Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cover My Shift Giveaways

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?"

Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year, New Books!

In my Christmas greeting to readers, I mentioned "exciting book news" to be revealed in January. As you can probably guess, this picture hints at that--and, no, it's not that my computer gave out and I'm having to write longhand. (Although I did just notice that I've worn the "L" completely off my keyboard)

This photo was taken on 1/11/11 (how's that for an auspicious beginning date?) and shows me:


Meetings, proposals, and contract talks had been going on for many weeks, and it was so hard to keep things mum (picture me making key-locking gestures over my lips) (patience is not my finest attribute)--but now we are official! And, as you can tell, I'm pretty excited. Here is what I know so far:

I will be writing a second 3-book medical drama series for my (fabulous) publisher, Tyndale House. My editors will be the ones that I've so enjoyed working with before: Jan Stob, and Sarah Mason (editor for Code Triage) Both are pictured pictured below, along with super-agent Natasha Kern.

Though similar to the Mercy Hospital series in elements (medical scenarios, action, romance, faith issues), this new series will not be connected--with the exception of a "spin off" heroine, nurse-chaplain Riley Hale from Code Triage.

All three books will be set in Texas locations. Beginning with San Antonio.

I'll be completing the first book (tentative title Trauma Plan) on or before July 1st. And (since it takes about the same time to publish a book as it takes to have a baby) that should mean a spring 2012 release date.

I've promised the books 9 months apart.

I know (especially since many of you have complained . . . oops, I meant advised) that spring of 2012 seems like a long time away. It is, and I am completely honored by your kind impatience!

However, be assured that I'm typing as fast as I can (enough to wear the letters off my keyboard). And that I'll keep you updated on the progress here, via my newsletters, and on FaceBook and Twitter. Those of you who follow my posts on those social networks have already heard me calculating (and celebrating or bemoaning) daily word counts. And revealing those Whoopi-Goldberg- in- "Ghost" moments when the new characters "talk" to me. If that doesn't scare you off, by all means please jump in and follow along as I work to bring you the first book in this exciting new series!

In that vein, here's a little teaser blurb for Trauma Plan:

“Side-lined after a violent assault, Nurse-Chaplain Riley Hale is determined to sharpen her skills and return to full nursing duties in the Alamo Grace ER. Even if means volunteering at an urban free clinic run by Dr. Jack “Rambo” Travis, a community pariah with a dangerous past--who intends to use her prominent family’s connections to save his clinic.”

I'm having fun writing these new characters--and a story set amidst the colorful sights, sounds, and tastes of spring "Fiesta" celebrations in San Antonio. We're already breaking confetti filled eggs, and hearing Mariachi music, and hankering for enchiladas . . . with a side of slow-cooked Brisket.

Stay tuned: I plan to share "tastes" from the manuscript here from time to time, too.

Meanwhile, the Mercy Hospital books are still available for folks (family and friends!) who haven't yet "scrubbed in." Or for a re-read, if you're inclined (author grin).

And I'll be hosting book giveaways and interviews with fellow authors, too.

Again, THANK YOU for your encouragement and support--YOU are the biggest reason that my stories of hope will continue!