Category Archives: Reading

Celebrating Indie Books Day–Why I’m an Indie Author/Publisher

Standard

twitter-header-july-2016

I’m an author because I like it.

I like writing.

I like research.

I like pantsing the story. (I am not a detailed outliner.)

I like editing my own stuff as I go.

I like playing with the story and tweaking it until it shines.

I like playing with the words and the syntax until they shine.

I like it when the characters tell me what’s happening next.

I like it when the story reveals itself to me, and it’s not at all what I thought it was going to be. Yee-haa!

I’m an indie publisher because

I even like proofreading, as weird as that sounds, since I was an English teacher and I know the rules pretty well. Proofreading makes the work all shiny. Shiny is good.

I’m not as keen on the promotion part, but I’m becoming more adept at it. Bookbub, ENT, Freebooksy, Book Gorilla, Booktastik, Awesome Gang. I’ve never had a Bookbub, the holy grail of us indies. Sniff. It’s like not getting to go to the Big Leagues. Sniff. But then I haven’t tried that hard. I did get a new book cover, but now I need a promo assistant.

And a bunch of other stuff. See my Ancient History.

Ancient History

I didn’t write much when I was young because my typing skills suck. I took a typing class in high school and they still sucked. See, I never wanted to be a secretary, get stuck behind a desk typing someone else’s correspondence or be a sitting target of sexual harassment, so this was my way to rebel. Easy. I’d suck at typing. I would then have to be a waitress (who is not a target of sexual harassment? Go figure.) and hire people to type my papers for me all through college. Typing was excruciating for me then. Part of this was using all the white-out and correcting tape if you made a mistake, and you’d better believe I made them a lot. It didn’t serve me very well to be bad at typing, but that’s what I did for years. I became an English teacher, and hand wrote my tests and handouts to ditto off for the students. Purple fingers. Remember them? Yes, it was that bad.

Until we got a computer in 1995 and I found out I could make a mistake and correct it on the fly! (I just corrected the word “correct” four times on the fly as I typed it.) YES!!!! FREEDOM!!! FREEDOM!!! Did I say FREEDOM??? No more white-out or correcting tape! No more stopping and ripping the damned paper as I grabbed it out of my damned Brother typewriter or positioning it wrong so the lines were askew. No more retyping complete pages of work!!! (Sorry Brother. It wasn’t your fault. I just wasn’t that into you.) Also, I could now abuse the exclamation point with total abandon in one key stroke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I promise never to do that again.

Just a couple of years later, the computer was my bosom buddy, the place where I churned out handouts and tests with ease, despite my crappy typing skills.

But we only had one, and the kids were on it constantly, playing World of War Craft.

Then I got my laptop, and I started finding daily reasons to sit down and churn out more than tests. Textbooks were expensive, and copiers were available, so I had been relying on copying jazz chants and skits for grammar practice for the students from a couple of my favorite sources—other people’s books. But that wasn’t really legal. At all.

Sad face.

So my little brain poked me on the way home from classes. “Hey, you could write your own jazz chants and skits that you could use legally. How about this one? I am riding, riding, riding in my car, car, car. I am running, running, running out of gas, gas, gas.” Or this.

What are you doing?                                   I’m walking, I’m walking.

Where are you going?                                To the jungle, the jungle.

What’s in the jungle?                                  We’ll see, we’ll see.

Who’s going with you?                               My puppy, my puppy.

Where are you now?                                   By the river, the river.

What’s in the river?                                     A hippo, a hippo.

What is it doing?                                          It’s swimming, it’s swimming.

Where is its baby?                                       Behind it, behind it.

What’s on the river bank?                          A crocodile, a crocodile.

Where is it moving?                                     Toward us, toward us.

How do its eyes look?                                 They’re bigger, they’re bigger.

Why is it coming here?                               It likes us, it likes us.

How many teeth does it have?                  A hundred, a hundred.

What is it thinking about?                          Lunch, lunch.

Why are you running?                                Guess!

Yeah, they were a kick. I loved writing my own skits and jazz chants. I still have them around somewhere. I need to put them out in book form.

Anyway,  from there, I made the jump to stories. I took a couple of creative writing classes at the local college, and the creative well cap deep within me popped off. WORDS spurted up from there (or maybe from my spleen or tonsils) with fun ideas for weird stories that went nowhere. I was well into my 40’s, and I was having the time of my life with my lifelong friends: WORDS.

See, I am a language person. I studied German starting at age 11 in 7th grade. Followed by Spanish, French, and Italian. I even lived in France for a year to learn the language. Plus I have a degree in math, but only because it’s another language. I LOVE language and WORDS. I taught English to foreigners for 20 years because it was an excuse to play with language and words and get paid for it. Give me words put together in an interesting way and you’ve hooked me for life.

So the challenge was to put my own words together in an interesting way for other people to read and enjoy. Which took years. And classes. And many rewrites. And commentary from editors. And writers’ conferences. The first chapter of each of my books was rewritten probably 50 times each.

