Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Small Business Saturday — Shop at your local indie bookstore!

Small Business Saturday is just around the corner. I love this nationwide effort to urge people to patronize their local businesses, and I hope everyone gets a jump on their holiday shopping by spending some money in their hometown stores.

On Saturday afternoon, I'm going to be working as a bookseller at one of my favorite independent bookstores, Valley Bookseller on Main Street in Stillwater, MN. Local authors Peter Geye, Thomas Maltman and Lori Evert will be joining me — it's going to be a fun day. Authors are volunteering at indie bookstores nationwide on Small Business Saturday as part of the Indies First campaign, designed to encourage people to patronize their local bookstores.

I'm happy to lend my time to this effort — it's important to support independent bookstores, especially now. It's not easy to keep these businesses open in the face of competition from sites like Amazon. We just lost a great bookstore in Wayzata, MN, The Bookcase, and three others have closed in the Twin Cities in recent weeks.

I get that people like to shop online, it's easy, it's oftentimes cheaper, but I'm asking all of my readers to close their laptops and head to their local bookstores on Saturday. And I'll tell you why.

There's just something about the experience of browsing through the shelves that you simply can't get online. The feel of the books, the images on their covers, the smell of the paper.

But it's the booksellers that really make the difference. Booksellers love what they do. They're highly knowledgable and love to recommend books and to introduce their customers to new authors. They'll put a book into your hands that you hadn't heard of before, and you'll love it.

You can't meet the authors of your favorite books at online sites, but you can meet them at your local bookstore.

Independent bookstores have been very good to me. They got behind me when my first book came out, and put it into their customers' hands. They introduced me to readers who had never heard of an author named Wendy Webb. They asked me to come to their stores. And they continue to support me, book after book. I'm enormously grateful, and I'm going to do all I can to support them right back.

So, please. On Small Business Saturday, swing into your local bookstore, meet some authors, and buy books.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A ghost story for Halloween

Hello again! I'm so sorry I haven't been posting for awhile, but I've been busy touring for The Vanishing and writing my next novel. I've got it off to my agent now, just now, actually, and so I thought I'd entertain you with one of the best ghost stories I've heard on my tour.

One of the peculiarities of my life these days is that people come up to me and tell me their ghost stories. Here's one. I'll post some more tomorrow.

This happened to a lady who came to see me in Superior, WI. She and her husband were newlyweds, and just as they got married, his dad was diagnosed with cancer. Terminal. So they spent the next year taking care of him until he was sick enough to go into a hospice, where, after a few months, he passed away.

Her husband wasn't taking this very well. It was very a stressful time and their new marriage was on the rocks. She wasn't sure they'd make it, and was contemplating a divorce.

Until one day.

They got a phone call. They saw, on the caller ID, that it was from the hospice room where his father had died. She thought it was a nurse at the facility, calling to see how they were doing. It wasn't.

She picked up the phone and heard her father-in-law's voice. "I need to speak to my son," he said.

Stunned, she handed the phone to her husband. He listened for a minute, went white as a sheet and then put down the phone, after saying: "Thanks, dad."

"What did he say?" the woman wanted to know.

"He said I need to get my head back in this marriage or I'll lose the best thing that has ever happened to me," her husband told her.

End of the story? He did. They were still together, some 20 years later, when she told me the story.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Sale on Nook! $2.99!

I see that I've been totally remiss in writing on my blog since The Vanishing came out! It has been a whirlwind, friends, and absolutely wonderful whirlwind. I've been all over the country visiting bookstores and libraries, meeting readers and booksellers. I promise to post photos and tell you all about it very soon, when the dust settles. But for now, I wanted to let you know that the Nook version The Fate of Mercy Alban has been selected to be part of a special promo at Barnes and Noble — 500 Under $5. For a very limited time (until this weekend) they're offering Mercy for $2.99. It's a great deal! Here's a link:  http://tinyurl.com/petfsmd

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Greetings from snowy Atlanta!

Well, the first leg of my Southern book tour certainly started with a bang. Steve and I arrived in Atlanta yesterday in the middle of the worst storm to hit this area in years! We had to cancel our two events here at Foxtale Book Shop and the Dekalb County Library. I was so disappointed but I hope they'll have me back in the spring. I promise not to bring Minnesota's snow and cold with me next time!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Launch day for The Vanishing!

It's finally here! It's launch day for The Vanishing! The weeks leading up to a book release are so nerve-wracking for authors. Will people like it? Will my loyal readers enjoy this new book as much as my previous books? Will it sell? (Gulp!)

But today, I'm putting all of those worries aside and celebrating. The book I worked so hard on — plotting and crafting and writing and re-writing — has finally hit the shelves!

It has been an exciting few days for me. Lots going on. There was a great review of The Vanishing in my home-town newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, on Sunday, and across the river, the St. Paul Pioneer Press ran a feature article on yours truly in today's paper. It makes me so proud to be featured in the two newspapers I grew up reading. I'm truly grateful for their support.

Also, I've got an essay in today's online USA Today! It's a fun piece about an encounter I had with a grumpy palm reader, and its amazing aftermath.

Tonight, I've got my Minneapolis launch party at my neighborhood bookstore, Magers & Quinn at 7 pm. We'll have wine, local microbrews and chocolate — what could be better? I'm also excited to bring my Malamute, Molly, to the party. She's featured in The Vanishing, so I thought it would be fun to bring her along. She's getting a pretty new harness for the occasion.

Tomorrow, I've got my St. Paul launch at Common Good bookstore at 7 pm. This is a joint event with my pal, Ellen Hart, whose new book is out now, too. We're calling it a Night of Minnesota Mystery and it should be a great time. It's always fun to do events with other authors. There's a certain dynamic that isn't there when you're in front of the podium alone.

After all of this, I'm headed up to Duluth for a private party for friends and family at Glensheen to celebrate the book's release, and then Steve and I pack up and head south for my book tour. I'm so excited for that, too! I'll be blogging while I'm away, posting photos and other fun things. So please come back for updates!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Right out of the pages of THE VANISHING

Hi everyone!

I thought you might appreciate this. My new book, THE VANISHING, being released in January, features, among other things, three Alaskan Malamutes and a blizzard. The dogs are my three real-life dogs, Tundra, Tika and Molly. Molly is the only one still with us. And the blizzard — well, I live in Minnesota near the area where I set the book, so blizzards are nothing new to us. We're getting walloped right now with at least two feet of heavy, wet snow. Here are a couple of shots of Molly enjoying it, right out of the pages of THE VANISHING. I hope nothing else in the book comes true...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway of The Vanishing!

Hey gothic suspense fans!

We just started a giveaway on Goodreads for The Vanishing! Just click on the link to sign up to win a copy of my new book before you can buy it in stores.

The Vanishing, out January 21, is the story of Julia Bishop, who receives an intriguing job offer just as her life is falling apart. A man appears on her doorstep asking her to be a companion to his elderly mother, who just happens to be a famous novelist the whole world thinks is dead. Julia sees this as a chance for a fresh start and accepts the position. But when she gets to Havenwood, the novelist's remote estate in the Minnesota wilderness, she begins to wonder whether this too-good-to-be-true job offer is exactly that.