Vote for Your Favorite Marrying a Widower Cover

Based on feedback received on the initial cover last week, I've had my graphic designer come up with two other designs. What I'd like you to do is review the three covers (the initial one and the two new ones) below and leave a comment below to let me know your favorite. On Thursday I'll announce what the final cover the book will look like.

Thanks for voting!

Update: Don't worry about the different subtitles. "What You Need to Know Before Tying the Knot" is the official subtitle for the book. It's the rings I'm looking for you to vote for.

Cover #1

Cover #2

Cover #3

Boys and Basketball

My two oldest boys are on the same little league basketball team. Last Saturday was their first game. They both seemed to have a good time running around in what can only be described as organized chaos by all participants: lots of double dribbling, traveling, and getting confused on which basket they should be shooting at. It’s kind of like watching a Sacramento Kings game. This was my first little league anything I’ve attended as a parent and was curious as to how the other adults would behave. I’ve heard stories from neighbors about a crazy parent or two who yelled at their kid or do something else stupid or embarrassing at little league games. My few memories of participating in little league baseball as a kid is also full of parents (not mine, thankfully) and coaches who acted like three year olds.

Thankfully all the adults behaved like, well, adults. No one complained about any calls, how much playing time their kids got, or anything else that happened on the court. Everyone, even the kids, were good sports and the kids went home happy that they had a chance to play “real basketball” and get a treat from their coach after the game.

Hopefully the well behaved adult behavior will continue as the season goes on.

Tiger Town

My youngest brother is in the middle of his first semester of law school at Michigan State University. Since he and his wife moved there in August it’s been interesting to hear him talk about how many people are excited about the Detroit Tigers. For example, the bus driver is always talking about their latest game when he boards her bus every morning and his law school classmates will stop their late night studies to watch a couple of innings here and there. According to my brother, the energy level has only gone up exponentially since the Tigers made the postseason. Since Tiger fans are a rare breed in Utah, I’m envious that my brother gets to experience that communal sports delight.

No doubt the energy levels been tamped down somewhat since the Tigers season came to an ignominious end at the hands of the Texas Rangers tonight, they made it farther than anyone thought they would back in April. And Tigers did knock the Yankees out of the post season and that alone made their trip to the postseason worth it. Besides, my brother says the bus driver and his law school friends won’t be down in the dumps for long. The Detroit Lions who are off to their first 5-0 start in over 50 years and everyone’s excited about that too. Here’s to hoping the rest of the Lions’ season will give sports fans in Michigan something to cheer about all the way ‘till February.

Book Review: Bloodborne by Gregg Luke

Gregg Luke’s new novel, Bloodborne, will make you want to stock up on mosquito spray with lots and lots of Deet. You may hate those creatures when they bite you during a backyard barbeque but you’ll hate them even more when you realize they can possibly be used to transport bioweapons that make the West Nile Virus look like the common cold.

But pesky misquotes are only a part of the suspenseful plot of Bloodborne. The hero of the story is Dr. Erin Cross—a brilliant research scientist who unexpectedly finds herself the target of terrorists. Throughout most of the novel Cross, aided by ex-Special Ops agent Sean Flannery, finds herself on the run as she tries to figure out why anyone would want to kill her or be interested in her research.

Luke does a great job with a novel that hooks you from the first chapter. Even though Luke has a degree in Biological Sciences and works as pharmacist, Luke does a masterful job of present complex research and biological information in such a way that any adult reader can understand. It makes the impending mosquito invasion seem all the more probable. The mystery is unveiled slowly but at just the right moments that it keep you turning the pages. Despite their shortcomings, Dr. Cross and Flannery characters that you can empathize with and root for. Even the main villain has a tender and caring moment which makes him feel human—even though you can’t stand the guy and hope he gets what he deserves. Admittedly I haven’t read a lot of books along these lines but the idea of using mosquitoes as bioweapons seems fairly original—at least to me. (If it’s been done before, let me know of the book in the comments below.)

If you like medical thrillers, suspense novels, or have a fascination with misquotes, then Bloodborne is the book for you. My only recommendation is that you stock up on some bug spray before reading it. Better yet, bring back DDT and eliminate those bastards once and for all.

4 out of 5 stars for the page-turning and intriguing novel, Bloodborne.

Full disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Purchase at Amazon here.

The Future of Book Signings

Yesterday I did a book signing at a local Barnes & Noble with seven other authors. They table I was sitting at was set across from the section where people could look at and examine Nooks. It was interesting to watch how busy the Nook stations were for the three hours we were there—especially the Kid’s Nook station. Parents and their kids would walk in and instead of heading to the kid’s section in the back, they’d run straight to the (kid) Nooks. I saw many Nooks get sold, half of which by my estimation were bought for the kids.

My first book came out before eReaders were popular. The biggest difference I’ve noticed between book signings then and now is that at least half the people who stop by the table ask if the books are available in eBook format. (Earlier this hummer I had a lady pull her Kindle out of her purse and download one of my books instead of buying a paper copy.) It got me thinking if the popularity of eBooks will have an adverse effect on author signings.

Here’s what I predict: In the next two or three years the number of author book signings will plummet. Mostly this will be because more bookstores will close and those that do remain will have less foot traffic than they do now. The other part for this decline will be that authors without a large readership or those just starting out will find book signings to be less and less productive way to spend their time and will find other ways (mostly online) to grow their readership and fans.

