Overcoming resistance to a task

Happy hump day! Once you are through today, it’s an easy two days before another weekend.

I need to finish up my edits by tomorrow and send them back. They’ve been hard for me to do I think because I took such a long vacation.

Yesterday morning was beautiful, so I went out to take photos for an hour. I think this was my favorite.

Oak tree
A mighty oak

I did some exploring, just looking for good shots. Clouds hung over the hills so I went that way. I drove into the hills a bit and tried to capture them, but it wasn’t until I was back in the downtown area that I managed to get a bit.

Clouds over Saratoga
Clouds over Saratoga

I then spent all morning processing and looking at the photos, then took a nap. Yikes, I was really fighting getting to my desk and working. I reminded myself that when I worked, I often had days that weren’t that productive, especially after vacation, and it all worked out okay. I ended up getting several hours of work done, I just did it in the evening instead of during the day.Saratoga fire station

I think part of the resistance is that I’m writing a new book, and I’m really excited about it. That’s what I want to work on. But like a job, there are things you have to do that you may not feel like doing at the moment. I’m glad I did finally get rolling today. I realized I was dealing with a patch that I thought really needed to be better, and it took a lot of thinking. After all, this is going to be published, so I have to think about every word that’s on that page. Getting published is exciting but also…well, you want every word to please the reader. You can’t guarantee that of course, but the words better please you.

Saratoga fires tation and a Pepsi truck
Saratoga fire station and a Pepsi truck

I’m through that and things are going pretty smoothly. I have about thirteen pages left to edit and a couple paragraphs I need to add.

Fire house railing
Fire house railing
Historic Saratoga California
Historic Saratoga California

Do you find it hard to be self-disciplined sometimes? I think some people are a lot better at it than others. I can be very good at it, then I can be terrible. What I did this time was work on something else that was a lower priority. I knew my deadline project wasn’t at risk, so even though it is the most important, I went ahead and completed another smaller project yesterday. That felt great.

Do you have tricks for getting yourself productive again if you don’t feel like working on something specific?

Well, I hope you have a productive day and have plans for a nice weekend.

View from Saratoga hills
View from Saratoga hills

I will be writing. 🙂

Overcoming career limiting behavior, #amwriting

It’s Wednesday. That means I owe you a blog post! Well I am hot on the heels of a new story idea and it’s big, really big. I’m so excited. So I’m going to repost a blog post where I was featured. The series is Authors Bare All on Casi McLean’s website, and I reveal more behind-the-scenes stuff about the writer’s life, but what I found really interesting were the responses of other authors.

http://casimclean.com/authors-bare-all/nicci-carrera-featured-author/

Along the same lines, in terms of tips, my new metrics tool has been helping me learn what the majority of you like, so I plan to do more tips from the project management treasure trove. I’ll cover metrics for writers in my next PM post.

Speaking of which, I received a recruitment email for a consulting job in my former field, the first offer since early retirement that has interested me, so I stated outrageous requirements. If they want to meet my demands, I might do a short-term project to make some money to support this writing habit. But it is unlikely, unless they are really desperate. If it happens I’ll just work a little. Don’t worry, I’ll still blog, take photos, write, and, most importantly of all, talk to you.

Here are some of my favorite recent photos for your enjoyment. Saratoga public library

Redwood growth

Redwood at first light
Redwood at first light

Jelly fish Jelly fish DSC05290 DSC05050 DSC05009 DSC04995 DSC04983 DSC05094 DSC04637 Wolf 3

Happy Hump Day.

Overcoming work overwhelm

Do you have the problem of feeling overwhelmed? I think one cause of that feeling is when the stack of stuff we have to do is too big for our minds. The average stack of things we can keep track of in our heads is about seven. We can make lists. Those work really well. But what about when a project has a deadline, and you have to focus on it to the exclusion of almost everything else?

In a way having to focus on just one project is a relief. You know what you have to do every day when you get up: work on that project and go as fast as you can. Ignore everything that can be neglected.

Then the project is done and you feel a rush of relief. Almost immediately, though, all the little stuff rushes in. Part of what makes projects satisfying is you have that sense of completion, whereas with day-to-day stuff, you’ve worked hard, but you have no sense of completion.

It’s crazy-making.

Putting everything on To Do lists is good, but have you ever had that sense that you’re missing the big picture or something important?

I decided to put what I have to do on a big piece of butcher block paper.

SONY DSC

Note: Mr. Sketch are scented pens, which are key!

