Sunday, January 25, 2009

Color Me Smiling

Being an an author gives me plenty of things to smile about: flexible work hours (lately pre-dawn), cozy work wardrobe (jammies, slippers . . . formal sweats), getting paid to hear voices in my head (did I say that?), endless excuses for research trips , opportunities to meet very cool (and often equally strange) fellow writers . . . and so much more. But this past week, I've had some special blessings to grin about. Such as:

1) CRITICAL CARE is already available for pre-order at several places, including Amazon. com.

2) Two more endorsements from amazing authors:

" . . . I ate up Candace Calvert's new book Critical Care . . . terrific story and terrific writing."
Colleen Coble author of Cry in the Night and Lonestar Secrets.

" . . . a wonderful medical romance . . . If you like ER and House, you'll love (Critical Care) . . . Give me another dose, and soon!"
Susan May Warren, award-winning author of Nothing But Trouble.

3) The honor of an invitation to send Critical Care to the awesome Beth Moore. On its way!
4) Signing my first autographs as Candace Calvert-- on Tyndale bookplates for Critical Care.
5) A rapidly growing list of offers for book reviews from great folks like: Mocha with Linda, Lena Nelson Dooley, A Peek at Deena's BookShelf, Christian Review of Books, and Cornhusker Academy

And last, (but oh-so-not least): I'm writing the last few pages of (working title) Disaster Status. I'll likely be completing it tomorrow! Whoo Hoo!

So, yes. Slap that big yellow Post-It Note right over my face: This author's smiling!
And watch out: it's contagious.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Making an End

"When will you make an end?"
My dear husband is wont to quote this famous line from the 1965 Oscar winning movie, The Agony and the Ecstacy--the story of Michelangelo's brilliant and arduous painting of the Sistine Chapel as commissioned by Pope Julius II. It took him FOUR YEARS. And though we have been blessed to travel to Italy and see this unbelievable and breathtaking work of art (gaping aplenty, craning our necks, even lying on the floor), I'm not sure hubby would have been as patient as the Pope.
You see, he's a Nike guy: "Just do it." Rumination? Only for cows.

Therefore, I have heard him quote Rex Harrison (who played Pope Julius) on more than one occasion: "When will you make an end?" Sometimes about my decorating projects, sometimes about the time it takes to get gorgeous for a date, sometimes about dinner.

Lately it's about my latest Work in Progress: DISASTER STATUS, the sequel to CRITICAL CARE. Mind you, I'm well ahead of deadline, but he's still asking the question. And I'm telling him my progress in word counts ( 85 thousand) and pages (293) and chapters (27) and even percentages (98). I'm very close, but not quite finished. Maybe this week. Maybe next. Or . . .

Maybe if I had paint all over my face, like Mr. Heston in the photo above, and lay sweating on a scaffolding high above my office, he would have more empathy for the artistic process. Nah.

I think I'll just type. And next time he asks, I'll smile and say what Heston said to Harrison:

"When it is finished."

But not tell him it's a draft. And that I'll need to go over it again.

Friday, January 9, 2009

We've Got It Covered

Be still my heart
. . . we've got a cover for CRITICAL CARE, and I'm able to share it at last! What's that? You're feeling a little woozy, a bit light-headed, heart's skipping a beat? Don't worry, you're in good company. Most of the female "test market" for this cover had the same reaction--the author too. In my opinion, Tyndale House did a brilliant job in portraying the image of the book's hero, Sierra Mercy ER Director: Dr. Logan Caldwell. Also known as "McSnarly"--you see, he's got a reputation for being a bit . . . difficult. Which, of course, sets up immediate conflict with our heroine, Claire Avery. We see the crux of it in this back cover copy:

"Lord . . . heal my heart, move me forward."

"After her brother dies in a trauma room, nurse Claire Avery can no longer face the ER. She’s determined to make a fresh start--new hospital, new career in nursing education--move forward, no turning back. But her plans fall apart when she’s called to offer stress counseling for medical staff after a heartbreaking day care center explosion. Worse, she’s forced back to the ER, where she clashes with Logan Caldwell, a doctor who believes touchy-feely counseling is a waste of time. He demands his staff be as tough as he is. Yet he finds himself drawn to this nurse educator . . . who just might teach him the true meaning of healing."

Serious subject . . . seriously blue eyes. Personally, I love the combination. Because as a reader, the first thing that catches my attention is a book's cover. I have no doubt I'd walk across a crowded store to pick this book up. And secondly, I look for endorsements by authors I like. The words of best selling author, Harry Kraus MD, are right there on the front cover:

"Finally, a reason to turn off Grey's Anatomy and ER. This a realistic medical drama with heart."

So there we have it: Eye (and breath) catching cover, intriguing back cover copy, and stellar endorsement.

All combined to showcase the exciting and inspiring story I've worked hard and long to bring to my readers. I couldn't be more pleased. And I can hardly wait until June.

Thank you, Tyndale House. I think we've got it covered.

And . . . when exactly does the author get to meet the cover model? Anyone want to go with?

Sunday, January 4, 2009


My husband bought me an Amazon Kindle for Christmas for several reasons: because he knows I love to read, because we recently uploaded my ABA mystery Dressed to Keel to Kindle ourselves (and had no way to read it), because Amazon reduced the (still spendy) Kindle price from last year . . . but mostly because he is Techno Man. And, no matter how you feel about e-books: this is cutting edge technology. We're talking 200,000 books available for wireless delivery (and immediate reading) in mere seconds. I'm still boggled by the possibilities. And becoming (short of kissing the gizmo like that woman in the photo) rapidly enamored. But strangely guilty, too. Almost like I've cheated. On bookstores, libraries . . . paper itself. And, trust me, there are plenty of people who will point and say, "Uh huh, you are."

Not Oprah Winfrey. She called Kindle her "new favorite thing."

But many book lovers are torn. Some refuse to consider reading in a digital format, some are interested and put off by the price (359 dollars at this point--and sold out), most are curious. And asking questions. So, though I'm a newbie, let me tell you what I've found so far:

1) The Kindle in its carry case is about just around the size and weight of a trade paperback.

2) Comfortable to hold.

3) Has easy to read print (like a book, not like a computer) with adustable fonts.

4) Easy to use: I am NOT a Techno Woman. But zapped a book from Amazon into my Kindle with a quick tap. Chapter One in front of me before I could blink.

5) Amazon offers free sample chapters before you download a book.

6) Easy to "turn" pages, bookmark your spot.

7) Has built in dictionary and other links (like Wikipedia)

8) Holds 200 books, which would be tough to carry along on vacation.

Daily newspapers, magazines, and plenty of printed books (including new and bestselling) are available via Kindle. Cost is a few dollars less than retail. No shipping.

Things you miss:

1) Smell and feel of the paper (though Kindle's cover does smell like leather which appeals to my equestrian spirit)

2) Ambience of bookstore, company of fellow browsers--friendly bookstore staff!

3) Ditto for library perks.

4) And biggest missing element: no books to put on your shelves and NO PLACE for authors to SIGN.

Will Kindles replace books? I can't imagine that. But more and more publishers are offering e-books as an option for readers--my publisher, Tyndale House, does.

Will I now read exclusively on Kindle? No way.

But am I having fun with it? Sure.

And will it be very convenient when I travel? Oh yes.

I've heard that the Kindle 2 will launch in February. Could be a rumor. But then, maybe they've figured out a few new things . . . like how to make it smell like paper.

How about you? Can you picture yourself Kindled?