In 2003, I wrote Alice in Monologue Land, a humorous mystery/romance/adventure about a college instructor who reluctantly does a monologue in a college production for women and has the ride of her life, meeting three odd, interested men and solving some weird disappearances along the way.

It was a little long.

“You have a 150,000-word manuscript?” the agent or editor at a conference would choke out. “Uh, see. You can’t have a first book over 100,000 words published. Try again. Get it down to 90,000. Or could you cut it in half and have a series?”

Why? Why should I write this story shorter than it wanted to be? And it was not a series. It was a fun book.

Well apparently, paper and ink cost money, and the publishing houses didn’t want to waste money on printing extra pages for the first book of an unknown author, so the book had to be under 400 pages.

Grrrrrr. I’d actually started with 175,000 words. I’d already cut out 1/7—real chaff. But word count was prominent in all submissions to agents and editors.

Fine. Whatever. With great determination and much acute sadness, I cut Alice in Monologue Land to 100,000 words. But Alice was just like me on a starvation diet at my lowest weight. She would not stay put at that very precarious place. She really likes chocolate—and cheesecake. When I reread the book, much of it made no sense, so I put back some words. A bit later, I realized Alice needed a complete overhaul, as the book was based on a certain famous monologue production, and I was never going to get an OK from those famous monologue producers to use their material in my non-famous book. So I invented my own monologue production. And I rewrote. And every time I rewrote, the MS grew again. It needed clarity. It needed to be funny and not rushed. It would not fit in the “ready to print” box of a publishing house. It ended up at 120,000 words. Or so. That’s what it says on Alice’s driver’s license, anyway. I believe her.

Alice also wouldn’t fit on the traditional bookshelf. Print books in brick-and-mortar stores get categorized into a very limited set of narrow genres right off the bat—so the store clerks, who are apparently total nincompoops, can tell where to shelve a book. I mean, seriously? Writers are actually told to limit their books’ scope—i.e. not to mix genres—in order for bookstore staff to be able to shelve the books properly! No matter that readers (like me) are always looking for something new, or that even editors might want something new. Hah! When you give editors/publishers something new, they get all prissy and say they really just want the same old thing, something that fits into their hundred-year-old genre boxes. Grrr.

But Alice in Monologue Land (available on Amazon) is a mystery, a romance, and an adventure, and it’s funny. I put all this in the book intentionally, as a combination of genres was what I wanted to read. (Hey, I like Castle and the movie, Australia. That pretty much says it all.) For me, plain old mysteries needed a little romantic spice, and plain old romance was dull as dust without some mystery. (Sorry, romance writers, but how many men are that commitment phobic? Are there no other personality types in the world to write about? No other types of conflict?) And for my taste, most writers needed to lighten up a LOT and add some humor. Artfully written humor is what brings me to a book and keeps me reading. Hence my fondness for Spencer Quinn’s work, featuring first person narrative by a dog.

So. Genre. My book was not romance—too complex, too many scenes without the hero. And not really women’s fiction—too funny. It was a mystery, but what type? Not a procedural. Not a thriller. Cozy mysteries were not supposed to include sex scenes, and were supposed to be rather short. Not exactly Alice.

Frig.

I decided the book was probably chick lit. Chick lit mystery. Yeah.

But to confuse things no end, the publishing houses/agents/book critics decided right when I wanted to publish my chick lit mystery that chick lit was no longer a viable genre.

Wait. What?!? It’s what I was reading and writing. What gave them (A bunch of fuddy duddy old males?? Surely women would not do this to each other?) the right to say that the exact books I liked–women’s humor = chick lit–weren’t a viable genre?

Actually, they called it a dead genre.

Deaaaaad? Reallllllly? They need to check out all the indie chick lit books that make a lot of money in this “dead” genre.

Upshot: I think there should be a chick lit shelf in all bookstores. Take that, Barnes and Noble, and every other store, brick and mortar or online, that doesn’t have a chick lit section.

Upshot 2: Poor Alice was too pudgy (large word count) and her genres were mixed. The genre she fit into best was “dead.” Not very PC of the publishing houses to hold this against her. I realized that my book would never sell to a big publishing house or get me an agent, even though it was pretty funny and full and it kept me entertained for a long time while I wrote it.

Upshot 3: It was time to write another book, a shorter one.

Which I did in 2006. Roll with the Punches. Starring Rhonda Hamilton, a librarian and author, whose manuscript got stolen by a big, hotshot bestselling author, and who went in search of the thief with the aid of a bunch of derby girls. Despite her dad acting totally weird. The book ended up to have the same mix of genres as Alice in Monologue Land. (Who would have guessed?) Now to her credit, Rhonda started at a svelte 120,000 words. (I had learned a thing or two about conciseness.) I shaved Rhonda down to 100,000 words, trying to make her salable to a big press. That lasted about a minute. She, too, would not stay skinny. When I finally self-published this book on Amazon last year, after a bajillion rewrites, it was back up to 120,000 words. Or so. Don’t ask Rhonda about it. She’s sensitive about her size. She’ll punch you.

