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Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

Now that Thanksgiving is over, a number of my friends are braving the crowds at stores around the country, trying to get those best deals. Some began as early as 5 am, and on last night's news I was astonished to see film footage of crowds and long lines on Thanksgiving Day. One lady was even eating her Thanksgiving dinner on a paper plate in a parking lot, between shopping.

I don't remember ever being actively engaged in Black Friday and shopping deals. And for more than a decade, my holiday ritual has been to create a family calendar, which I give to each of my relatives. The calendar has photographs of family members in each month. I used to beg for new photographs and then scanned them, but with Facebook it's become so easy to pop onto my relatives' pages and save the photographs I want to use.

My father spent many, many years working on our genealogy and I add those dates, as well as wedding dates, birth dates, and other important dates, to each month. I use Microsoft Publisher, which has a great set of calendar templates. Afterward, I email the file to my wonderful neighborhood PostNet in Lumberton, North Carolina, and they make the copies I need on 14" long by 11" wide paper, staple it, and punch the holes for hanging.

I won't do much if any shopping in stores, and for those things I'll buy, the Internet loves me. :)

However, I remember when my writing career was just beginning how I was scheduled to sign books from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve. My first suspense was published when I lived in the Richmond, Virginia area. Within 30 minutes of my home there were scores of book stores, from small independents (who were fabulous to work with, and who frequently recommended my books when I wasn't there), to chain stores like Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million, and the now defunct B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, and Tower Books.

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I began book signings in earnest on Black Friday, and was scheduled at four different stores on that day alone. One signing at Potomac Mills led to the plot behind Ricochet, my third suspense. I was also scheduled at a Barnes and Noble on a Friday evening at 10:00 pm once, because they were located in the mall's outparcel and when the mall closed, the crowds descended on their store, which remained open until midnight.

From Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, I signed in too many stores to count, primarily on Friday evenings, all day Saturday, and Sunday afternoons.

Since moving to Lumberton, I find with the closing of Waldenbooks that we don't have a book store in the entire county. The closest one is 45 minutes away in Fayetteville. Others are more than an hour and a half away in Wilmington, Myrtle Beach or Raleigh. I used to travel throughout the United States on book tours but in recent years, I've been doing many more virtual book tours, where I can visit with fans and readers from all over the world.

Are you braving the Black Friday crowds today? Will you buy most of your holiday gifts in stores, or online? And will you buy books as gifts?

I'd love to hear your comments on the holiday season and your buying habits.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - The Tempest Murders Honored

I haven't posted anything on this blog for about a month, because I've been very busy with the launch of my latest book, The Tempest Murders. And late last week, I learned that the book has placed as one of five finalists in the 2013 USA Best Book Awards, in the cross-genre category.

It has been an amazing month with blog stops all over the world. As a result of The Tempest Murders plot, I've been interviewed about subjects as diverse as Ireland, soul mates, and even reincarnation. If you missed any of the interviews and guest blogs, here is a partial list:

October 22: (getting to know my characters)

The lucky winner of the beautiful Celtic bracelet given away during my tour was Teena of Toronto, Canada. Congratulations, Teena, and thank you for following my tour!

My next book tour begins in less than two weeks. The stops can be found here: