First, thanks to Tawny for giving up her normal blogging day so I could have a launch party here in the Lair to celebrate the publication of my first women's fiction novel, Living in Color. This is a bit of a departure from my normal romance and young adult novels, but it's a story I really thought deserved to be out there in the world. That's why I decided to hop on the self-publishing wave and give it a whirl to see what happened.
It's a different type of experience being in charge of every aspect of the writing, editing, marketing and distribution of one's book. So far the only thing I've not done myself is design the cover. I knew I had no talent in that arena, so I enlisted the talented Kimberly Killion at Hot Damn Designs, and I think she did a lovely job. I firmly believe covers are important because they're the face of your book, the first impression. I have no doubt that there are really good books out there that don't get read as many times as they should because they've had the misfortune of having bad covers, though I've been very fortunate with all of my covers to date (thank you, Harlequin and Penguin!). I also believe that the book beyond the cover has to live up to good packaging. I hope readers believe Living in Color does that.
Living in Color is a mother-daughter road trip story, one that leads to healing and some unexpected discoveries. Here's the blurb:
After the death of her father, Sabrina Bishop feels a sense of relief that he's gone. No longer will he be able to abuse her mother mentally or physically, and just maybe her mother might grow to see what he'd done to her was wrong. But with the death of Jim Bishop, Sabrina is now responsible for her mother's well being since Ruby can't read or write and has lived a sheltered life. But Ruby has a very small comfort zone in rural West Tennessee, and that means she can't come live with Sabrina in Atlanta. Besides, Sabrina's job as an award-winning news photographer keeps her traveling around the globe most of the time. As she tries to make suitable plans for her mother's future, Sabrina offers to take Ruby on a road trip to expose her to a world she's never seen. As they travel to sites such as Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park and the Gulf Coast of Florida, the trip becomes a journey of unexpected healing and self-discovery not only for Ruby, but for Sabrina as well.
As someone who doesn't like to fly, I take a good amount of road trips. I actually enjoy driving long distances and being able to stop wherever I want whenever I want. So I thought I'd share my top five favorite road trip destinations I've been to.
1. Yellowstone National Park -- My sister worked at the park for a year, so I visited once while she was there and a couple more times since then. It's absolutely gorgeous, and I always want to spend more time there.
2. San Antonio and the Hill Country of Texas -- My good friend Mary lives in San Antonio, so I've driven there several times. Last month, we also took a trip up to Fredericksburg in the Hill Country so I could do some research for the trilogy I'm writing for Harlequin American. Some of my favorite stops on this trip are the missions along the Mission Trail in San Antonio -- the Alamo and four others (San Jose, Espada, San Juan and Concepcion).
3. Destin/Ft. Walton Beach, Florida (in the sunset photo) -- I love the Gulf Coast. It's so relaxing there. I love driving along the roads that follow the beach, listening to the waves.
4. Outer Banks, N.C. -- Home to Cape Hatteras and several other lighthouses, Cape Hatteras National Seashore (wonderful because it's undeveloped like so many stretches of beach), and Kitty Hawk, site of the Wright Brothers' famous flight.
5. Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN and N.C. -- The roads that crisscross this park pass by waterfalls, beautiful mountain streams, lush green mountains, stunning wildflowers, historic structures of past mountain communities, and even the occasional black bear. It is one of the most richly bio-diverse places it the world and is thus designated an International Biosphere Reserve. And it has the benefit of only being about four hours from my house. :)
What I'd like to know from you all is:
a. Do you like road trips?
b. What are some of your favorite road trips and destinations?
c. Any fun (or horrible) road trip stories to share?
I'll pick a winner from today's comments to receive a road map of the United States and a $5 Starbucks gift card to get you started off right on your very own road trip.
If you'd like to read Living in Color (it's a great Mother's Day gift -- hint, hint), you can download it at:
Amazon.com for Kindle
Barnesandnoble.com for Nook
Smashwords.com for Sony e-reader, iPad and various other formats, including for your desktop computer
Okay, break out the freshly made cookies (I hope Joanie made them, and I'd like to request they be just like the ones she made for one of our Bandita get-togethers -- yum!), your favorite non-alcoholic beverage (we are driving, after all), and road map and hit the road!