Needless to say, my books were not a (narrow-minded) publishing house’s dream. But they were my dream, so when I realized I had another option, I became an indie publisher to get them out there and share them with other people as my vision, not someone else’s. And I haven’t displeased too many readers thus far. Yeah, I have some requisite 1-star reviews. Badge of honor for all indie publishers. Funny = juvenile. LOL. But plenty of readers find my books delightful, even if they don’t exactly fit on the bookstore shelves. Imagine that, Harper Collins. Or Simon & Schuster.

Seriously.

Onward.

Recently, I finished a set of three seasonal short stories: sequels to Alice in Monologue Land, featuring secondary characters from that book. I published them under the title: Kiss My Sweet Skull. They’re chick lit, and two are mysteries. Please read them. The stories are nice little chunks of fun, easy to read in one sitting. I also have a short story coming out in a holiday anthology called: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Chick Lit. It will be out in November, free on all platforms. Read it! It’s fun! And because I said so. And if you haven’t read my 2 novels and reviewed them on Amazon, get with the program and do that. Good grief. Don’t make me stop this car and come back there.

Now, I have a third novel started, and need to finish it between writing short stories and the 5000-word plays I write to perform with my group of nonagenarian reader’s theater peeps at the local assisted living. (Not for the timid, working with old peeps—they die on you and have strokes, etc.—but lots of dress-up fun for the living.)

Wish me luck on finishing the novel.

But I don’t need too much luck, as I have this handy-dandy laptop here, just waiting to bring my words to life, and correct me when I’m wrong. LOL. I hope you have as much fun bringing your dreams to life as I have had writing these books and stories.

Thanks for reading.

For more blogs about the indie author experience, here’s a link to Kathryn R. Biel’s  fabulous Indie Books Day Pinterest board. https://www.pinterest.com/kathrynrbiel/indie-book-day-2016/

Go there now. We indie authors/publishers deserve your attention.

Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit

Standard

Chatting with the chicks of chick lit Wed blogpost graphic 2016

In honor of #ChickLitMay, we dispense with the formalities and join our local TV channel 7777 mid-broadcast.

talk show host Chuck

Chuck: Ha ha ha ha! Welcome, welcome everyone to Chatting With the Chicks of Chick Lit! I’m your host, Chuck Lottateeth, and I am so thrilled to be able to introduce you to some of the most fascinating characters in literature today. I’m talking about the leading ladies of Chick Lit—those enchanting, romantic, darling, sexy, sweet, funny, headstrong—and, let’s face it, sometimes downright frustrating—modern women who headline this fabulously fun genre. I’m sure you’re going to love getting the skinny on these “novel” heroines, and who knows? You might just find your new BFF on the pages of one of these books!

So. Without further ado, please put your hands together and show some love for today’s guests: Rhonda Hamilton from Roll with the Punches and Alice Chalmers from Alice in Monologue Land.

Audience: Yayyyyy!

Chuck : Rhonda is a librarian with the Orange County Public Library, but when the clock strikes five, she enters that extra-tall phone booth and dons her cape, mask, sexy fishnets and roller skates to become a hot-to-trot roller derby queen! She’s killin’ it on the flat track, right, Rhonda?

derby girl

Rhonda: Actually, a cape and mask would really get in my way on the roller derby track. It’s the reason I didn’t pick “Superwoman” as my derby moniker. I prefer a more solid, regal name, like “Queen Hat Cheap Suit” or  “Empress The Adored One” or “Queen It’s A Belly of Cast Iron.” And I hate masks. We all do. We gotta see where we’re going so we don’t trip over other skaters and cause a dogpile on the track.

Chuck: But you are the sexiest (and tallest) librarian on skates, right? A whole lotta woman there. Listen, I saw you in that red harem girl garb at the fundraiser with that jingly velvet bra that got whipped off, and hello, baby! Va-va-va-—Ow!

Rhonda: Oh, gosh. Does your shin hurt? Put some of this ointment on it right away.

Chuck: Thanks. What’s in it?

Rhonda: Just some capsaicin plus a little battery acid. Great for all the lacerations and contusions we roller derby girls accumulate during a bout. Wanna see my latest road rash? It’s got the pattern of my fishnet stockings etched into the scab. Nice, huh, that purple and green tinge?

Chuck: Ew, not hungry for lunch any more. Well, our other guest today is Ms. Alice Chalmers. Alice teaches English at a local college, where she recently starred in a stage production of The Chronicles of Narnia. You must have made a splendid White Witch. Doesn’t she look the part, everybody?

teacher vector for Alice

Audience: Yes!

Alice: Uh. White Witch? Do I look that bad? I’m only 41. Give a girl a break.

Chuck: Oh, no. Of course not. Well, I’m sure you knocked their socks off as the—the—was it Aslan the Lion? Or maybe Father Christmas? A centaur?

Alice: The Lion? Father Christmas? A centaur? Oh, my God. Do I need a makeover, Rhonda?

