Monday, November 25, 2013

Free e-Books! Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Good morning, readers!

It is Thanksgiving week, a magical time of family and friends gathering, casseroles and Tums battling, football and Christmas movie watching. AND it's a great time to read April's Roots and Ugly Stick if you haven't already, because they are temporarily FREE on Amazon.com!

That's right, FREE!

I wanted to show you readers how thankful I am for each of YOU and your support of my work this year, and I can't run around hugging each of you individually (though if provided with airfare I would be happy to try). So the Kindle versions of Ugly Stick and April's Roots are free for e-reader download (doesn't have to be a Kindle device - just get the free app) ALL DAY TODAY!

Here's the Amazon link for Ugly Stick, and here's the link for April's Roots.

But wait -- there's more!

April's Roots Kindle version will be available for free at the link above through Thanksgiving Day! And the paperback versions are available as always, with slight discounts given by Amazon.

But what are you waiting for? Quit reading this silly blog and get reading a free e-book already! And/or share this page with your friends, family, classmates, bus drivers, and pets! And THANK YOU! :)

 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

April's Roots Released TODAY!

Hooray! Hooray! It's a book release day!


Here's some exclusive information about obtaining your own copy of April's Roots. The e-book, priced at $0.99, is available for immediate download on both Kindle and Nook, and the paperback version is also available at Amazon.com ($7.99 list price).

OR

You can visit April's Roots''s CreateSpace page here. Enter the code "4G2EEET7" at checkout to receive a $2 discount on the list price, putting April's Roots in your hands for only $5.99! 

Thanks so much for your interest, and HAPPY READING!!!



Friday, November 15, 2013

April's Roots: Sneak Peek #3

Happy Friday!

We are approaching the end of the last week before the release of April's Roots. Are you psyched? Get psyched! I know I am!

Just to help you get psyched, here's another sneak peek into another of the short stories in the collection. And remember, April's Roots is coming out on Tuesday, November 19 in paperback and e-book formats. Stay tuned for links, promo codes, and even book giveaways. Thanks for reading!


The Lovely and Talented 

Daphne’s (and Geri’s) Story ~ 1914
New York City, New York
(and Hollywood, California)

“Once again, ladies and gentlemen, the lovely and talented Campbell Sisters!” Alvin’s voice boomed over the pit orchestra on the other side of the curtain.
My sister and I grabbed each other’s hands and sashayed through the opening in the stage curtain. We were the final bow of the Midtown Merries vaudeville show. Beyond the bright footlights, applause echoed towards us. I curtseyed first, and then turned to her.
Daphne curtseyed deeper, and then turned back to me. The applause grew louder—the audience knew our routine.
I gathered my skirt and curtseyed still deeper, tilting my head to the side for effect. A wave of laughter rippled over the applause. Not two seconds after I rose, Daphne cinched her skirt in each hand and bent her knees, so far that she tipped to the side. I caught her as the audience roared with approval. We straightened up and bowed, hand-in-hand, and then waved to the crowd as we skipped off the stage together.
Backstage, a flurry of activity surrounded us. The prop girl scurried around the wings with her arms full of hats and things. A thin young stagehand darted from one set of pulleys to the next as he reset the curtains and stage dressings for the next day’s performance. Alvin, the emcee of our vaudeville troupe, coughed roughly and barked for his after-show tea with honey and lemon. And Daphne and I grinned at each other as we trotted to our dressing room.
“You sounded terrific, Geri,” Daphne said. She plopped onto her vanity chair.
“Thanks, Sis,” I said with a smile, kicking off my dance shoes. “Just trying to keep up with you.”
She slipped off her stylish curly wig and frowned at her limp hair. “Rats. How do you get your curls to stay? I can barely keep my wig looking as neat.”
I tossed my head. I had no need of a wig, even under the hot stage lights. “Who knows? I like your hair straight anyway.”
She shrugged, her frown breaking into a crooked grin. “Oh, well. Vaudeville’s supposed to be funny, right?”
I nodded. Daphne was only two years my senior, but she had what Father called “an old soul.” She was just so patient, so kind, and so good. She wouldn’t care if she went bald—looks had never been my older sister’s focus. We had the same sky-blue eyes and the same nut-brown hair, but other than that we couldn’t have looked more different.
People who knew us well often joked that “the lovely and talented Campbell Sisters” referred to each of us in turn: I was the lovely one, with perfect pin-curls and a face like Mary Pickford; and Daphne was the talented one, with an uncomely face but a singing voice that would bring down the Palace if our show ever made it to Broadway. The running joke had even made its way into some of our vaudeville sketches.
A light knock at our door was followed by the entrance of Dorothea, the theater’s prim little secretary.
“Pardon me, ladies. Miss Geraldine? There’s a gentleman to see you in the lobby.”
“An admirer, no doubt,” teased Daphne.
I rose from my seat. “Oh, pish-posh. I’ll be right back.”
With a glance in the mirror, I followed Dorothea out and through the stage door.
“Any idea who he is, Dot?” I asked.
She shook her head. “He’s wearing a very fine suit, I can tell you that.”
When we reached the lobby, a broad-shouldered man in a tailored suit rose from one of the plush benches. He approached us and bowed to Dorothea, who patted my shoulder and walked with mincing steps towards the box office.
“Miss Campbell, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said, kissing my hand. “Arthur Andrews. May I be bold and call you Geraldine?”
“Geri’s fine. And the pleasure’s mine,” I said. “How can I help you, Mr. Andrews?”
He smiled. “Arthur, please. Geri, have you ever considered a career on the screen?”
I froze. The screen? Dumbstruck, I shook my head.
Arthur’s smile widened, and I noticed a gold tooth glinting in his mouth. “I represent Pegasus Productions in Hollywood. I’ve been in New York this week looking for new talent for our studio, and I’d like to bring you out to California for a screen test. What do you say, doll face?”
I tried to process his words. I felt like I was on the Coney Island carousel, whirling ever faster as images of films, stages, and stars flashed past. With a blink, I blurted out the first thought that made sense:

“What about Daphne?”

Thursday, November 14, 2013

April's Roots: Sneak Peek #2

Hello there, net-friends,

We're another day closer to the release of April's Roots -- huzzah! And just like yesterday, I'm giving you another sneak preview into one of the stories. Enjoy!

In Her Sweet Time

Diane’s Story ~ 1983
Greenwich, Connecticut

It was an ordinary Wednesday, but I was staring down a deadline for a story. The Prescott Post went to print every Friday at three-thirty for the next week's issue, and I had nothing.
This had never happened before. I, Diane “Pinky” Pinckley, ace reporter of the junior class, never had nothing. There was always a scandal in the drama club, a mysterious illness in the cafeteria, or even a Senior prank gone awry—that piece about the greased pigs in the main hallway last October was still pinned to our refrigerator. Mother and Dad always said I could sniff out a story a mile away... so what was my problem this week? Had I lost my nose for news?
I glanced out the window at the thick February snowflakes and then looked around our home economics class. Sixth period was almost over, and I had already cleaned up my abysmal sewing project and put it away. Domestic arts weren't my forte. Across the lab, my best friend Jill was hand-sewing buttons onto a corduroy jacket. With her looks and perfect curtain of dark brown hair, she looked like a living cover of a magazine. Jill had more talents than I could count. Unfortunately, none of them were dramatic enough to make a story. I bit my lip and looked past her.
Tim Tribble was even less capable at sewing than I was. His throw pillow looked more like a lumpy, floral-print boulder. But he was a three-sport letterman... maybe he knew of some locker-room scandal or game-winning secret I hadn't yet uncovered. It was worth a shot.
I sidled over to Tim's table. “How's it going, Trib?” Everyone knew that you called Tim “Trib” if you wanted him to listen up.
He grunted in frustration at his pillow and set it down, rubbing a needle-prick on his giant thumb. “Hey, Pinky.”
I smiled. “So, how's wrestling season going? Better than your attempts to make the cover of the Ladies Home Journal?”
Trib snorted. He was a jock, but he wasn't a dumb jock. “You need a story.”
“I do,” I admitted. “I've got nothing, and you know more about this school than anybody. Any ideas?”
He paused. “I might. What's in it for me?”
Of course. I looked up at the teacher's desk. In the flurry of students cleaning up before the class bell, Mrs. Harding was not paying us any attention. I motioned to Jill, who quickly set down her jacket and slipped over to us.
“Jill will finish up that seam for you,” I said. “So, what's the story?”
“I will?” Jill said with some indignation, but Trib grinned at her, and I knew my lovely friend wouldn't mind. With a quick look towards the teacher, Jill took the needle and thread and began to work on the messy edge of Trib's pillow.
Trib turned his attention to me with some difficulty. “Well, you didn't hear this from me, Pinky, but Coach Carver is talking about retiring at the end of the season.”
“Next fall?” I struggled to keep the impatience from my voice. The football coach possibly retiring in ten months was not exactly the exciting news I had hoped for.
“No, he's talking about moving to Florida at the end of the school year. If he does, the football team won't have a head coach over the summer.”
That was a bit juicier... but as I turned the idea over in my head, I knew we couldn't run a story based on that kind of rumor.
I had gotten into a tight spot last December by uncovering some proposed changes to the teachers' pension plan. It had been a great scoop, but some of the school administrators had been pretty steamed about that information getting out before the school board meeting. I didn't want to scoop somebody's early retirement on a football player's say-so.
“Anything else?” I pressed. “Any fights in the locker room, or mysterious people hanging around practice… or rivalry issues with Kendrick?” Prescott's sworn rival, Kendrick High School, was in the neighboring school district, and I’d written more than one article on kidnapped mascots.
Trib started to shake his head, but then he paused. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

