When I worked in the ER, my shifts were scheduled six weeks at a time--meaning, I knew only that far in advance what my life would be like. For instance, I'd work 7 AM to 7 PM three weekdays and have four days (including a weekend) off. The next week maybe I'd be working three weekend shifts and have my days off starting on Monday. It was enough to make my new husband (who worked bankers' hours, like most sane folks) completely crazy.
But with the schedule in my hands I did know when I had to show up with scrubs and a stethoscope around my neck. Prepared for anything. To save lives, control chaos, dodge a right hook . . . or entertain--ask any Triage Nurse valiantly trying to keep things sane in a waiting room full rambunctious children and grumpy adults with non-emergent complaints. Exam glove balloons, jokes . . . tap dancing. Really. The medical version of the Southwest Airlines flight attendants' shtick. Anything to help ease the waiting room angst.
Anyhow, once it was finalized, any deviation from the work schedule had to be approved by the ER Director, and if I wanted to take a day off, it was MY responsibility to find a qualified nurse to "cover my shift." I'll be honest with you: sometimes bribes were involved. And, trust me, I was willing to stoop to that when I thought I wasn't going to get my schedule changed to accommodate my honeymoon in Venice. But mostly, I counted on friends to help me out by "covering my shift." And I'd reciprocate, of course. That's what friends do.
But now, as an AUTHOR, I know my work schedule MONTHS in advance. YEARS, actually, when you consider a multi-book contract like the one I just signed (still grinning) with Tyndale House. Now the scheduling "glitch" happens when there is a lag-time between books. As in the lengthy stretch of time between the release of Code Triage in October of 2010, and the anticipated release of (working title) Trauma Plan in spring of 2012. Oh, yes, I hear you counting. I hear the loooong sighs. And I'm honored by your kind impatience! I assure you that I am typing as fast as I can. Still . . .
If I were in the ER, and you were in the waiting room, I might be blowing up a few exam glove balloons and dusting off my tap shoes. But I have a better idea:
I'll get some (very) qualified folks to "cover my shift." Authors--friends--that I trust to take over in my absence. And to do that, I'm going to offer regular BOOK GIVEAWAYS during the months that I am heads-down and working toward my scheduled deadlines. You'll have a chance to meet (re-discover or re-gift) some very talented writers, and I'll feel secure knowing that these cool folks are "covering my shift" while I am working on new stories just for you.
My goal will be to offer a chance at free books each month. I'll announce this in various places. Here on RX: Hope. On my FaceBook Page or Twitter. And/or via my newsletter. It will be up to you to stay tuned to those venues (and to say "hi," so I don't get lonely at the keyboard).
I'll offer a variety of CBA books in several subgenres, including Historical, Women's Fiction, Medical Suspense, Romantic Suspense, and more. I'll also include selections from the Mercy Hospital series--just so you don't forget me. AND I'm prepared to offer Amazon e-books, to readers who prefer that reading format.
First giveaway February 1st. Check back here to see who "covers my shift."
What do you think? Fun? Can I count on you in my "waiting room?"