Rhonda: Geez. Excuse me, Mr. Lottateeth. Alice was never in that play.

Chuck: So why is she here?

Rhonda: You want me to punch his lights out for you, Alice?

Alice: Not quite yet.

Rhonda: Just say the word.

Alice: Deep breath. Look, Chuck, I was in a production called The Venus Monologues at my college. Only it wasn’t a play. It was a collection of deep, poetic, and powerful monologues, written and performed by the students and faculty at the college. All about being female.

pole dancers 1

Chuck:  Ooooh. Sexxxxy. Are the rumors true? Were you all pole dancing throughout?

Alice: Oh, yeah. We were all pole dancing. You should have seen all us teachers in our black dresses and pearls swinging around those poles while we shrieked out our lines.

chubby pole dancer

Chuck: Oh, man. Will there be another performance?

Alice: You doofus! There was no pole dancing! We were reading monologues! About all the amazing and varied facets of being female in this world, from birth to being a mother to being an artist to blazing powerful trails for future women in business and leadership.

woman reading

Chuck: But you had a superhot romance going at the time, right? I believe a little bird told me it was more like threeeee hot romances?

Alice: Sort of. But—

Chuck: And I heard that you Venus girls wore black bustiers and feather boas on stage and then you all stripped at the end, like in Hair.

Alice: No way! Okay, Rhonda. He’s yours.

Chuck: Now, now, ladies! Put away your knitting needles! Hahaha! Moving right along, I have a few questions to ask you two today. First: If you were a shoe, what kind of shoe would you be?

Rhonda: Duh. A quad roller skate, maybe with wings and custom yellow wheels, just for fun.

Retro Style Winged Roller Skate

Retro Style Winged Roller Skate.

Chuck: And you, Alice?

Alice: Comfortable. Blue, maybe.

Chuck: Is that it, Alice? No favorite brand?

Alice: First, you can call me Ms. Chalmers, and second, I need comfort. I teach on my feet all day long. If you want to badger me about it, I can just go read a few grammatically hideous student papers that will be way funnier than you.

Chuck: Touche! Next question. What are the three items you would absolutely need to have with you if you were shipwrecked on a desert island?

Rhonda: My laptop with a battery charged for life. An ice pick to break coconuts open. And my skates. Assuming the island has some sidewalks or roads to skate on. In fact, even if there weren’t any roads, I’d still have them there to look at. They are soooooo awesome.

Chuck: Alice? Er, Ms. Chalmers?

Alice: Oh, wow. A cook, a gardener, and a carpenter. All male, in their thirties.

Chuck: Excuse me? Those aren’t items.

Alice: I know, and you’re excused. But it’s my dream. Stay out of it.

Chuck: Okay. If you had only $15 to spend, what would be the perfect date?

Rhonda: Get ice cream at the beach and walk the cliff walk at Besker Park with my best dude.

Alice: Wait. How did you know I had only $15 to spend on my last date? Did you hack my phone?

Chuck: Of course not! How about if you had $50 to spend?

Rhonda: Take a Gelson’s deli picnic to Anaheim Stadium for a game.

Alice: We’d got out to eat Indian food at the hole-in-the-wall restaurant down the street. I like it spicy.

Chuck: Oooh. You do, huh? Are you free later?

Alice: No.

Chuck: Well then, what’s your ideal date for $5,000?

Rhonda: Are you kidding me? A week in Paris with my BFFs. No men involved.

Chuck: Nice. Alice?

Alice: $5000? To blow on a date? Well, that would be me accompanying my son to the University of California for his first quarter.

Chuck: Okay. Your best friend is asked to describe you in five words. What would they be?

Rhonda: Persistent, clever (shut up—I am, too), devious, strong, and blunt. Maybe loyal. Depends which friend you ask.

Alice: It’s gonna take more than five words for me. Let’s see. Loving, motherly, talented, sometimes a little frustrated, world-wise—no, make that world-weary. Possibly a bit nervous—okay, a lot nervous. And maybe … full. Satisfied. Replete. Who needs men, anyway? They’re so complicated.

Chuck: Hah! Yes, we are, aren’t we? But what if your nemesis is also asked to describe you in five words? What would they be?

Rhonda: Persistent, clever, devious, strong, and blunt.

Alice: I don’t have time for a nemesis. But if you find one, and they want to describe me, I think I’ll just put my fingers in my ears. La-la-la.

Chuck: Ahem. If you could be the heroine in any chick flick, who would it be and why?

Rhonda: Lara Croft. OMG. I’d be all over raiding tombs.

Alice: Oh, I’d be Joan Wilder in Romancing the Stone, cutting loose and sliding down the muddy slopes of the Amazon River, swinging on vines across chasms, riding in the “Little Mule.” Wait. Did I say that out loud? Oh, sorry. I … mean … I’d be Miss Pettigrew in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Much safer.

Chuck: Well, this has been quite exciting and illuminating, meeting the two of you. Can you two lovely ladies visit us again soon—maybe wearing your bustiers and boas next time? Wink, wink? Nudge, nudge? We’ll provide the poles if you do the dances!