April's Roots: Sneak Peek #1

Good afternoon, net-friends!

Here's a sneak peek into one of the stories in April's Roots, which will be released in paperback and e-book next Tuesday, November 19. Enjoy!


To Begin Again

Zora’s Story ~ 1838

The Middle of the Atlantic Ocean

The summer sky over the Atlantic flushed orange and pink to the west. Cradling her infant daughter in her arms, Zora Harpenau imagined the setting sun sinking all the way behind the skyline of New York City, still hundreds of miles away.
“All right, Zora, my dear?” her husband Theodor asked from behind her. He was practicing his English.
She nodded. “Ja.”
“You are beautiful,” he added. “My beautiful American wife watching the ocean.”
Danke,” she said, smiling in spite of herself. She reached up and adjusted his spectacles with one hand.
Her English was better than his, but when the ship made port in a few days, they would need to rely on the new language permanently. Zora wanted to use her mother tongue as much as she could before retiring it. The SS Great Western was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world, and she still could hardly believe it was bearing her family to a new continent, a new life, in a city they had never seen.
Theodor put his hands upon her shoulders. “Such a grand ship,” he remarked. “When we arrive, I shall miss it.”
She nodded again, swallowing the sudden lump in her throat. Their greatest adventure lay ahead. The days of this trip had been filled with exciting plans, lists of sights to see, people to meet, and things to learn… but at each sunset it seemed that she could think only of what lay behind them. She already missed home: the royal court of Oldenburg, the fine dark forests surrounding the castle, the friends who knew them so well, and her mother and father.
They had said their goodbyes over a month earlier when Theodor, Zora, and their daughter Hilda had boarded the train from Berlin to Calais. From there it had been a ferry from Calais to Liverpool, and another train from Liverpool to Bristol to board the Great Western, all with the new baby in her arms and their dearest possessions loaded into trunks and crates. Weeks later, Zora could still feel her parents' kisses upon her face.
In her arms, Hilda squirmed slightly and mewed like a hungry kitten. She would be seven months old on the day they were scheduled to arrive in New York City. It was time to return to the cabin to feed her again. Zora patted Theodor's hand on her shoulder, and he released her with a tentative smile.
“You should give her to Elsa and join us in the parlor,” he said. “Our new friends want to play dominos again.” Theodor had mastered the game of tiles years before, but Zora was an eager novice.
Zora nodded. “I will see you soon, my dear, yes?” she asked in English.
“Ja,” he said, his smile broadening under his warm brown eyes.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Something's Coming IN TWO WEEKS...


That's right.

That short story project I began back in May has finally reached the point of maturation. Or at least, it will reach that point in two weeks.

Tributaries Press is releasing April's Roots, my compilation of short stories relating to the women of Ugly Stick's family tree, on Tuesday, November 19, 2013.

Got that?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013!

April's Roots will be available on Amazon.com and other online retailers in both beautiful paperback and e-book form ($7.99 and $.99, respectively).

Here's a quick summary of what the book will include!

Long before April Somerfield found out about her family curse, each of 
the daughters who came before her had to face it as well. This collection 
of short fiction tells the stories of six generations of women in April’s 
family tree, spanning two centuries and a rich variety of settings:

A high school reporter about to scoop a decades-old secret...
A new mother learning that beauty comes with a cost...
A confident fourth grader facing bullies for the first time...
A pair of sisters trying to break into the silent film industry...
A guilt-ridden mother about to give birth in a frontier town...
A daughter seeking the strength to start over on her own... 

This companion book to Ugly Stick offers a range of perspectives on 
family, friendship, and the true meaning of beauty.

--

I'm super-excited, triple-delighted, and I hope you are too! Please stay tuned to this site and my official Facebook page for exclusives, sneak peeks, and maybe even some giveaways.

Thanks, and Happy Reading!