Saturday, December 27, 2008

Lumpy Features and other Christmas Highlights

Well the rush of shopping, wrapping, baking, and shopping some more has finally ended. Yesterday I cleaned a mountain of dishes, pans, wrapping paper and ribbons. Today my favorite part of the holidays begins - the part where I get to sit around and relax while the children enjoy their new toys. I thought we'd never get here.

Since I finally have a quiet moment to get reacquainted with the concept of sitting, I thought I'd share a few of this year's Christmas highlights for the Reese family.

Christmas Memory Number One: The family was gathered a few evenings ago with the plan of playing a game. Worn out from our day's festivities, no one volunteered to make the trek downstairs to select a game. So we opted for Twenty Questions, the Christmas version. Nat stumped us with the word Toy Soldier, then I did just as well with Snowflake. Brandon's word, however, was guessed in just three tries. What are the odds? "Is it bigger than a breadbox?" Yes. "Smaller than a mountain?" No. "Is it Santa's Workshop?"

The game started to derail with Whitney's word selection: North Pole. Not the place. An actual pole.

"That's not even real!" her father shouted.
"It's in a movie! I saw it!"
"That doesn't make it real! You can't use imaginary objects!" (Faces were red, tension was high.)
"So you're saying I can't use Rudolph? Or Frosty? What about Santa? Are you saying I can't use Santa just because I've only seen him in a movie?"

We thought that ended the argument. Whitney won. The North Pole--the pole, not the place--is a legal word. But not one to give up easily, Dad's next word choice not only stumped us, but brought the game to a screeching halt: Santa's Pet Squid.

Christmas Memory Number Two: We got Brandon a karaoke machine for Christmas. If you know Brandon, or have followed this blog, you know what a perfect gift that is for him. Later that day he told me I was the best mom possible. Not just the best mom. Or the best mom ever. But the best mom POSSIBLE. Can't top that.

Christmas Memory Number Three: Santa brought the soon-to-be grandbaby a Winnie-the-Pooh play mat for Christmas. It features all the Pooh favorites - Eeyore, Piglet, Roo - as well as some lesser knowns, like the elephant Lumpy.

In fact, the box proudly proclaims: With Lumpy features in the Pooh Garden.

If that didn't make you laugh, you need to read it again.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Do you tell your real age?

I had a birthday yesterday. I love birthdays. A year older never has made me sad. Probably something to do with having cheated death a couple of times. I'm always just happy that I got one more year out of the bargain.

I celebrated by leading my church choir in our annual Christmas program. There were a few glitches, but none of them involved me and a legendary fall off the stage while conducting (again), so I can't complain.

There's something about birthdays and aging that I just don't get. Maybe one of you can help me figure it out. Here's the thing. Based on my picture above (about two years old) if I were to tell you I just turned 29, you'd probably think one of two things:

B. Whoah. 29? Are you kidding me? What happened? Those years have NOT been kind.

BUT, if I were to tell you I just turned 59, you would probably think something like:
ARE YOU KIDDING ME? 59? WOWZERS! What's your secret? You look AMAZING!

So, given the two different reactions, why does everyone go around claiming to be 29?

By the way - As you probably guessed, I'm neither of those. How old, you ask? I don't suppose you'd believe 69? =)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Contest Winner and Phase Two Begins!

I have been smacked in the face with real life during the holidays, and as a result haven't posted the contest winner of phase one. I am so sorry. I won't go into details about the last five days, since I'll either bore you to tears or make you think I'm lying. Let's just say it involves: a constipated dog, a kid with mono, another with a cold, a wedding anniversary, my husband's birthday, a church Christmas party, a family party, a family member's baptism, a choir program (that I'm directing), and a marathon shopping day. Whew.

But - I have not forgotten the contest! And that there is a winner! This morning I put all the names in a bowl - there were a lot of them I'm happy to say - and as I did I one-by-one kept thinking "I hope it's her" "oh I hope it's her" "oh no, I want it to be her". I think I did that with every contestant for one reason or another. Which made it a given that I would be so happy when I drew the name (other than feeling bad it couldn't be all of you.)

Anyway...the winner, chosen at random, is my good friend Cathleen Rackley. Cathleen is an incredible lady - I don't know how much she would want me to share on this blog, so I'll just say that she's a walking story waiting to be told, and an amazing example to anyone she meets of making the best out of the worst life has to offer. She has also been a great supporter of my work, even before she knew anything about it. There was that time she did reminded me of Kathy Bates and the movie Misery right before warning me that I better not have killed off the good guy. I think that was followed by wicked laughter. (I'm loosening my collar right now.)

But seriously, congrats Cathleen! You deserve it.

And it's not too late to win more prizes. Just write read the book, write a review, and share. Details are here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wow! Talk About Amazing Friends!

I'm speechless today. Grateful. Tearful. Thanks to all of you who showed such amazing support yesterday. As I feared might happen, Amazon is still showing that they're 2 to 3 weeks out in the shipping, and they didn't put the book on sale like my publisher asked them to. I so wanted to run around saying "don't do it! wait!"