Rhonda: Now, Alice? Please?

Alice: Go ahead, Rhonda. Make my day.

kapow

Amy Gettinger’s books:

Roll with the Punches

What happens when the novel you’ve just finished writing and started hawking to agents gets published by a nationally bestselling author—just when Dad starts storing milk in the tool chest? You hunt for the book thief, of course, aided by a goofy roller derby team and two drool-worthy guys. Whether skating in treacherous derby bouts or downhill chasing Dad, one thing is sure: you’d better not fall, girl. http://myBook.to/RWTP

Alice in Monologue Land

Practice your snort laugh! College instructor Alice is headed down the campus rabbit hole into a world of adventure, romance, and danger. Add a splash of chaos and some cringe-producing talk of female body parts–on stage. But her students are going missing. Can Alice find them in time to avert tragedy in this “carnival ride of a tale with more spins than a tilt-a-whirl?” ~ #DiiBylo of Tome Tender Blog http://myBook.to/Alice

Kiss My Sweet Skull

A collection of seasonal short stories featuring the faculty and students of Garden Beach College, the fictional home of my novel, Alice in Monologue Land.

“Cupid, with a Eucalyptus Tree, in the Teachers’ Workroom”: Annabelle Lopez’s anonymously delivered valentine is so perfect that she knows her soul mate is tantalizingly close by, except none of the local candidates seems quite right.

“Apples and Goat Cheese, and a Red Bikini (In France!)”: Frannie, an au pair girl for a surfing family on the sunny French Riviera, finds  romance … and trouble lurking in the dark. The clue could be in the apples and goat cheese.

“Kiss My Sweet Skull”: Is pumpkin pie seriously the best answer for anthropology professor Dr. Betty Hundleby’s awful skull nightmares at Halloween? Or could an oddly timed kiss be just the thing she needs?  http://myBook.to/Skull

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reader’s Theater for Seniors

Standard

IMG_0978

In September of 2013, I was bored. I’d spent the past nine months killing at Words With Friends, but never writing a word.

A friend said, “Why don’t you do a reader’s theater class? It’s big in the elementary schools.”

“People are busy,” I said. “Kids do reader’s theater at school. Would such a simple thing attract anyone with a gajillion TV channels, the Internet, and cell phones to play with?”

She said, “Try seniors. They need some fun besides BINGO.”

So I dusted off my trusty laptop and adapted “A Christmas Carol” to a play format and peddled it to the local assisted living as a program to produce a forty-five-minute play every two months. To my surprise, the activities director accepted my offer. A retired teacher friend offered to help me wrangle the seniors. In her words: “Working with seniors is like working with kids. Or herding cats.”

Unsure about it all, I was amazed when eight octogenarians and nonagenarians showed up at the first class meeting. As we practiced, two ladies seemed pretty Alzheimer’sy. I gave them shorter parts.

My trusty helper sat by them and poked them when it was time to read. “You read only the yellow words, Mathilda.”

Mathilda would then read, “Tiny Tim: God Bless us, every one!” Bless her heart.

Jane would dither, “Where are we? Am I on the right page?” (She never was.)

But no matter. We enjoyed including them, and they sang well.

Once my earnest seniors started reading in their gravelly or high, thin voices, the play was like a glacier, barreling slowly, but with deceptive strength, towards its denouement.

I could barely squeeze in a note—“Speak louder? Clearer? Repeat that, please?”—between their inexorable lines.

Sitting all spiffily dressed with their walkers lined up to one side, their hands fiercely clutching the pages of the script, their glasses firmly in place, these beaky bulldozers pressed forward with determination and occasional giggles. If they messed up words or delivery or song tempo, they’d soldier on.

Can’t reach ninety without perseverance.

IMG_0962

We started with scripts printed on both sides, stapled in the corner. This caused some confusion and arthritic flapping of pages until we went to booklet format. I always tailor the scripts to the vocabulary easiest for them to read aloud. At first, for every reprinting, I laboriously highlighted every part for every character in the 32-page scripts by hand. Now, my two-sided color printer and highlighting macro for Word do the job super fast.

Readers have come and gone (sometimes to heaven), but reader’s theater is still fun for everyone. I’ve stocked up on costume hats and feather boas for performances. We have a blast putting on the plays. And the need for 4500-5000 words of funny script (including songs and sound effects) every two months has gotten me back to daily writing. I’ve adapted six plays, written five original plays and published two old manuscripts since 2013.

Win, win. Thanks, seniors. It’s been fun.

RT White Christmas 2014

All Promotional Stuff + A New Review for Roll with the Punches

Standard
MIAMI,  FL - MARCH 22: Derek E. Miller (L) and Alexis Krauss of Sleigh Bells perform at the Ultra Music Festival on March 22, 2013 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

Me in my wildest dreams

So this week, I posted a bunch of Chick Lit Chat HQ #chicklitmay #chicklitreads #chicklitmonth related blog posts, two with contests and prizes–got a lot of blog exposure, and some exposure for Roll with the Punches, my literary (cough) okay, humorous fiction baby.