One of the basic things I learned as a project manager was the difference between projects and operations. Projects have a beginning, middle, and end. Operations are ongoing activities you need to do for the business. I found remembering the difference between projects and operations to be a huge help.

In the midst of a project, you still need to keep those operations going. When you finish a project you need to see all the other ones that are waiting (and going cold). Or, if you have time to work on multiple projects at once, when you finish working on one during the day, you can glance at your list of projects and quickly get back on task with the highest priority one.

On my butcher block paper, all projects are in one color at the top of my paper. The operational stuff is in another color at the bottom. Every morning I walk into that room and look through it all then plan my day.

I think this technique will help me not forget projects or stop doing the day-to-day stuff that keeps things going. I will report back and let you know how it is working.

I am excited about this big-picture technique because I am tired of doing well for a while, then having to focus on a critical project or going on vacation and then losing track of all my good daily habits and forgetting smaller unfinished projects.

Do you feel overwhelmed? How do you keep track of all the things you have to do? Does the idea of separating out projects from operations make things easier to plan?

Now for some fun. I’m really good at making time for that! I am thinking of sending one of these monochrome photos in for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness. These were the four I processed. I think with the Monochrome challenge, it’s okay to use a single color. Someone did it last week and it was amazing. I just tried it on a  photo from Paris. Anyway, which of these do you think I should submit, if any?

Diagram of projects and maintenance
New York
SONY DSC
Grand Central Station, New York
SONY DSC
The Empire State Building with three others
Paris
Paris

Writing life, vacation’s over, now what?

Back to work I go. On the flight home I worked out a schedule looking at the hours in a day, and what I can allocate to writing. Also to blogging, photography, social media.

 I allocated four hours a week to photography. Well I spent four hours just processing the photos from Vermont. And an hour or so writing this post, now I am rewriting it. I changed my mind about what I wanted to say. So that’s 6 or 7 hours on photos and blogging in one day.

But I like it. Maybe I’ll cut out what I “should” do, and just do what I love to do. I love blogging and taking photos. And writing and editing and fiddling with my website and reading and talking about books.

I was going to cut down on being online, planning on cutting way down on social media and networking, but it’s early morning (still on east coast time) and I just spent an hour reading the New York Times and links to other articles. And I like sending emails to friends, chatting on messenger with friends, and meeting for coffee, lunch, or writing marathons.

I guess I’ll plan to keep doing things the same way because I’m going to anyway, and if I embrace my choices instead of doing that while I’m supposed to be “disciplined” about my time, I’ll just feel bad, but not really be doing anything different. I think I just had an early morning epiphany. LOL

I guess I’ll just keep making lists of the important stuff, embrace the chaos, and see how I go. Do you adhere to schedule or just wing it?

Here is the chronicle of my last day of vacation, spent with friends in Vermont.

Picking apples is really fun. My friends and husband did most of the picking while I did most of the clicking.

Picking apples at an orchard in Vermont
Picking apples

I picked a couple apples…and ate them. I did contribute a couple to the bags, but the rest of the time I was having a blast taking photos.

Macintosh apple

Vermont orchardsv
Vermont orchards
Artsy apple picking ladder shot
Artsy apple picking ladder shot
Macintosh apple
Macintosh apple

My friend said my taking photos was okay, though, because if all four of us picked apples, the fun would be over too quickly. As it was, it only took 20 minutes to fill two bags. These Macintosh apples were incredible tasting. We also had fresh-pressed apple cider and hot fresh cider donuts.

Then we went for a hike in a park called Red Rocks near Lake Champlain to try to work up another appetite for our picnic lunch.

River rocks in Lake Champlain
River rocks in Lake Champlain
Forest trail at Red Rocks park
Forest trail at Red Rocks park
Lake Champlain, Vermont
Lake Champlain, Vermont
Sail boats on Lake Champlain
Sail boats on Lake Champlain
Forest trail in Red Rocks Park
Forest trail in Red Rocks Park

The orchard also raised and sold flowers, and they made a beautiful display in front. What an inviting display.

Vermont orchard
Vermont orchard

Oh…wait, guess how we ended our vacation in Vermont? Watching the eclipse. We all had our chairs out under a cloudless sky. Because we were in Vermont, we could watch the whole thing. Here’s one shot.

