Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Scoop

Authors (especially newbies like me) are delighted by the offer of blog spotlights and requests for interviews that come when word of a new book begins to spread. In the weeks preceding the release of Critical Care, I've been honored to accept several--blogs, review sites, newspaper, and even an upcoming TV spot. I'm pleased with how professional and welcoming these folks have been . . . and how amazingly creative. It cannot be easy to come up with unique twists on interview questions. But then I suppose they wouldn't have many followers if they approached it in police interrogation style--with the author squinting into a bright lamp:

"Just the facts maa'm. Title of book. Date released. Purchase sites. Now turn sideways for your mug shot. Lose the gum--no smiling."

My interviewers didn't have me blinking under a spotlight, but they did put me on the spot. Here are a few examples of the creative questions tossed this author's way:

(From interview posted NOW on Relz Reviewz, Australia)

1) If you could have chosen your own name, what would it be?

2) What's the bravest thing you've ever done?

3) The most difficult patients--nurses, surgeons, or psychiatrists?

(See answers to these questions and more by clicking HERE--Rel Mollet did an awesome job!)

Or this from an interview that will appear on A Christian Writer's World:

4) How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

And ( for A Fiction Filled Life) my current favorite question--inspiring the photo above:

5) If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be, and why?

Dr. "McSnarly" as an ice cream flavor? A cosmically correct (and theme supporting) reason for that? Oh. My. Goodness. You have no idea the freezer time I endured researching that question, the serious risk of frostbite . . . or the frightening number of fat calories consumed. Too bad Lipitor doesn't come as a confetti colored sprinkles.

Such good questions--for a brain that's been wedged in a keyboard for months. But I gave them my best shot, and will let you know when the interviews are posted. Ice cream flavors and all.

So here's a big thank you to those kind and patient reviewers who wanted The Scoop on the author of Critical Care.

Oh . . . and what kind of ice cream are YOU?

Saturday, May 16, 2009

McSnarly & Me


After telling my readers that Critical Care would release on June 1st, I was surprised (okay, I went into clinical heart flutter) when online sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christian Books began shipping a few days ago--3 weeks early! Proof positive, I began to receive e-mails from folks saying they'd been notified to expect an early delivery of this book. I immediately dashed off an e-mail to my Tyndale House marketing person, wringing my hands and telling her, "I feel like I've had a preemie. What do I do?" I mean, I'd been practicing my LaMaze breathing, making lists and packing my fuzzy slippers and camera into my hospital bag . . . only to discover that the online distributors were already spanking my brand new book on its back cover and welcoming him to the world!

The marvelous marketing queen cyber-laughed at my angst, saying, "Relax. We've had consumer PR in place for months . . . be grateful you don't have to carry that baby anymore--you look great, by the way." She made me laugh. And once more, the calm, confident and professional publishing team at Tyndale House put my heart back into a normal rhythm. Which made me take a deep breath, and smile at the lovely truth:

After more than a year of work and anticipation, Critical Care--my debut inspirational fiction novel-- is born!

It may still take a few weeks until the book finds its place on brick and mortar bookshelves, but the official release has happened. And I'm thrilled. But not sitting back knitting booties. No way. Because there is still is much to do, like:

1) The launch party for Critical Care:
Saturday June 20th 1-3 PM
A Servant's Heart Bookstore (patio of St. Helena's church)
410 North Main Street (corner of Main and John's Rd.)
Boerne, TX.

We'll have cake, punch, door prizes, and a signing of course. All with a "medical" theme--if you've got scrubs, wear 'em. I will be!

2) Continuing to accept the gracious offers of interviews, author spotlights, and reviews, like this one by fabulous Australian blogger Rel, at Relz Reviews.

I loved her great line about needing oxygen until the release of the second book in January!

3) Lining up book signings, here in Texas, in Colorado, and California . . . so far.

4) And, of course, writing, writing, writing on the third book!

So--whew--my book has been born. And as a proud new mother, I'm showing it off. Like in the photo above that I conned my dear husband into taking. A snapshot of the author and Kinko's giant size, stand-up poster of the Critical Care cover image. Or, as I fondly dub it:

McSnarly & Me.