And I wrote a new short story to include in another free (promotional) anthology for summer, featuring red bikinis. Good story–coming together well. I had nasty arm and back pain from too much computer use. Still do.

I tweeted and followed and tweeted and followed–not obsessively, but more than usual. I’ve got close to 300 (Woohoo!!) followers now, though my heart is not in tweeting at all. Sorry, Twitterverse.

I put Roll with the Punches on sale for 99 cents–> http://www.amazon.com/Roll-Punches-Roller-Alzheimers-Plagiarism-ebook/dp/B00V5B3W12

And I FB posted and tweeted and blogged about that, forgetting to include the buy link to Amazon. (Thanks, Paul De Lancey for catching that.) Then I included the buy link and it either wouldn’t stay a full link or it blew away the sale art. I can’t figure out how to post using my own (well, not my own–I begged it at the last minute from Karan Eleni at Bliss Book Promotions–bless her wonderful, giant heart) graphic for the book being on sale WITH the Amazon link, which wants to post my book’s cover art. The two pix battled it out, and Amazon won.

Rondagrahpic

I am also being featured at Dianne Bylo’s awesome Tome Tender Book Blog–go here–> http://tometender.blogspot.com/2015/05/spotlight-on-amy-gettinger-her-fun.html?zx=cb46d30f863b4393. She is sooooo generous with her time and her great reviews. Love her! She makes my spotlight look really fun, and she’s just a peach.

Fools Rush In, the April Fools Day free (promotional) anthology that I have a piece in has reached over 30,000 people–many, many downloads. Should translate to sales, right?

I got a wonderful Amazon review from the awesome Karin Gillespie, whose Bottom Dollar books I adore. http://www.amazon.com/Karin-Gillespie/e/B001HCVXHY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1431904518&sr=1-1

I did a quick promo with B Knights on Fiverr. Supposed to bring many sales!!! Yeah! But I must have done something wrong. Seriously.

I have great support! I do! My husband, my friends! Dianne Bylo! The incomparable Karan Eleni! Karin Gillespie! The large and very supportive Chick Lit Chat community!!!

And I sold 2 books. And 2 got borrowed. All that to sell 2 books. And loan out 2.

Yeah, I was in tears yesterday.

Then, I dug into the email I missed when I was mid-cold virus two weeks ago and found this Reader’s Favorite 5-star review–which apparently can’t be posted on Amazon, but which is pretty cool.

Book Review
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

“Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism is a chick lit novel written by Amy Gettinger. Rhonda’s relatively carefree existence gets entirely turned upside down in almost no time at all. The librarian and aspiring novelist finds out that the novel she’s been writing for over a year, and spent a full month finishing, has been plagiarized by the mysterious, best-selling author, Reynold Jackson. To make it even more painful a loss, the book’s a runaway bestseller and the fact that she had shopped the book to a number of agents means her reputation is totally shot. Things are even worse at home. Monica, the older sister who took care of things relative to their parents, has emigrated to Australia, her mother’s in the hospital and her father is acting very oddly.

Amy Gettinger’s romantic comedy, Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism, works on so many different levels that it’s awfully hard to categorize it under any single genre. The mystery of the purloined manuscript and the sleuthing efforts of Rhonda, her friend, Harley and the Amazon Rollergirls is first-rate, with plenty of red herrings and an unpredictable ending. Rhonda’s adventures in the roller derby world are marvelous as is her love of being active, strong and athletic — she makes a fabulous role model for young women. The issue of aging parents and the duties that seem to fall willy-nilly on the geographically closest child is a serious one that’s handled with love, humor, and respect. Finally, there’s the romance, something Rhonda’s not too good at, and how she resolves the sudden interest of not one, but two men. Yes, there are sex scenes in Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism, and they’re delightfully free of the usual cliches and filled with invention, frolic and warmth, and they were sheer pleasure to read. This is a big, warm-hearted, hilarious book that wraps the reader up within its covers and holds them there until the last page — and that’s a very good thing. Roll with the Punches: A Story of Roller Derby, Alzheimer’s and Plagiarism is most highly recommended.”

Go here for more info–> https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/roll-with-the-punches

So that made my freaking week. I really like Jack Magnus now. He gets me. He really gets me. I feel like Sally Field at the Oscars in 1985. If he ever needs a place to stay in SoCal, no problem. This is it.

And now you know how old I am.

Wow! I’m in the spotlight at Tome Tender Book Blog!

Standard

WHOOOOOOOOOOOP!

I am privileged this week to be featured on Dianne Bylo’s fabulous Tome Tender Book Blog. Dianne is a top-500 reviewer on Amazon and a VORACIOUS reader!!! She’s graciously offered to review and feature both of my books (plus the 2 anthologies) this week!!! What a fun ride! Thanks so much, Dianne!!!

http://tometender.blogspot.com/2015/05/spotlight-on-amy-gettinger-her-fun.html

And here’s her review of Alice in Monologue Land.

