First of all, congratulations to...Lainey Bancroft on winning a copy of Brenda's book, JACK WITH A TWIST!! Yours was the name my 10-year-old drew from my pink Jane Austen bag this afternoon (yes, I really have one of those--thanks to the lovely folks at JASNA who make and sell things like this :). Lainey, please email me your snail mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I'll pass along the info to Brenda so she can send you her new book!
However, for those who entered and didn't win a book this time, I'll have other novels to give away soon (some from GCC'ers and others from special author guests), as well as little fun things to match the mood of each month. Why? Because it's my debut year and I want to celebrate...
I've been fortunate to know many of you for months--or years!--but even if you're new to my blog, I consider anyone who stops by, reads and comments to be a potential friend. And I've got to tell you, during times of stress, we need our friends. (No matter how naturally introverted we may be...) Getting a book published is a thrilling experience, yes. But, just like getting married or having a baby or being promoted or any other "good news" occasion, it brings with it a major life change and lots of new stressors. Some of them I anticipated. Some I did not. But I've been really, really lucky because when the world looked awfully messy--like during much of this week--I had friends to thank for their insights and emotional support. And since those of you reading this post care enough to be here with me for a little while, I'd like you all to know how much you're appreciated.
So, my January giveaway (the "It's Seriously Still Winter" contest) is a simple one: Anybody who leaves a comment on any Brant Flakes post from this one through the end of the month--specifically, by noon CST on Saturday 1/31/09--will be eligible to win some gourmet hot cocoa and a box of 12 glittery snowflake decorations. One person will win both items but there will be at least two others who'll win just the cocoa. Maybe more than two. I've been drinking a lot of cocoa this winter already, and I'd like to share the warmth...
I have a list of some of the other giveaways coming up on the "Contests" page of my website, which is a new addition. Actually, the website itself is new. The design is a change from the one I'd had for the past couple of years, and I've been able to include some exciting new features, like advanced reviews of my book! And a novel excerpt! Photos! Song titles! And, soon, I'll be able to put up the book's cover (I hope)! I've even got a newsletter group you can sign up for, which will have other fun things for you (target date for Issue 1, Volume 1 = sometime in February). And, eventually, there'll be more information on my 2nd women's fiction book, which I'm happy to say will be out in October 2010.
So, I hope you'll visit and you'll find the pages interesting and informative. I also hope if you find glitches or errors of any kind that you'll PLEASE let me know!! I'm new to designing (massive understatement) and have had some hilarious discussions with friends this past week. One went something like this:
Me: How does my Home page look?
Friend (surprised): I didn't know you were such a Chicago Bears fan.
Friend: The colors. They're all dark blue and orange. And, um, you can't see the text unless you highlight it...
Me: Really? I used mostly golds, reds and blacks. That's strange. I can see them all on my screen.
Friend: Well, sometimes different browsers are incompatible with a design program and there can be visibility issues.
Me: What do you mean by "different browsers"...exactly?
Friend (explaining patiently): Firefox. Internet Explorer. Safari. You know?
Me: Ohhh, right--I've heard of those. Mine's that Explorer one.
Friend: Yeah, well, you've a problem with Firefox, then. Unless you want your Author Message to be "Go, Bears!"
Yeah. So, let's just say I have LOTS to learn and am still not entirely clear on all aspects of CSS. However, I love, love, love being in complete control of the design and content, and nothing I've done lately has matched my delight in figuring out how to make one browser window open into another or how to make text change to a different color when the cursor passes over it. It's those little things...
And on that note, I'll add one final thanks--this is my 100th post (my 101st is going to be shorter!)--and I thank you all so much for reading it.