Moon eclipse 2015
Moon eclipse 20

Artistic choices

With writing, I receive a lot of help from my critique partners. Not only do they tell me what’s not working about a book, but they suggest how I might fix it. They also tell me what is working, so that I am careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Then I receive more help from my editor because I am lucky enough to have one! Good editing is key.

There are so many elements of writing craft: understanding and showing the characters’ goal, motivation (why they have the goal and why they think and act the way they do), and conflict (what stands between them and achieving their goal, both internal and external obstacles). Then there’s character arc (how they change and develop), and story structure, which has its own set of elements. Setting, dialog tags versus character movement, point of view, deep point of view, and so on. I think any writer who has been a member of Romance Writers of America for a while could jump on any of these when critiquing a writer’s work. With all those elements, many things can go wrong, but assuming you have those things right, well then it comes down to artistic choices among multiple right choices. Even at the sentence level, there are multiple ways of saying the same thing. One writer is going to choose to arrange a sentence one way and another will choose another way.

For me, getting to the artistic-choice stage is incredibly rewarding and exhilarating. Getting to choose is worth all the work and frustration involved in learning to write and in producing books.

I went out with a group of four photographers yesterday in New York City, all of them professional. I have been learning all kinds of technical tricks with my camera and some artistic suggestions, but ultimately the choices I make are my own. When I get home and look at my photos, which ones do I like? How do I want to develop them? I wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near mastering the craft, so some things are “wrong,” but each of us who posts photos is making choices, and even for amateurs, that is fun and interesting.

Some of the images below are not perfect, I know that, but I still like them. That’s what I find interesting–why did I choose these images?

The first one reminds me of the famous painting Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. My photo is not very much like that painting, but for some reason, the scene reminded me of it. Our brains are so individual–we are reminded of or pleased by different things. I like the people sitting inside plus I like the colors, textures, lines, curves and that the scene looks three dimensional. This is my favorite photo in today’s group.

The Oyster Bar at Grand Central
Grand Central Station
An old-fashioned info booth with modern displays, Grand Central Station
An old-fashioned info booth with modern displays, Grand Central Station
Phone booths in the public library
Phone booths in the public library
The Chrysler Building
The Chrysler Building
Grand Central Entrance
Grand Central Entrance
Bryant Park by the library
Bryant Park by the library

The next one is another favorite of mine. I like seeing people reading, looking at their smartphones, and talking, a slice-of-life moment in New York City.

Bryant Park
Bryant Park
View from Bryant Park
View from Bryant Park

Who doesn’t like a carousel? These are always so beautiful. The bunny was pointed out by two of the other photographers. It’s fun to see what artists notice. When I went up to take the photo, I was captured by the words on the horse’s saddle, Granny’s Folly, so I included that in the foreground.

Bryant Park carousel
Bryant Park carousel

I had to cut off the day early because I have a cold, but I made it out to our deck for a sunset photo.

Nightfall at the apartment, photo from the deck
Nightfall at the apartment, photo from the deck

Well those are my artistic choices for the day. Do you enjoy getting to make choices in whatever your specialty is? Whether it’s choosing a recipe, an outfit, how you will approach a work project, or choosing how you will tell a story, it all reflects your uniqueness.

Waiting for an answer…oops!

I’m eagerly awaiting word on the next step for Third Strike’s the Charm, hoping for a contract.

I had to fill out a form, which I did. After not hearing back from my editor, I decided yesterday to be a pest and make sure she received it. No, she didn’t!

I thought I sent the form four days ago, but she never received it. (The form is for the Lobster Cove series, which is a fictional small town on the Maine coast. Many authors are writing books set in this small town, so we all have to coordinate the setting and characters. We have a reference spreadsheet that is our “bible.” When we submit a manuscript, we fill out a form identifying the shared information we’ve used, things like street names, minor characters, major buildings, land marks, weather events, newsworthy events, and the physical characteristics of the main characters. The editor who is managing this series makes sure all that information goes into the spreadsheet.)

I checked my Sent Items folder in Yahoo mail. Somehow I managed to email the form to myself! Well, I could have been waiting a very long time! I now understand that if I don’t hear back from my editor confirming that she has received an email, to follow up. At least the clock has started now, plus I also learned more about working with my editor. She said she’s always there and will always send confirmation. We had a laugh about me sending the form to myself.

Have you found that your communications are getting mixed up lately? Apparently it’s in the air, so if you don’t hear back, double check.