Alice cover 1

“Practice your snort laugh, you are going to need it and its okay if someone hears you, it means another author has done their job! Amy Gettinger has a story to tell and it’s one for regular women, and about regular women, because seriously, sometimes guys just don’t get many of a female’s issues or stumbling blocks in life. Meet Alice, single mom, struggling to make ends meet, be in three places at one time and now, a speaker for a unique women’s literary event. And she is trying to find a way out of it, desperately, because, really who wants to read a poem or anything about female body parts. Alice isn’t a groundbreaker, she’s good with not being up close and personal with her, um, you know…and the oppression women have felt over being comfortable with their bodies? Can’t call her a groundbreaker there, either.

Pretty sure you have figured out this is not drama, although Amy Gettinger does make some dramatic scenes come to life with a bit of mystery and edgy darkness. Ms. Gettinger is here to entertain and she succeeds admirably, from page one as she takes us through the chaotic life that belongs to her main character, Alice. From dark parking lots to students who are more than they seem, to pythons giving “hugs,” one must admire the character Alice or pray for her survival.
A fun-loving read, perfect to bring sunshine to even the cloudiest day, Ms. Gettinger lets us know it is okay to laugh at ourselves, just in case we can identify with Alice and that reading less than lofty tomes brings a certain sparkle and shine to the literary world. I might suggest you hang on tight, this tale has more spins than a tilt-a-whirl.”

http://www.amazon.com/Alice-Monologue-Land-Amy-Gettinger-ebook/dp/B00VVK8NFM

I am happy dancing all day today!!! Hope you’ll go over and check out her blog post–you can win gift cards!!!

Book Excerpt: Roll with the Punches

Standard

Here’s an excerpt of Roll with the Punches:

I was just getting ready to call Marian’s copyright lawyer, Jack Pruitt, at lunchtime when my cell phone rang.

“Rhonda? Is that you?” said an older female voice.

“Yep. This is my cell phone.”

“It’s Arlene, honey. You don’t happen to know where your dad is, do you?”

Alarm bell. “No. He should be in Anaheim, at home.”

Polite Arlene minced words. “Well, Corliss Greene was with him this morning, but your father, well, maybe … kind of yelled at her or something. Your mother told her to make cereal for his breakfast, but Harold insisted on making eggs and bacon. I think it may have ended in kind of a … well, a food fight. Then he wanted to go see your mother right away, but Corliss was still cleaning up the kitchen. He got real impatient, I believe he swore some, and he took off, she thought for a walk. That was about 9:30 or so. She called me at my job an hour later when she realized he’d taken the car. She said she couldn’t work for a man with a mouth like that. She quit.”

Stomach sinking, I said, “So did he go see my mother?”

“He never showed up there. Nobody knows where he went. I got some neighbors to look in the neighborhood, but no luck. Your mother told me not to bother you, but it’s been almost three hours, and I’m really worried.”

Oh boy. Orange County was a giant place, and Dad was loose in it.

“I’m coming. Try the local donut shops, okay?”

Stooped, gray Marla in her stout librarian’s shoes was deeply unhappy at my leaving work early on a Friday, but I finally got a hall pass and flew back to Anaheim in my little Honda, like Boudicca in her chariot, ready to save her royal ancestor. On the way, I stopped at my condo for some fresh ice packs.

The Santa Ana winds had intensified overnight to produce a hot, dry, hazy October day. During my drive, my head filled with a blast of acrid wood smoke blowing in from wild fires in the hills near Silverado and Modjeska Canyons. My eyes watered and my nose ran. It was the type of day we Southern Californians used as an excuse for arson, murder, and bad hair.

When I pulled up at the curb outside the folks’ house, I had already peeled off my green linen jacket. I ran inside. A quick tour of the suffocating house revealed no sign of Music Man, not even the old blue Chevy in its normal mooring place. In the middle of the family room, I slammed my bag on the brown shag carpet, shed all my clothes except my underwear, and screamed loudly. Then I flipped on the cranky old air conditioning, crouched low under the kitchen window and Arlene’s visual radar, and slapped together a peanut butter sandwich at the kitchen countertop, all the while trying to read Dad’s mind.

Where are you, you old coot?

But my sports bra and underpants were soaked with sweat. So I popped them in the microwave and found a chunk of ice to rub on my stomach and chest and stood in front of the family room air vent feeling quite free in an odd sort of way. The hall mirror showed me a slightly rounded Roman statue of Pomona, goddess of fruit, come to life. Me. Au naturel. I posed a second for the glass. Not bad, except for the dorky sandals.

Then, just like my karate-loving brothers at age five, running around with weenies flapping at bath time, my lack of clothes freed the real Pomona inside me. I stretched like a cat, working out muscle stiffness, and danced a swirly, twirly dance around the room. As I did, my goddess energy shifted more toward Athena in battle, throwing air punches at the mirror and striking defensive stances. I snatched a pot lid for my shield and lashed out with a stirring spoon, my spear, then whirled and stuck the butcher knife deep into my imaginary opponent’s invisible heart. A high kick at his compadres with my magic sandal finished the job.