But that's kind of impossible in cyberspace, so I held my breath and waited, feeling guilty that I'd asked people to make a purchase under such inhospitable circumstances.

And then I did what I have to admit was one of my "Yes, this proves she's an idiot moments." At twelve noon I started watching Amazon closely, refreshing every minute or so. The sales rank number was ridiculous. I didn't write it down (wish I had, just for laughs) but it was approx. 7,000,000. Yep, seven millionth in sales.

So I start refreshing, waiting for that number to change, and it doesn't. Over and over again. I start to feel sad. Having a party and nobody's here. I blow on my virtual party horn. A sad little tune. I do this for a full fifteen minutes. Start consoling myself: I didn't send out reminders. They didn't mark the price down. Won't guarantee it by Christmas.

But NOBODY? Come on!

Then it dawns on me. Mr. Publisher Man told me they recalculate every hour. It's not going to show a difference for a full hour. Maybe not for a full day if it's only a little blip. So I walked away. It was hard, but I did it. Checked back in an hour.

Wowser! It had jumped from a rank of seven millionth to #130,148! The next hour got even better: #29,048. By the third hour it was at #11,277.

The number has fallen since then, back into the range of the second hour, and it will continue to fall. And I don't know how many sales that represents. But it does put me up into the world of respectable books. Gives me a jumpstart that would have been impossible to reach any other way.

I still feel so guilty about asking you to buy a book at full price with slow shipping right before Christmas (especially one written by an author who's part-idiot). But I'm just floored that so many of you did.

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you!

And in case you're wondering - I'll be announcing the winner of phase one soon!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Big Day!

Well, the day has finally come! Twenty-six years with my hunky husband, and target date for purchasing Where Hearts Prosper. Twelve noon mst. If you haven't heard (and where have YOU been?) A bunch of sales in that hour will boost my rankings, so if you're going to get it, that's the time. Amazon still hasn't received that shipment, or at least they haven't updated the site. I'm still watching anxiously. But don't believe the note that says they are 2-3 weeks out for shipping, because that will change as soon as the books arrive in their warehouse - which should be any second now. At the same time, don't count on it if you're planning on Christmas gifts. Email me instead and I'll do my best to get one to you.

Enough about that - that twenty-six years thing is even better, don't you think? A cute little friend of mine is getting married today, and we were asked to write words of advice on a card at her wedding shower.

I wrote: FLIRT!

Yes, that's my advice. Don't stop, not matter how many decades pass. They say that it's impossible to be depressed while running. Well, I say it's impossible to be annoyed with your hubby while flirting.

Speaking of which, mine is eating breakfast right now, and it's our anniversary, so I've got to go practice. Twenty six years and he still makes me twitterpated!

See you at noon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Party Plans

You know how whenever you plan a big party, things never go quite as planned? Like at your wedding when the baker shows up with a cake so ugly that your mom writes a pretty note in caligraphy to put on the cake table that says Don't worry. The bride hates it too. (True story. Thanks for watching my back Mom.) Or when you give a baby shower for your neighbor and the little mom goes into labor an hour before the party? (True again.)

Well, with my track record I should know better than to plan anything. I've got what feels like the whole world showing up on Amazon to buy my book tomorrow at noon, (my traffic numbers are through the roof - thanks to all of you!) but as of right now, it is still not in stock. (Heavy Sigh.)

The shipment is on the way to Amazon, and that note that says they ship in two to three weeks should disappear any second now. BUT if you are planning on buying books as a Christmas gift, and the note is still there tomorrow, please don't place the order. Just email me and I'll make sure you get the books before Christmas. (info @

Meanwhile, I'm crossing my fingers and toes that the shipment arrives before the party, since a note from my mom won't cut it this time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Can You Top That?

As you know, I'm having a contest. It's easy to enter - just spread the word about my new book. The exact boring details are on my website for your reading pleasure.

Over the weekend I received a submission from a lady who has become a definite front-runner for my grand prize $100 Amazon Gift Card. Her blog is the Petticoat Posse Roundup and she had some way nice things to say.

You'll have to go to her blog to see it all, but here's an example. In response to some excuses for not indulging in a new book (namely mine) she says:

"I have bills therefore I work and the boss makes me do the work of 3 people therefore I am too tired to eat let alone indulge myself with a novel."

My response: Have a friend take a full body photo of you in your work clothing and then surf the net for a good deal on getting that photo turned into a lifesized cardboard cutout display JUST like they have at the video stores as movie displays. If you really want to trip your boss out get three of them made to make him think you literally cloned yourself in your loyalty to the company. Put it at your work station then spend your shift playing hookie hookie. At home, in bed reading "Where Hearts Prosper".

Great stuff! My whole family was engaged in hysterical laughter for a few minutes there.

