Happy Birthday, Kansas!

Exactly 151 years ago this weekend, Kansas gained her statehood after more than six years of struggle over the issue of slavery. Through years of oppression by the proslavery “Bogus Legislation,” the unsteady leadership of six governors in six years, and bloody violence between proslavery and free state forces, the citizens of Kansas persevered in their desire to create a free state constitution for Kansas. Although the citizens of Kansas approved the Wyandotte Constitution in October 1859, the largest hurdle remained: approval of Congress. In April 1860, the House of Representatives passed the bill granting statehood to Kansas. The Senate, however, dominated by the proslavery Southern states, refused to vote on the bill before the Congressional session ended in June of 1860. On January 21, 1861, the bill was at last scheduled for voting in the Senate. But before the discussion began that day, senators from the South resigned their seats because their states had seceded from the Union. After they left the hall, the vote was called, and the bill passed. President Buchanan signed the bill on January 29, 1861, making Kansas a state.


Ever since the book trailer went up last weekend, I’ve been busy with more and more things to tend to as I move closer to the release of A Voice for Kanzas. It’s exciting…and a bit overwhelming at times.

Here are a few of the tasks I’ve been working on this week:

  1. Finishing the press kit (it’s being uploaded now)
  2. Writing discussion questions for teachers and/or book clubs to use (I’ll send these to Lynn at Kane Miller for her to post on the KM website).
  3. Requesting to have my new website (this one) posted on Missouri Writes for Kids
  4. Sending news about the book’s release to MO-SCBWI for their newsletter
  5. Preparing information for TWO bloggers who will feature me on upcoming posts
  6. Preparing for the Apocalypsies’ “blog hop/scavenger hunt” that begins tomorrow and getting all the information posted on my home page
  7. Having some wonderful journals made to use for prizes for the blog hop and for contests on my own web page
  8. PLANNING MY LAUNCH PARTY!!! I have just a few more details to confirm before I begin announcing it and sending out invitations.

On top of all this, I’ve been asked to do a school visit in a few weeks, and I’ve been asked to write an article for the MO-SCBWI newsletter!

Review copies of the book and press releases have gone out. Now I just have to avoid nail-biting as I wait for the first reviews to appear. There is still much to do, but I’m loving every minute of it!

Contest Alert!

On your mark…Get set…     for the YAmazing Race with MGnificent Prizes!! It all begins on Monday, January 16. The start line is the Apocalypsies blog page, and the race will take you (in several legs) through websites of more than 50 debut authors and their fabulous upcoming new books! And yeah, some awesome prizes are to be had!

Trailer fun!

I’ve been trying not to be too impatient–really, I have! Ken Spurgeon and his crew took lots and lots of digital footage (if “footage” applies to digital movie-making, which it probably doesn’t). I know it was a really big job to edit it all, line up the transitions between shots, find the right music and add it in, record and then add the voice-over, etc. And it was the holidays–Thanksgiving, Christmas, and also New Year’s all fell in the weeks after the trailer shoot.  On top of all that, my editor (Kira Lynn) and the publicist (Lynn Kelley) have also been ready to begin promoting A Voice for Kanzas, and both planned to use the trailer in their efforts. We were running up against a bit of a time crunch to get it ready for an upcoming presentation Kira will do this week for Kane Miller’s sales reps, so I was thrilled when Ken let me know he had the final version ready.

After a few technical issues with the first uploaded version, Ken was able to put the finished trailer on YouTube, and we were off and running! First, I embedded the video (Really! HTML and everything!) on the home page of this website. Then I put it on my Goodreads author page. Then I added the link to my status updates on my regular Facebook page and also on my Facebook author page. A few friends reposted it. Lots of friends “liked” it. I announced it to my Apocalypsies buddies. I emailed friends who might not have seen it yet. I posted on my local writers’ list serves. Then Ken asked if he could send out a message to friends of Lone Chimney and also post it on the Lone Chimney Facebook page. I said, “Yes, please do!”

Of course, my website address is printed on my bookmarks and postcards, so that may also guide those who might be interested in the book to the trailer. And I’ll use the trailer when I do personal appearances (if it’s appropriate) and I’m sure I’ll run it at my book launch party.

And I have to express my thanks again to Ken and the Lone Chimney crew, as well as to all the wonderful actors who came out to help with the trailer.

Maybe my trailer won’t go “viral,” but it won’t be for lack of effort! If you haven’t seen it yet, please take a look–I put it right at the top of the home page!

Do you have other ideas for ways to use a book trailer? If so, please let me know!

Welcome, 2012!

Yes, it’s finally here–my debut year! And while I’m waiting breathlessly for the book trailer to be ready (just a few more days, I’m told), I can’t help but be excited about all I have to look forward to in 2012.

Of course, these are things I’m looking forward to, but maybe some are things you will be excited about, too:

First off, that amazing book trailer! I’ve seen a rough cut, and it looks great. I’ll post it here, on Facebook, on Goodreads, and anywhere else I can think of, so stay tuned for that.

I’m expecting to find a box of brand-spanking new books on my porch one of these days. And yes, I’ll post that photo on Facebook, too!

A group of 58 Apocalypsies (including me) are planning a blog scavenger hunt in a couple of weeks. Your online clicks will take you to lots of sites to see previews of our books, and there will be prizes! The game begins on 1/16/2012, and you’ll find the details at the Apocalypsies website.

I’m still planning my book launch party, and it’s going to be lots of fun! In fact, it may be too much fun to be contained in just one launch party. More details on that soon.

I am already scheduled for some personal appearances to talk about A Voice for Kanzas, including a kids’ lit fest, a club meeting, and some school visits.

I hope you have many things that you are looking forward to in the coming year, and maybe even a few on the list above.

Here’s to 2012–cheers!