Which was when Dal walked in the garage door and got a comprehensive view of everything I had to offer. Faster than a speeding bullet, I was down the hall, leaving the spoon and butcher knife suspended in mid-air like in Tom and Jerry cartoons. Then silence. For long minutes.

“Could you throw me my bra? It’s in the microwave,” I finally yelled.

Pause. It sailed down the hall.

I waited. “And my underwear?”

It came after another pause, with elastic now as limp as old celery.

“You nuke elastic?” he said.

“Never,” I yelled. “Clothes?”

“Why?” He laughed.

When I came out in Mom’s robe, he was rooting in the fridge. “This house has unexpected and wondrous views.” he murmured to the lettuce.

“Mm-hmm,” I agreed, appreciating my view of a tightly muscled rear end and some long, sleek, brown legs disguised in old cut-offs and Nikes. Not bad. “Forget what you saw or you die.” I bit into my sandwich.

He closed the fridge and turned, imperious with all that startling nose. A smile quirked his lips. “Not sure it’s possible,” he said, then laughed.

*           *           *

After I’d changed, I found him out on the driveway, unloading his over-stuffed silver Toyota. “Have you seen my dad?” I asked, holding a cold Coke to my forehead. It was still mercilessly hot out.

He was arranging an armload of long metal pipes, two-by-fours, saws, and other tools, including some evil-looking axes, on and around the workbench in the garage, ponytail wagging as he bent and lifted.

“No, I just got here. Your car was here and the garage door was open. So I …” He stacked a giant plastic bin full of scrap metal on top of a pile next to the workbench.

I said, “Listen, Music Man took off in the car three hours ago. No one knows where he is.” A little frantic note crept into my voice.

He stopped and looked at me. “Music Man?”

“Dad. Harold Hamilton, Harold Hill. He was in the school play.”

“He’s not at the hospital?”

“Never went there. He’s been gone for hours.”

“And your little naked dance in there was aimed at getting him home fast?” He frowned.

“I was nuking my underwear. I couldn’t call the police naked.” I pulled out my phone and dialed the police as I spoke, and got put on hold.

“Why not? People do it all the time.”

“Not me.”

He gave me a measuring look. “You seem relieved.”

“Huh?”

He shrugged. “He’s wandered off. Pardon my bluntness, but isn’t that a perfect excuse to put him in assisted living and not have to deal with him anymore?”

“What the—! Who asked you? See, I work for a living. I can’t be here every minute. And I didn’t lose him. He took off.” The police operator finally picked up, and I barked out all the pertinent information into my phone, including Dad’s driver’s license and license plate number. I’d memorized them long ago.

Dal’s eyes were unreadable. “Was he alone this morning?”

Hanging up, I turned on him, blood in my eye. “You mean did I leave him alone just to give him the chance to wander off so I’d have an excuse to commit him? Boy, are you a snake.” I stomped into the house to get my purse and an apple.

He was waiting in the yard, an eyebrow raised, when I got back outside.

I burst out, “Look, everyone says he’s fine. The doctor said he should stay home, and he agrees. So we’re trying that. He doesn’t want a keeper, but he takes off when he’s left alone. At least in one of those assisted living places, we could locate him. But why am I talking to you? According to you, whatever I do with him is wrong.” I got in my car and slammed the door. My butt bruises screamed. I’d forgotten to bring an ice pack.

He stood impassive in the yard, arms crossed.

I wrestled with my seat belt, still grumbling. “He was so obnoxious that his companion left today. But I’m the one to blame! The doctor assured me—” The seat belt would not unroll. “—all Dad needed was a normal life.” Tug. “At home to get past the stress—” Tug. “—of Mom’s surgery and my sister’s moving.” I looked up and he was gone. I fought the damn thing for several minutes and got as manic as my sister on prom day.

Then suddenly he appeared at the driver’s side window and shoved three more cold Cokes at me. “Move over. I’ll drive.”

“This is my car, and someone needs to be at the house in case he comes home.”

“The neighbor’s right next door, and you’re too mad to drive.”

“A minute ago you blamed me for leaving him alone,” I complained, scooting over painfully. I hated women who always handed over the steering wheel whenever a Y chromosome entered a car. But I was too hot and frustrated for more protest.

The seat belt worked like silk for him, and he swung the car into the street. “Is there somewhere we should check, some favorite place where he might spend three hours?”

I held a Coke to my rib cage, then took a swig.

He said, “Some restaurant? A library? A bar? The beach?”

“That’s it!” I said. “The beach. He loves the beach. There are only a few thousand miles of that to search.”

 

I’m featured on Therese Gilardi’s blog today!

Standard

My wonderful friend Therese, who has a long and wonderful relationship with Paris and France, is hosting my book Roll With The Punches today! Thanks, Therese!

See the post at https://theresegilardi.wordpress.com/

Thanks for following!