I have a confession to make though. If I don’t get my first round of edits until October, that would work out well for my vacation. I am in New York. I wandered around the city today. Here are a collection of photographs. I read recently about photographic voice and making one’s own stamp on pictures. I was excited about these concepts in theory, but in reality, I found myself not sure what to photograph! My friend said just shoot everything. That I can do. These were my favorite today.

New York City fall day (13 of 17)
Newspaper vendor outside Penn Station
New York City fall day (12 of 17)
US Post Office
New York City fall day (10 of 17)
My husband worked in this building many years ago.
New York City fall day (2 of 17)
A kasha knish at 2nd Avenue Deli (now on 33rd Street)
New York City fall day (16 of 17)
Penn Station
New York City fall day (15 of 17)
Penn Station
New York City fall day (14 of 17)
Penn Station

New York City fall day (17 of 17) New York City fall day (11 of 17) New York City fall day (8 of 17) New York City fall day (6 of 17) New York City fall day (5 of 17) New York City fall day (3 of 17) New York City fall day (1 of 17)

New York City nightfall-1

Good night!

The writing life, our characters, ourselves..

I’m still at the stage, and perhaps I will always be at the stage, when I don’t know for sure if a book will appeal to other people. I submitted Third Strike’s the Charm and crossed my fingers. The first email I received from my editor was, “It’s not like your first book. It seems like your heart wasn’t in it or you were rushed.”

I can laugh about this now, but this statement was like an arrow shot into my worst fear. One of the bits of advice to fiction writers is to figure out what is your character’s worst fear? Then do that to them. Now I was having a turn-the-camera-around experience. As a writer you are trying to figure out characters, and then suddenly you are looking at yourself.

In fact I find this happening a lot. At first when I heard the advice to understand why a character acts and feels the way he does, I thought, “Oh brother, people really aren’t like that.” I thought assigning reasons to why characters are the way they are was artificial and forced. People think, therefore we can think our way out of being affected by our experiences. Of course, that reasoning is an interesting reflection of me…but that’s a topic for another day. I started paying attention and can see not only are my characters formed by experience, but so am I.

Actually I cried when I wrote the ending scenes, and I even teared up when I started writing the synopsis! I fell in love with the hero…finally. He gave me a lot of trouble. Jason Ward is a quiet type. He took a long time to open up to me. When I finally stopped trying to force him to a plot outline, he started to whisper his truth to me, and what a secret it was. I was very moved by this character.

In addition to putting my whole heart into this book, I took some risks and wrote very differently. (I will explain my process evolution in a different post.) I was excited about my new process. When I read that statement from the editor, because I tend to doubt myself when it comes to fiction, I assumed that she had pronounced that my new process was a total failure.

I sent out an SOS to my critique partners and then sent a message to my editor explaining that while the book may be horrible, I did put my heart into it. I said if the book is really bad we need to kill it, because the most important thing is to put out a good book. Obviously, I never want to publish something bad.

My editor wrote back immediately and said, oh no, I haven’t read the whole book. I’m sure it’s publishable. It’s just the beginning. Don’t worry, a lot of authors make the mistake of thinking with a sequel that they have to rehash the whole beginning. Don’t do that. Make it stand alone. Go ahead and rewrite the beginning before I send it to the reviewers, if you want to.

Of course I wanted to! I took her advice and did that. Well, actually, I was flat out. Despite the relief of finding out her comment just pertained to the beginning, I was too close to the project. I retreated to bed with a bowl of Trader Joe’s Belgian chocolate while one of my beloved critique partners took my editor’s comments, the manuscript, and the previous version, and redid the beginning for me, using my words, but cutting and splicing. While she did that, I set the chocolate aside and had a mental health day taking photos with friends.

Golden Gate Bridge

Note to self: get some distance. Writing a novel leaves you vulnerable and over-sensitive.

Last Friday, I was wading through email, and there was a message from my editor. “I’m going to request we go to contract. I really enjoyed it.”

Needless to say, I am ecstatic. I guess you could say the writing life is one of these:

Santa Cruz Boarddwalk
Santa Cruz Boardwalk, wooden roller coaster

The beginning of the book was a bit mechanical, as I over-worked to show how the characters came to this point. This slowed down the pace because the scenes were about the past. The beginning has to grab the reader.

Note to self: when it comes to the beginning, CUT.

Beginnings are tough. They get rewritten a lot and can end up lacking voice.

Third Strike’s the Charm isn’t over the hump. The senior editor also has to like it, but I’m 95% sure she will. I think if the book can get through the first round, it will make it through the second.