Thank heaven books don't require 3 AM feedings. Unless its chocolate . . .
for the author. Medicinal, of course.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Book Buzz Begins

Sharon Ball

A huge part of the book business involves getting the word out, and three weeks from the national launch of CRITICAL CARE, the book buzz is building. Via the marketing and publicity team at Tyndale House, through word of mouth by chosen "influencers" (folks who received early copies of the book and are telling friends, co-workers, etc.) and by interviews and spotlights by online bloggers. I have been overwhelmed by the gracious generosity of the CBA community, and their offers of help with the promotion of CRITICAL CARE.

One such dedicated blogger is Sharon Ball, who offers her wonderful "A Break from the Norm," website, supporting her belief in the saying that "laughter is the best medicine." She invites folks to" think of this blog as your pharmacy, a cubby in the blog universe where you can take a break – a smile break." I love the sound of that. And I love that she's invited me as a guest in her "Author Spotlight." Read our interview here. While you're there leave a comment (and drop the name of any "Grey's Anatomy" character) and you'll be entered in a contest to win a prize!

Thank you, Sharon, for helping to spread the word about CRITICAL CARE. And for all that you do to offer laughter, encouragement, and hope.

Buzz on by, y'all, and meet Sharon--you'll want to return again and again for more great "smile breaks."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Scrubbing In Again

We're planning the launch party for CRITICAL CARE, here in my home town--noodling ideas regarding setting, time of day, date, refreshments, door prizes, decor . . . and theme. Since this book is a medical drama, I offered to dress appropriately in scrubs and stethoscope.
My actual wardrobe for more than three decades. Though I never signed novels, I did scrawl my name on patient charts, surgical consents, 5150 (psychiatric hold) forms, blood transfusion checklists, and more than a few plaster casts. Plenty of practice.

And even after almost 5 years of formal retirement from the ER, I'm comfortable in scrubs. I think. I confess to using my remaining sets as jammies . . . then paint clothes. Which means, ironically, that I must now order new scrubs for my career as an author of "medical hope opera." Today I've been perusing online catalogs, trying to decide style, color, drawstring or elastic. It gave me more than a few scrubs flashbacks. You see, back in the day, I was quite the fashionista in glamorous outfits that were:

Baggy and shapeless, with highwater or trip-worthy pant legs, useless pockets , skimpy sleeves, drawstring waistbands and a traditional color range of blue and green. In hues of : Not-yet-Washed, Faded-into-Oblivion, and Hopelessly-Stained-by-Iodine Soap-and-Leaky-Ballpoint-Pen. Topped by:

Vests: I became the Queen of Vests in my ER. Sewed my own in prints like: Chili Pepper, Easter Egg, Christmas Package, which (quite practically) reversed to Autumn Harvest, 4th of July flags, and Halloween Pumpkin.

Jumpsuits: while, though cute, were a royal pain to negotiate on a 45-second bathroom break between Code 3 ambulance arrivals. I'm lucky to have survived at all.

Cute-sy socks: A fashion statement which perks up any drab scrub set (and ugly, practical white shoe)--and is also prone to Iodine stains. And has the same bouquet as junior-high gym socks after after a grueling 12-hour shift.

Glamorous hairstyles: Do NOT ask me about my Princess Leia braids. Or the time I foolishly got a spiral perm the night before work. And did an impression of The Bride of Frankenstein for a subsequent humiliating and endless shift.

Custom scrub top: Silk-screened from an incredible sketch of our entire Methodist Hospital ER staff. Day shift, PM's, Night Shift. Friends and teammates (wacky, loyal, incredibly skilled and compassionate) front and back, on this one-of-a-kind scrub top. A weird and amazing idea. A salute to people who touched countless lives. And the only article of scrub clothes I've ever kept.

Scrubs. I've worked in them, worn them during a bank robbery (another don't-ask situation), slept in them, laughed in them, cried in them, prayed in them . . . lived in them for most of my adult life. Clothing worn by some of the most amazing and compassionate warriors I've ever known.

And now I'll be pulling them on again, to launch my new Mercy Hospital series, starting with CRITICAL CARE which releases June 1st.

I'm suiting up to bring my readers pulse-pounding stories of medical drama and hope. Can't wait.

Stay tuned for upcoming details . . . I'd love to have you scrub in with me!