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Don't miss the Times Festival of Reading Saturday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Come one, come all, to the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading Saturday (that's tomorrow!). The event happens on and around the campus of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. I'll be speaking in the adjacent Poynter Institute in the Bob Haiman Amphitheatre starting at 10 a.m. I'll be signing books after in Poynter, so be sure to swing by the book sales table at the festival and get a copy if you don't have one!

There has been lots of nice buildup to the event. There was an excerpt from Obitchuary in the Times last Sunday, with an adorable headline giving a nod to Penny's suffering liver.

I read a chapter for Florida Matters on WUSF, our local NPR affiliate, too! Listen to the show here, which includes some great snippets from other festival authors and an insightful interview with Colette Bancroft, Times book editor and brainchild behind the festival.

As for that book release party? Well, as goes life, it fell horribly to pieces when I least expected. The venue had a problem with the fact that I'd be selling books (uhhhh). Despite our best efforts to explain that we were not selling timeshares or snake oil, they just pictured:

We were bounced out at the last minute. But, some of my best friends still crashed my house for a makeshift signing, which honestly might have been better anyway.

Wine and cupcakes. Better than cocaine tooth drops.

Hope to see you all at the reading festival Saturday! I'll post some pictures from the event soon.

Grouponing the Globe: Jamaica edition

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tomorrow marks Phase III of my Plan To See The World Via Crowd Savings Websites, which, now that I write it out, would make a great reality show. At 7 a.m., we're flying to Ocho Rios, Jamaica for five days, to one of those all-inclusive resort places that's like Sandals, minus Jan Levenson-Gould and Michael Scott.

Being that it's hurricane season and whatnot, Groupon was practically giving this one away, and who was I to shun? I know what you're thinking. "Steph, as a print journalist and independent fiction writer, you must be extraordinarily wealthy." Common misconception, I know.

This is the third time Jim and I have traveled using a Groupon or a similar device. The first time, I blindly booked a vacation home in Sonoma Valley from Living Social, going on faith, recklessness and general miser behavior alone. I didn't receive the physical address until the week before (I know, I know), and when I looked at the Google street view, there was a rusted chainlink fence and a car out front that looked like it had been on blocks since 1974. "Well," I said, "at least there will be wine."

It was actually fantastic, roomy, comfortable, with heated floor tiles in the bathroom that I thought were really cool (I am a simple creature). Even though it was February, known in wine country as "PLOW THE DEAD VINES" season, I was just like:

That wine in the picture was part of the Living Social vacation bundle, explaining the look of peace and true spiritual clarity on my face.

Earlier this year we went to Niagara Falls, a fulfillment of my childhood dream to get really, really close to a lethal water feature. But, being yet again the off-season, it was so cold they delayed opening the damn boat. THE BOAT! Imagine getting all the way there and NOT GETTING ON THE GODFORSAKEN BOAT. But as soon as the sun came out, we slipped on the Maid of the Mist, motto, "Our ponchos are made of fairy tears," and only suffered mild hypothermia. Worth!

So, anyway, I'm expecting big things from Jamaica! It's supposed to rain every day, but I suspect it'll just make for more delightful anecdotes, or at least the chance to use the phrase "Jamaica Mistake-a." Thanks, Groupon!

When I get back, it'll be all Obitchuary, all the time! My book release party is coming up, and then right after that is the Times Festival of Reading, Oct. 26, at USF St. Petersburg. I speak at 10 a.m. and sign books after. BE THERE!

And don't forget, Obitchuary is still 99 cents to download to your handy-dandy e-reader on all platforms! And the paperback is now available through Amazon, too, so everything is in one place. The book will make a great beach read when you're on your Groupon-cation holding onto your lawn chairs during Tropical Storm Bane, screaming at your husband, "THE INTERNET IS THE DARK ARTS."

See you in a week, friends!

Obitchuary is here: Time to break in your book!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's here! It's here!

Here are some ways you can buy a copy of Obitchuary today. Remember, the digital download is 99 cents for 90 days, and after that, it goes up to $2.99 (still less than a box of snack cakes). The paperback is $12.95.

Pick your poison:

Barnes and Noble online!

It will also be on iTunes and Sony any minute now, so stand by if those are your preferred e-book sites. The paperback version hasn't synced up with Amazon yet (it is snoozing, taking a load off), but it will in a few days, so one-stop shopping will be easy. For today, you can definitely use the link above if you just gotta have that paper in your hands.

If you have a minute to spare when you're done reading, please leave a customer review on Amazon or Goodreads. It will help GREATLY with sales, Kindle rankings and overall street cred at various bars around town, so it's a really big deal. If you're my mom, use a clever code name like, "Schmom."

We'll have more paperback copies for sale at the 21st Annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading Oct. 26 in beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida, where I will be one of the "authors" who will be "speaking" and "signing." This is a huge honor, as I've spent the last five years INTRODUCING fancy authors who speak at the festival, not BEING one. My experience as a festival participant up until now has been, "The cheese niblets and spring water bottles are here, and the bathrooms are around the corner. Can I get you a slice from the sandwich ring?" So, this will be an astounding turn of events.

Stay tuned for more information about my speaking/book signing time slot. But if I were you, I'd plan to come for the whole day if you can. Check out all the fantastic authors who will be there! Also, there's usually snacks and frozen lemonade, and as a human with a soul, you're going to want some of that.

With that, UNLEASH THE KRAKEN. It's book time.