That’s not to say book signings will completely go away –just transform. Instead of walking into your local bookstore and seeing an author sitting behind a table with copies of his or her books, book signings will become more like social events. They’ll become a great way for readers to meet their favorite author in person. (You’re starting to see more ticketed events when a big name author releases a book. Usually a hardback version of their book is included in the price of the ticket.) They’re could be music, food, and all the trappings of a party. And if you add a limited number of tickets to an event for the bigger name authors, you build up hype and it quickly becomes a must attend event. This change will be great for well-known authors with a large fan base but a problem for new and midlist authors or those with small number of readers. That means the authors who know how to market themselves and their work will be the ones who reap the biggest benefit from this shift.

This change will be good for both authors and bookstores. Those who are good at selling themselves and their books will see more signings and bookstores will be able to stay afloat in part from the profits of these events. Those who aren’t as adept at this won’t find themselves behind tables at bookstores anymore. That means instead of sitting behind a table they can spend their time working on their latest book or find other (read: more productive) ways to build their audience.

Dating a Widower Book Cover Concepts

For the last couple weeks I've been working with a book cover designer for the upcoming Dating a Widower book. After a couple weeks of back and forth I've narrowed the concepts I like down to two. Since my target audience spends a lot of time on this blog, I thought I'd solicit your feedback and see which one you like better. Right now I'm mainly looking for feedback on the concepts--the wedding ring "O" or the couple walking. If there are reasons you like one over the other, feel free to elaborate. If you have comments on the font, colors, etc. that's fine too but that's not something I want to spend too much time on right now. Once I narrow it down to one concept, I'll worry about those other details. And, yes, I have a favorite and no I'm not telling you what it is--at least not right now.

Leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts.

Update: Welcome all those who are visiting from The Passive Voice Blog. You can read more about my decision to turn down a publishing contract for this book and go indie with this book here and here.

Concept 1

Concept 2

New Book Launch Party Date: July 6

Due to some production and publishing issues, the book launch party for The Third has been moved to July 6. You're still all invited to attend. Details as follows:

When: July 6, 2010 Where: Barnes & Noble, 6 Rio Grande Street, Salt Lake City, Utah (Directions) Time: 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. What to expect: Fun, food, and prizes.

For those who have pre-ordered copies, they'll be mailed as soon as the books are published. (If it makes you feel any better, I haven't seen any copies either.

Thankfully, all the issues seem to be resolved and we're on for a July 6th launch. If you have any questions, email me.

iPad = Newton

Apple Newton

Remember Apple's Newton?

Not many people do. It was one of many Apple flops from the 1990s. It died an ignominious death in 1998.

As much as it's been fun to see what Steve Jobs as done with Apple since he regained his leadership role, the new iPad reminds me of the Newton.

It's really not that cool.

Sell your Apple stock before its too late.

A Note about Book Reviews

Book Reviews

At least once a week I’m contacted by publishers, PR agencies, or authors asking if I’d like an advanced reader copy (ARC) of a book in exchange for a review on my blog. Because I’m extremely with a job, writing my next novel, and a father of four active kids, I turn down most requests. However, if a book piques my interest (read: it’s a genre that interests me and they make a good pitch) and I think have the time to read it, I’ll tell them to send it over.

However, ARCs in no way effect my review of books on this blog. My reviews consist of 1) whether or not the book fit my tastes, 2) the author accomplished his or her goal in writing it and 3) I would recommend the book to others. Aside from the free book, I am not compensated for posting a review.

The Best and Worst of 2008

Best Blog: Land of Laura Lot. Honest. Insightful. Funny. Great storyteller. Give her a read. Best Movie: Gran Torino. This Clint Eastwood picture just edged out The Dark Knight for my best movie of the year. This movie isn’t in wide release until January 2009 but I got a sneak peek at it over the holidays and I really liked it. Both movies had themes of sacrifice, redemption, and salvation but Eastwood’s pick did it on a more intimate, personal level. Look for my review sometime next week.

Worst Movie: The X-Files: I Want to Believe. I loved this TV show – except for the final episode. This movie however, had none of the magic that made the show so popular. How can you have a true X-File movie without aliens or true paranormal stuff going on. This movie didn’t have any of that. Just a pedophile priest. Yuck!

Best Book: Discovered two great writers this year: Lee Child and Robert Crais. All their novels are wonderfully written with great plots and characters. It came down to Crais’ The Watchman and Child’s Echo Burning. I’ll give the edge to Echo Burning simply because Reacher’s a more intriguing character. Both books, however, are great reads.

Worst Book: Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love that Survived by Herman Rosenblat. Don’t call it a memoir if you’re going to make it up. (Read more about it here.)

Best TV Show: LOST. If this comes at a surprise, you haven’t been reading my blog very long.

Worst TV Show: Don’t watch enough TV to give an award here. (Thank goodness.) Best Political Moment: Seeing Barack Obama elected. I didn’t vote for the guy, but it was cool to see that anyone can become president regardless of their race.

Best Political Moment: Seeing Barack Obama elected. I didn’t vote for the guy, but it was cool to see that anyone can become president regardless of their race.

Worst Political Moment: Endless choices here. I’ll give it to Utah state senator Chris Buttars who wanted to pass a resolution that would require retailers to say “Merry Christmas” to their customers. Uh, that kind of goes against the spirit of the holiday. Can you say Bah Humbug, senator?

Best Personal Moment: Finishing my first novel five months ago.

Worst Personal Moment: After finishing it realizing I could do better. A lot better and deciding not to do anything with it for the time being. On the bright side, I’m just about done with a novel that is publishable.

Best Person Ever to Live: Marathon Girl. I'd be lost without her. Great wife, mom, editor, and runner. Can't imagine life without her.

2008 was great. Here’s to hoping 2009 is even better!

Happy New Year everyone!