Wednesday, September 18, 2013

an excerpt on release day!


First, I just want to say that I appreciate the outpouring of support from my friends and family in helping me promote the book! I just want to remind you that it's a first draft and I'm hoping to use your reviews and feedback to help me revise it and find a publisher! Secondly, I want to say that even though I could have used another week to get it more polished, I picked the date 9/18/13 to release the book for a reason. It's the two year anniversary of my friend Chris' daughter Brooklyn's death, which is what inspired me to write this book. When I picked the date I thought I'd be moving to Delaware AFTER the release, not before! I don't recommend trying to finish a book and move in the same two week period, just for the record!

All that said, here's an excerpt from near the end of the book!

     Kat parked on the square and the three ladies began to hurry into the restaurant just as the sky was starting to open up and hurl huge drops of rain down upon them. Jennifer paused while her companions slipped inside the shelter. November rain, Jennifer thought, hearing the Guns N Roses song pop into her head accompanied by images from the video which had been played to death on MTV in the summer of 1992. Visions of the guests running and the cake being toppled over in the sudden downpour, Axl Rose beating a glossy black grand piano into submission and Slash shredding the guitar in a dusty, barren churchyard flooded into her mind. That video starts with a wedding in a church and ends with a funeral in a church, she reflected. I had that CD back in the day. That song came out right after we graduated. She thought about her Sony discman and her vast collection of CDs and how thrilled she was to finally have a car with a CD player instead of a tape deck. And now CDs are almost totally antiquated, much like VHS tapes. A life measured by outdated media devices, she thought. It’s a sad reality in this day and age.

      Many times in her life she had thought she was living in the past or future, finding it a challenge to stay connected to the present. She was always anticipating something or remembering something. But in this moment, on a sidewalk quickly becoming wet with rain, watching her companions slip into the potpourri-infused tea room, the scent wafting out toward her as the door clicked shut, she felt the present wrap its arms around her like a newly minted friend. She felt the embrace start to slide up her body from her feet on the sidewalk to her arms lifted in the air. She felt herself absorbing the essence of her hometown: the square with its looming courthouse and World War II era German “buzz bomb” perched atop a sturdy limestone V, the square with its eccentric little shops and eateries, the square bedecked with Christmas lights radiating out from the courthouse in all directions. She felt completely immersed in the moment as she spun around in the falling rain. She threw back her head and let the raindrops crash against her face, dripping down into her hair and flying off in the wind which was beginning to pick up and swirl around her. Everything felt alive and real to her in a way it hadn’t in a long time. 
      I’ve got to figure out a way to live, she thought more lucidly than she had thought anything in a very long time. A way to go on.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

cover reveal and my parental advisory

I can't believe we are less than a week away from publication! I've been talking a lot with my friend Chris, who is the real life inspiration for Jennifer. She's been reading along as I write and after she reads, we review it over the phone. Last night we also started to talk about promotion and marketing ideas and I started getting really excited! I may even come home to Greencastle later this fall to do some promotion in person!

Before I go any further and show you the cover, I want to make sure readers are aware that this book is not all rainbows and unicorns. There are some very intense scenes where the main characters face painful circumstances. There are a few expletives and there is a fair amount of discussion about things of a sexual nature. It's not a sanitized book. It is a book that faces mature and adult situations in a realistic way and I believe overall has a positive message. I would say it is most appropriate for readers 16 and over, which is an interesting change because when I initially had the idea for the book, I saw it as a young adult novel. And, really, in some ways I think it could be very instructive and thought-provoking for younger readers, and I suppose that mature 13-15 year olds would probably be fine reading the book. After all, some of these events happen to the characters when they are flashing back to their adolescence and, obviously, many pressures and situations that teens face today are not much different than they were back in the day! But I still feel an explanation is warranted so readers know what they are getting into.

So, now that we got that out of the way, I want to tell you how much I struggled with a cover for this book. There are so many themes going on within the pages of Green Castles, but they are mostly huge abstract concepts that would be difficult to illustrate. I decided to go for simple. I believe the cover suggests that despite being adults and facing very real grown-up problems, the minds and hearts of the three main characters still cling in some ways to the idealism of their youth, represented by a fantastical depiction of their hometown. Throughout the book, the women reconcile their youthful ideals with what is a harsh, yet sometimes forgiving reality.  So, without further ado, here is the cover, and I hope you are all ready for the book's release on Wednesday, September 18th!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

the town that wrote a book

Have you ever heard the adage "It takes a village to raise a child?"

Well, I'd like to offer this alternative version: "It takes a town to write a book."

Let me share my vision for Green Castles:

On September 18, 2013, I plan to digitally self-publish Green Castles (a novel of approximately 90K words) on Amazon (and possibly Barnes and Noble and Smashwords). The price for the novel will be $4.99 and readers will be able to download it to any electronic device: smart phone, tablet or e-reader. It can also be read on a computer via the Kindle Cloud. Unfortunately it will not be available in print, at least not yet.

The edition I publish on September 18th will be a draft. My vision is for people to read it in the first month or so of publication and offer substantive feedback in the form of reviews or by emailing me via the book's facebook page ( I will use your feedback to revise the manuscript so I can send it off to agents and publishers in hopes of having it published in print. Generating sales and positive reviews during the initial weeks of self-publication will be selling points for sure!

So, what will YOU get out of buying my book and leaving me a review or sending me feedback? Well, you get a sneak peek at what I think is a pretty good book for only $4.99, which is pretty cheap. It's likely to be much more than that when and if it's published in print! And, more importantly, you get a chance to shape the final version of the book. In addition, if you purchase the book during the first week of publication, which coincides with both the two year anniversary of Brooklyn's passing (the inspiration for the entire book - please refer to my previous blog posts on this topic for more information) and Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week, I will donate 10% of the proceeds to the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation ( In sum, you get a first look at the book and the opportunity to be part of the process of revising it, you will be helping out a fellow Hoosier and new author, AND you'll be helping to fund research about mitochondrial disorders. It's really a win-win-win for everyone, I think! :)

I'm also asking for some volunteers to be what I'm calling Green Castles Advocates. These special helpers will get an advance (free) copy of the book a few days before its release, and in return they will agree to read the manuscript and be ready to post reviews very soon after publication (you must have an Amazon account and be over the age of 18, please!) Provided they enjoy what they read, they'll also commit to helping me promote the book using social media and word of mouth. If you are interested in being an advocate, please email me on Facebook! I'm looking for about 10-20 people to help out in this capacity!

I know I face a huge challenge as a new author with no following, reputation or street cred. All I really have is a vast network of friends and family, and it is those connections I hope to leverage. I'd love to see my beloved hometown pull together to help me! After all, this is your book too! Please consider the proposal I've outlined here and think about whether or not you can help my cause. Thank you so much for reading and stay tuned for more teasers and excerpts from Green Castles!