So, like my characters, Third Strike’s the Charm and I have made it through our big black moment (BBM) and just might make it to our Happily Ever After (HEA).

Do you ever find yourself watching a movie, or reading or writing something and realize what is happening on the page or screen is also happening to you?

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset
Golden Gate Bridge at sunset
Monterey
Monterey

Book review, Return to Audubon Springs, RoseAnn DeFranco

ReturntoAudubonSprings_8071_750

Homecoming, past lovers and secret baby… this book hits a lot of romance themes that I enjoy. Brimming with passion, conflict and humor, this book made me laugh and bite my nails and brought a tear to my eyes. Emma returns to a beautiful family house left to her as an inheritance with a big catch. She has to live there for 2 weeks a year and share the house with her very sexy ex-lover, Rafe. She tries to make Rafe leave by driving him crazy. Her ruse of being on a macrobiotic diet in order to drive him crazy had me in stitches.

The secondary characters, Rafe’s family, Emma’s friends, Emma’s mother and brother and especially the love child, Elana, populate this book with a rich, vibrant and realistic community.

This book is free on Amazon Kindle from 11/5 – 11/9/13!

Today, the author is here to answer a few questions. RoseAnn, welcome! I have a lot of questions for you, so here goes.

First, my favorite of all: are you a pantser or a plotter?

RoseAnn DeFranco: Hi Nia! Thank you so much for having me here. I’m thrilled to know you enjoyed the book.  I’m a plotting pantser.  My stories start with the characters. I take my time, live with them for a while, and figure out what makes them tick. From there, I naturally see the BIG MOMENTS or Turning Points FIRST. I tend to write or at least sketch out those moments and then go back and write to those points.

NS: That sounds like a great technique. I noticed you made effective use of a realistic and emotional device: the special kiss shared between mom and daughter. Did this come to you as you wrote it, did you layer it in later, or did you plan it ahead of time?

RDF: It came to me naturally in the first draft. I loved reading the book The Kissing Hand to my daughter. The exchanges you see between Emma and Elana are right out of my own history with my daughter.

NS: Wow, no wonder the mother/daughter relationship was so tender and realistic. You’ve lived it. Tell us, what came first with the idea for this book – setting, conflict or characters?

RDF: Setting definitely. Audubon Springs is based on my personal favorite Jersey Shore town. A couple of people that hail from Jersey already correctly guessed the town! Emma and Rafe’s house is actually a combination of my two favorite homes on Ocean Ave in the town.

NS: That’s wonderful. I used to spend summers in Manasquan with my family growing up. Those summers are favorite memories for my sister and me so your book was especially enjoyable.

Let’s talk about the conflict. The conflict is pretty explosive. I was biting my nails wondering if I could forgive Emma! You did it, though! It was a bold plot. Were you nervous about handling the secret baby, being able to redeem the heroine after keeping such an important relationship from the child’s paternal family?

RDF: It was definitely a concern of mine! I once attended a seminar about conflict with Eloisa James.  She said that it is the Author’s job to make the conflict so horrible that you can’t imagine how the H/H will work it out. At the start of the book, Emma feels very justified in her previous decisions.  As the story progresses, this secret creates a lot of internal conflict for her.

NS: Wow, that’s a great tip. Thanks for sharing it. How long have you been writing?

RDF: I’ve been writing for about seven years, seriously for about four.

NS: What other books have you written?

RDF: Return to Audubon Springs is the first in a three book Contemporary Romance series scheduled for release in 2014. The Series is called the Brothers of Audubon Springs.  I wrote two other Contemporary Romances prior to starting this series. I pretty much got my feet wet and worked out my writing chops on those stories.  In addition I have a Young Adult Fantasy, Forbidden Signs, which is the first in a planned three book series.  It was a finalist in two writing competitions in 2012. I’m currently seeking the right home for it in traditional publishing, but if that doesn’t happen, I have plans to self-publish it.

NS: I am in awe. What are your goals and dreams with writing?

RDF: Ultimately I’d love to be one of those Authors who can give up my day job to focus exclusively on my writing.  I have plans for a lot of stories, and as you know, writing takes time. Something I always seem to be short on!

NS: Wow, you are this prolific and you don’t write full time. I am so happy for you… you will get there. Thank you for joining us here today. We look forward to having you back as you publish more books.

RDF: Thank you! It was my pleasure to chat with you about Return to Audubon Springs.

