Monday, August 29, 2011

Reading Local

I found out about an interesting website last week called Reading Local. As the name suggests, Reading Local is:
a network of websites devoted to promoting local literary communities across the country. There is an amazing amount of literary activity taking place right outside your door. Unfortunately this activity often times goes unnoticed either due to local media's inadequate resources, or inefficient means to get their message out. Reading Local strives to change this. Through our unique platform, Reading Local brings together those seeking to connect with the literary activity taking place in their communities and those who are orchestrating that activity.
Currently, the Reading Local website has branches in four cities (Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and Baltimore) with four more city branches launching soon (San Francisco, Austin, Atlanta, Brooklyn). I was quite pleased to find the Portland branch up and running--but then, what else would you expect from the home of Powell's Books?

On the website for each city you can find info on local events, new releases, authors, publishers, bookstores, and all things bookish. Local authors, publishers, etc. can easily use the website to promote their work by uploading information. I'm excited to see if Reading Local will help Madison Street Publishing connect with the Portland community.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Road from the West - Virtual Book Tour Itinerary

Road from the West releases September 2, a week from Friday, and September 2 is also the day that the Road from the West virtual book tour starts. The tour will last for a month and a half as Road from the West is featured on 25+ blogs with book reviews, author guest posts, and author interviews. The tour has been put together by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours (HFVBT).

HFVBT has just released the official itinerary for the tour. Here are all the "stops" Road from the West will be making across the blogosphere in the coming weeks:

Road from the West Tour Schedule

Friday, September 2nd

Review at The Maiden's Court

Monday, September 5th

Author Guest Post at The Maiden's Court

Tuesday, September 6th

Review at Debbie's Book Bag

Author Guest Post at From the TBR Pile

Thursday, September 8th

Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, September 9th

Author Guest Post at A Journey Into Reading

Monday, September 12th

Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, September 13th

Review at Reviews by Molly

Author Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, September 14th

Author Guest Post at Broken Teepee

Thursday, September 15th

Author Interview at Reviews by Molly

Friday, September 16th

Tuesday, September 20th

Wednesday, September 21st

Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, September 22nd

Author Guest Post at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Monday, September 26th

Tuesday, September 27th

Wednesday, September 28th

Author Guest Post at Just One More Paragraph

Thursday, September 29th

Friday, September 30th

Review at By the By Books

Monday, October 3rd

Tuesday, October 4th

Author Interview at The Musings of a Book Junkie

Wednesday, October 5th

Thursday, October 6th

Review at A Few More Pages

Friday, October 7th

Monday, October 10th

Tuesday, October 11th

Author Interview at The Owl Bookmark Blog

Wednesday, October 12th

Review at Between the Pages

Thursday, October 13th

Review at Words and Peace

Friday, October 14th

Review at The Calico Critic

Monday, October 17th

Review at Erin Reads

Wednesday, October 19th

Thursday, October 20th

Author Guest Post at The True Book Addict

Monday, August 22, 2011

Black and White and Red All Over

Those of you who visited our home sometime in the last six months will doubtless remember the very "artistic" kitchen we were blessed with. Whoever lived here before us used about eight different colors on the walls, ceiling, and cupboards, and was apparently too ADD to finish distinct sections in one color but moved on to new hues haphazardly. But sometimes, when buying a house, you have to have a vision for what it COULD be.

The last month and a half have been spent transforming our kitchen into one more our style. David has spent many of his days off from work painting three (or four) coats over the walls, ceiling, and cabinets. Here are the "After" pictures of our brand new kitchen.

Next project: the bathroom. Although I think that one is going to have to wait till next summer.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Taming the Wilderness

One of the glorious things about this summer is that for four whole months I don't have to share David with his schoolwork. One of the drawbacks is that for four whole months I do have to share him with his garden. Before we bought our house in January of this year, I never suspected what an avid gardener and landscaper David would turn out to be. Every day he spends an hour--or two, or three, or four--outside taming the wilderness. And although I sometimes begrudge the time he spends out there, I definitely enjoy the beautiful yard he's created. Here are some before and after pictures.

BEFORE: The front yard prior to purchase
AFTER: The front yard now
BEFORE: The left side of the house
AFTER: The left side of the house -- minus the trashy plastic shed
AFTER: Notice our baby boxwood hedge -- it will be 3' tall someday
BEFORE: Right side of the house
AFTER: Right side of the house
AFTER: More right side of the house

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Road from the West ARC Giveaway - WINNER!

The Road from the West Advanced Reading Copy giveaway ended yesterday. Thank you everyone who entered and shared about the giveaway! selected number "49" for us, and the winner is....

* * * Elijah Tuuri * * *

Congratulations, Elijah! You'll be getting the Road from the West ARC three weeks before its release date on September 2.

Thanks for participating, everyone!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Madison Street Publishing

When I published I Serve independently in June of 2009, I will confess that I had no idea what I was doing. I wrote the book, had it formatted by a friend/graphic designer, submitted it to a Print On Demand company, and tossed it out into the great unknown. Six months later, I had sold about one hundred copies to friends and family and decided it had been a fun adventure, although not a particularly profitable one. 

Enter David Spears--new husband and self-appointed marketing director. At the end of 2009, two weeks after we were married, he convinced me to format I Serve as an e-book for Amazon's Kindle and other e-readers. Then he began a learn-as-you-go marketing campaign sending review copies to book bloggers and buying ads on Kindle promotion sites. I was dubious (which is actually a euphemism for: I fought him every step of the way). But despite my self-deprecating pessimism and because of his energetic optimism, I Serve took off and entered the Top One Hundred List of Amazon's Historical Fiction for Kindle. As I write, we have sold 6346...wait, make that 6347 copies of I Serve, most of them in the e-book format--small potatoes for some authors, but big news for us.

Next month my second book Road from the West is being released, and with the experience and marketing savvy we've accumulated over the past year and a half, we're hopeful that the launch will be a success. This time we're releasing the book under the auspices of Madison Street Publishing, a new publishing company that we started this summer. With Madison Street Publishing we hope to provide a good home for my books as well as help other new authors find their niche in the changing market of today's publishing world.

Madison Street Publishing was founded on the simple idea that the story and the author who created it are the most important components of the publishing industry. Publishing companies should work for the authors, not authors for the publishing companies. MSP intends to live by this philosophy by putting our money where our mouth is and giving our authors the lion's share of their books' profits. At Madison Street Publishing, we mean it when we say that the story is our bottom line. Stop by our website to learn more about this exciting new endeavor.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Book Release Party

It's one month and one day until the official release of Road from the West. Now is the time to let you know that you are all invited to the Book Release Party! It will be on Friday, September 2, from 7-9pm at Exodus Books in Milwaukie, Oregon, our favorite independent bookstore. Come enjoy hors d'oeuvres, a reading from the book, book signing by the author, and some fabulous doorprizes (including a brand new Kindle Reading Device).

Here is a sneak peek at the invitations that we are having printed:

And don't forget that if you would like to win your own Advanced Reading Copy of Road from the West, there's one more week left to enter the giveaway from this blog. Looking forward to seeing you at the Book Release Party!
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