Quentin Tarantino had just filmed a scene there. He’s that used to this kind of thing.

But you might want to know, so I’ll tell you.
I recently got the bright idea to self-publish two already-published stories with Amazon’s Kindle Direct. The stories are not doing me any good just sitting around in my computer, so why not?

Apparently, however, you need to have a cover for such things. Since I probably won’t make enough money off these stories to cover the cost of a graphic artist, I thought I’d try to come up with a cover myself.

One of the stories is about a killer sea god. (Thus the fake blood and sea shells.) The other story is about a creepy lady who conveniently has an ice cream addiction. (Thus the half a carton of frozen yogurt I consumed.)

The result of my photo shoot? A bathroom that looks like a triple homicide was committed in it, a blown diet and a few okayish photos (but not of the fro-yo, because I ate most of that.) I think the photo in this post is probably the best. It doesn’t show how my fingers are now dyed the color of Mikhail Gorbachev’s birthmark.

I will keep you posted on the progress of the short stories, but at the moment, I’m not sure when they will  be coming out. This is mostly because of the cover art. Despite the fact that the bathtub might now be permanently pink, I still think I need better photos.

Might it be a good idea to hire an artist? It might. But only if that artist is willing to work for fro-yo.

Name my protagonist!

I’m looking for a little help from my readers. And as usual, it will take the form of a contest.

My book, Beware the Hawk, features an unnamed protagonist, because I really love not naming first-person narrators. Which works well sometimes but not always.  It worked well for the original novella, but what if the character were to appear in other stories? She won’t be able to get through another storyline unnamed. I’ve been calling her Pink in private, but that’s not a real name. You know, like Jane, or Bob, or Ponyboy.

That, dear readers, is where you come in.

I want you to name my protagonist.

I already have some suggestions on my Facebook page, and I got one via text message this morning, but I need so much more than three suggestions.

Here’s how it will work.

Beware The Hawk novella

Faceless and nameless. For now.

I will be taking name suggestions (I’m looking for both first name and last name) via email, comment section, tweet and the aforementioned Facebook page. Also,  if you happen to see me in person, you can slip me a note with a name written on it. The virtual suggestion box will be open until I appear on Enders Island in Mystic, Conn. to read from the book on Thursday, July 19.

I will then pick a handful of the best names and post them, along with the names of those who suggested them. There will follow a week of  voting both on Facebook and here. I will however, announce the winner in private to the finalists, because I want the general readership to be surprised. (Although anyone capable of basic math and reading of poll results will probably be able to figure it out.)

The winner will have named Pink. Any other stories she appears in, she will bear the name you gave her. And you will get a free, signed copy of the very first new work she appears in.

The fine print (You should definitely read this.)

Ahem… The winner will not be entitled to royalties or other earnings. Just naming rights. And I do get some creative wiggle room, such as spelling or adding a middle name if necessary, because I am the author. Also, I can’t promise that just because I write a new Beware the Hawk book/story/screeenplay/graphic novel that anyone will want to publish it or that they will publish it in what you or I would consider to be a timely fashion. (Read: pronto.)

UPDATE: One name per entrant please! Pink’s only one woman!

So, what are you waiting for?

Send me some names!

My first reading is today.

Today is a big day for me. It will be my very first “author event,” a reading and discussion of e-books at the Watertown Library. 

I posted once that I get stage fright before every class I teach. Well, I’ve got stage fright now.

Part of my brain is babbling incoherently about having to stand up in front of a bunch of people who probably knew me as a child, and ohmygod, what if the nun who taught me in the fifth grade is there and I forget to bleep myself out while I’m reading? What if my shipment of books doesn’t come in this morning and I have to go to a signing without them and what if my car breaks down or I have an allergic reaction to my lunch or my one print copy of Beware the Hawk spontaneously combusts and I lose my voice and pass out?

Another part of me knows that’s just stage fright. I hear that kind of nonsense from my brain at least three times every week.

A third part of me – the part I’m paying attention to – is so very excited to be going back to my hometown to read from a book that I wrote and that a company published. I can’t wait to get up to that podium and talk about e-books. I can’t wait to see Watertonians that I haven’t seen in ages. I can’t wait to sit down and sign some books.

And if the books don’t come in? I’ll sign Post-Its instead.

And if I lose my voice? I will use large poster boards to deliver the talk silent-film style.

And if I forget to bleep myself out and my fifth grade teacher is really in the audience? She’s heard those words before. Probably from kids who were published for saying them. I’ll just have to resign myself to having my mouth washed out with soap.

The reading/talk will take place at 7 p.m. today at the Watertown Library in Watertown, Connecticut. If you are free, come by. Maybe you’ll get to see me get my mouth washed out with soap. Maybe not. Either way, it should be a blast.

I’m reading at the Watertown Library! (And not silent reading like when I used to do my homework there.)

Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that I will be doing my very first reading in just a little less than two weeks at the Watertown Library in Watertown, Connecticut.

This reading, which will take place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday March 28, will be very special because Watertown is kind of my hometown.* Also special? My mother worked for the library when I was growing up. She worked at the Oakville branch of the library and did all the story hours there for years. So I spent most of my time there during grade school and middle school. I shelved books and did my homework and occasionally had to be told off for being too rowdy.

And that may be what happens again, because I’m hoping to draw a big crowd to the Watertown Library’s main branch on the evening of March 28.

Here’s the deal: Watertown Library included e-books in their collection on the first of March. Because my book is an e-book, I’m going to give a talk about my experience publishing an e-book and then do some reading. And then? We party. Responsibly, and in a literary fashion, of course. I have no idea where people go to party on a Wednesday night in Watertown these days. If I’m honest, I didn’t even know where to party in Watertown when I was living there. But no worries, we’ll figure something out.

Warning: Parents of young children, my book has language in it. Not language, but language. Also, it has situations in it, which cannot be bleeped out the way language can. I will do my best to read responsibly, but my book contains adult material and I don’t recommend bringing the kids to hear me read.

Hope to see you all there!

*Actually I’m from Oakville, which is a big neighborhood/”census-designated place” in Watertown, but to people who aren’t from there, it’s basically the same thing as being from Watertown.

Fabulous book news!

Last week I spoke to my editor at Vagabondage Press and she delivered some fabulous news: Beware the Hawk is coming to print on March 20!

This won’t come as a surprise to the people who follow my Facebook author page; they hear just about all my news just about as soon as it happens, thanks to my raging social media addiction and my possession of a smartphone. (Just another reason to “like” my author page, or stay the hell away from it.)

Beware The Hawk novellaI’m pretty excited. Beware the Hawk was planned as an e-book and an e-book only, so it’s exciting that a print edition is being released. Since it’s a novelette, it will be a pretty slim volume, but it will be fabulous to have it, to be able to do real book signings as well as virtual signings, to carry a bunch of books around in the trunk of my car so that I can peddle them.

Even better, it will be nice to have a copy of my book accessible to the folks who can’t read it on an e-reader, or who prefer not to. There are, actually, quite a few people who have approached me and said some variation of “I’d like to buy your book, but I don’t have an e-reader.” Well folks, save the date. On March 20, physical copies of Beware the Hawk will become available.

Another announcement: I will be doing my first actual event in my hometown, Watertown, Connecticut, at the Watertown Library. The date has changed from my original announcement. I will provide more information soon.