Amazon Link (free today through 11/9!): http://www.amazon.com/Return-Audubon-Springs-Brothers-ebook/dp/B00FDSL792/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380163799&sr=8-1&keywords=return+to+audubon+springs

Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18586846-return-to-audubon-springs

Bio:

RoseAnn DeFranco

RoseAnn DeFranco grew up in upstate NY with her nose in a book and a song in her heart. Following the pursuit of a musical theatre career in NYC, she turned her creative energy to writing funny, steamy romance with heart. A NJ shore transplant, she enjoys time spent at the beach with her family and would love to one day live in a quaint shore town like the fictional town from her BROTHERS OF AUDUBON SPRINGS series.  More information about these Contemporary Romantic Comedies can be found at radefranco.com.

Blurb:

When Emma Grant returns to her family’s Audubon Springs beach house to fulfill the stipulations of her father’s will, she has every intention of forcing her former lover out of the house for good. She’s never fit into her wealthy family and would prefer avoiding her past, but with her brother threatening to reveal her young daughter, she has no choice.

Rafe Iuliano has other plans. The wealthy Grants tried to bribe him out of Emma’s life years ago, but he’s determined to prove once and for all that a master carpenter is worthy of Emma and the house.

Their ridiculous and steamy battle for the house reignites the love and passion that bloomed between them years ago. But when Rafe discovers she’s kept their daughter a secret for two years, can he overcome anger and pride to claim his family and the love of his life, or will the deception drive a final wedge between them?

Excerpt:

“This is your fault!” Emma shouted.

“My fault?” Rafe blinked through the thick coat of flour. “You’re the one who started this.”

“Me?”

“Yeah, you—Miss Macrobiotic Princess!” They used the barstools for support, and pulled themselves up from the slippery floor. “You’re immovable just like your mother.”

“And you’ve got about as much depth as a toenail. For the life of me, I can’t remember why I was ever with you.”

With a predatory look in his eyes and gait, Rafe advanced. In two long strides he pinned her to the counter, his hands grasping her hips. “Don’t!” His voice, low and dangerous, and his near proximity overwhelmed, charging her body with a jolt of electricity rendering breathing impossible. His gaze locked on hers for an eternity, then without warning, he dipped his head and licked lavishly at the syrup on her chest and neck.

Need and heat consumed her at his touch, fraying what was left of her nerves. She dropped her head back, shivered, and her knees buckled. He held her steady, fully pinned against the counter and continued to feast on her neck. Then with a shake as if waking from a dream, he stepped away, taking his heat with him.

Emma swayed and gripped the counter. Goose bumps rose on her flesh at the storm brewing in his eyes.

“Say or do anything you want to push me out of this house, but don’t ever say you don’t remember.”

Five ways to know if you’re a writer

The answer to the perennial question of when a writer who has not been published can call herself a writer, an answer which is often a total revelation, is: when you write.

I need more information, though! So I came up with a list of questions to which if you often answer yes, then I say you are a writer.

  • Do you have the tendency to become clinically depressed when your story isn’t working and you don’t know why?
  • Do you fall deeply in love with strangers for tweeting you?
  • When you’re online, do you long to write, but when you’re writing, long to be online?
  • Do you sometimes look in the mirror and say, “Why are you doing this?”
  • Are you secretly happy when it rains because it gives you the chance to stay inside and write?”

Thank you to everybody who supported me on my Goddess Fish Promotions + Romance Lives Forever (I secured that stop myself and it was so awesome) blog tour. 50 blog sites in four days, 108 (wonderful) comments, (all of whose names I need to enter on a  randomizing-list site for a raffle drawing), 50 amazing blog hostesses (all of whom I must thank for their pure awesomeness), who knows how many tweets, many new friends and much new knowledge, oh and shall I also state that between this support and some paid promo efforts to get the book listed on free book listing sites, The Last Straw went from:

1,125 in Kindle Free store

on day 1, T-zero

to:

410 on day 1, 7:33 PM, which is also when Amazon started reporting the category:

Kindle -> Kindle ebooks -> Literature & Fiction -> Genre Fiction -> Romance -> Contemporary

In which it ranked 93. (Do they start reporting the category when you reach the top 100? Not sure. It could just be a timing thing.)

On the start of day 4, it hit:

38 in Kindle free

12 in Kindle -> Kindle ebooks -> Literature & Fiction -> Genre Fiction -> Romance -> Contemporary

Wow. Not expected. A bunch of people actually read it already, too. HOORAY!