A $100 gift card will be given away in January for the person who promotes my book in the most amazing way - determined totally by me. I've had some wonderful, amazing friends do wonderful, amazing things so far - can any of you top that?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Waiting for Winter

After spending my first fourteen years of life in California, then the next thirty or so in Utah, I've been known to grumble that I don't need any ">@#*! snow to put me in the Christmas spirit.

(Can you believe I just did a search for swearing symbols? I've never typed those before and had the worst time making them look right! I do, by the way, speak in those symbols. I have this wierd affliction that keeps me from using the actual words. But I digress...)

Given my lack of enthusiasm for anything cold, I have never before felt a need to associate snow with Christmas. And don't get me wrong. I love that I can still walk to pick up my son after school with just a light jacket. I totally don't mind that I can run to the mail box barefoot. It does not pain me at all that I don't have to shovel the driveway before pulling the car out.

But I have to admit that my Christmas tree, stockings, lights, our visiting elf Tiny, and the hundreds of santa statues, feel a little premature. Lonely even. Like we set them out way too early. Christmas couldn't possibly be in just three weeks could it? I can still walk to my son's school with just a light jacket for heaven's sake!

I guess I need to start thinking about Christmas cards, shopping, neighbor gifts and all that good stuff. But, I don't know, it just doesn't feel like there's any rush. Winter isn't even here yet.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Contest Contest Contest

In case you haven't heard (I feel like a broken record): Tell your friends to buy Where Hearts Prosper on December 11 and I'll enter you in a drawing to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

I talked to my publisher today because I noticed that my Amazon site says they can't get the book to people by Christmas, and several of you have said you're planning to buy it as Christmas gifts. He assured me that he'll have Amazon stocked up and prepared by the 11th so that the books can be shipped immediately.

He also apparently got all light-headed with the idea of hordes of people on Amazon buying one of his books in a single day, because after that he said the most hysterical thing ever.

Remember how I said in my last posting that Amazon ranks their book sales hourly for the bigwigs, but that we're not going to worry about them? Remember how I said we'll just worry about the rest of the books that get ranked daily? Well, Mr. Publisher says I should worry about the bigwigs. He says, and I quote: "You only have to sell 500 books in one hour to get ranked in the top 50."

After I pulled myself up off the floor (hysterical laughter will do that), I read it again, and it still said the same thing. Only 500 hundred books in one hour. Ha! Ha! Seriously, my goal is 50 for the entire day.

But Mr. Publisher says I should have confidence in my friends and give them a set hour to purchase the book. Because according to the Amazon Way, a bunch of purchases in one day is better than the same number in a week, but a bunch of purchases in an hour is better than the same number spread out over a day. And if by chance I do have a bunch of sales in one hour, I'll keep that ranking until some other book sells more than that number in a single hour (even if it has already sold a bazillion copies and sells a bazillion more, just not in a single hour).

So here it is, the official request: December 11, 2008, from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm is the date AND time to purchase Where Hearts Prosper from Amazon.
(If you don't make it in that hour don't sweat it, I won't even tell Mr. Publisher.)

And remember - I'm only asking you to buy the book on that date if you're going to do it anyway because you know and hopefully tolerate me, or maybe even just because the book looks interesting.

BUT what I REALLY need you to do is tell your friends about my book, this contest, and the December 11 target date. Either post a link to my website ( on a blog, or send out a few emails and be sure to include a reminder to purchase the book on the 11th (at noon) if they're going to do it anyway. Then send an email to telling me how you spread the word and I'll enter you in that drawing. And tell your friends to do the same thing!

Because seriously, I don't have 500 friends. And Amazon is gonna be ticked at Mr. Publisher if they're stuck with all those books.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Party party party...

Today's the day I've been looking forward to for months. My books release date. Woo hoo! Thing is, other than the fact that my computer went whacko and is in cyber-surgery and I'm plunking away at my old backup, the day isn't different from any other. No parades, no ticker tape. But Where Hearts Prosper is available online, along with a bazillion other items, so I guess that's what counts.

If you're thinking of rushing out to buy it (I know there's a stampede) hold on to your little horses. It may be available today, but December 11 is MY date for purchasing it from Amazon. And there is a good reason for this random request, in case you're wondering.

Amazon ranks their books daily (unless you're one of the big kahunas, than its hourly, but we won't worry about that for this explanation). So this means that if you have a novel that sells, say, 49 books every day for ten years, you'll be outranked by a book that comes along and sells 50 books in one day, even if that book hasn't sold any until that time. And the new book will stay ahead of you in the rankings until the day that you manage to sell 50 books, even if you continue to sell 49 books every single day and the other newbie book sells zilch. I know it's kind of an odd system. But there it is.

So my goal is to have my friends show up on the 11th and buy 50 books (calm down, that's no all together, not each). That's not a bestseller, but it will make it look like one. (Kind of like that hunky soap doctor in the commercials.)

And just to make things fun - if you mention my book and post a link to my website: on your blog or website by the 10th, I'll enter you in a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. Just drop me a line to let me know you've done it at contest @

Now excuse me while I go look for my party hat.