Saturday, March 29, 2014

7QTF: Marketing Books, Reading Books, and Blogging about It All

Okay, I'm a day late and I don't even know how many dollars short.  But I decided to join the 7QTF party this week.  My husband is leaving for a 3-day trip today, so what better way to fill the lonely hours than by connecting with all of my blogging friends?

Speaking of blogging friends, one of my favorites--Iris, from Country Girl's Daybook, just nominated me for a liebster award.  I've been liebstered once before, and I think I've given my readers more information about myself than they'd ever want or need to hear; but Iris has come up with some interesting questions, so...I'm in.  Thank you, Iris, for thinking of me.  I plan to start tackling your questions early next week, and then I'll come up with some of my own and choose some other blogging friends to send them to.

I was very generously gifted a Classic Nativity Stones Cross a few weeks ago.  This gorgeous cross, layered in 18K gold and hanging from a gleaming 22" chain, contains a small stone that was extracted from the Cave of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  As in, the birthplace of Our Lord.  Truly.
The Nativity Stones Collection was even honored with a plaque in the Vatican in 2000, so you can be sure that the stones used in these stunning and beautifully crafted pieces of jewelry are authentic.  And right now, you can get one of these amazing crosses at a reduced price, because the people at Nativity Stones are offering a 15% Easter discount to readers of this blog.   Just use the coupon code FAITH15 when you place your order, and the discount will be applied.

The parents of my middle son's bride, Preciosa, are currently visiting Cuba (where Preciosa's father was born).  While there, they have been snapping photos of good-natured Cuban citizens "reading" my Catholic novel Finding Grace.

I could not have hired a more hard-working or enthusiastic marketing team, I'll tell you--that is, if I had the funds to hire one.  I just wish I could have given them a copy that was translated into Spanish. 
Speaking of the book, I recently gave away 7 copies on my blog, and the winners were announced on Monday.  I plan to do another giveaway this summer (because I think Finding Grace would be a good choice for inspirational summer reading for teens and young adults--and maybe even a good beach read for their moms, too).
Let me use this Take to apologize--for using this blog so often (lately, almost daily!) as a forum to talk about my book.  I really must give you guys (or all y'all, for any readers south of the Mason-Dixon line) a break from the constant promotion/marketing.  You might not believe this, but it's hard for me to keep bringing it up.  I'd much rather hide away in a corner and hope Finding Grace will just go out and sell itself.  Unfortunately for this dyed-in-the-wool introvert, it doesn't work that way.  But perhaps I need to try another tack: you know, legwork, actual face-to-face sales pitches, and the like, instead of the much safer route of writing emails that don't get answered and blog posts that very few people will ever even see! 
While we're talking about books (one of my favorite subjects), I am currently reading The Book Thief, and I think it's just amazing.  I saw the movie with my husband and then decided that I absolutely had to read the original prose version that had inspired the screen version (which is very powerful and touching).  Well, I'll tell you this: Markus Zusak's writing is so incredible and profound that it makes me re-read passages, simply to experience again the sheer enjoyment I get from his brilliant usage of the English language--to marvel over how he takes simple words and arranges them in such a way that they astound me.  He is brilliant, there is no other word for it.  A wordsmith like no other.
For instance, in one scene, Hans Junior, who has joined the Nazi party and is now a true believer, is fighting with Hans Senior, who has refused to get on board; the son says to his father, "You coward," and then leaves the house in anger.  Here's how Zusak describes what happens next: "Ignoring futility, Papa...rushed the gate and ran pleadingly after him.  Mama hurried to the window, ripped away the [Nazi] flag, and opened up.  She, Trudy, and Liesel all crowded together, watching a father catch up to his son and grab hold of him, begging him to stop.  They could hear nothing, but the manner in which Hans Junior shrugged loose was loud enough.  The sight of Papa watching him walk away roared at them from up the street."  A roaring that can't be heard; what a description.  Later, when Liesel goes to watch the Nazi book-burning celebration in her neighborhood, where an enormous pile of "dangerous" books is going to be turned into an epic bonfire, Zusak says, "Although something inside told her this was a crime--after all, her three books were the most precious items she owned--she was compelled to see the thing lit.  She couldn't help it.  I guess humans like to watch a little destruction.  Sand castles, houses of cards, that's where they begin.  Their great skill is their capacity to escalate."  Chills, right?
In the author interview in the back of the book, Zusak says that he thinks there can be a gem on every page of a book.  He explains, "It's what I love about writing--that words can be used in a way that's like a child playing in a sandpit, rearranging things, swapping them around."  And this guy can really swap them around like nobody's business.  In my opinion, there is at least one gem (something that deserves a re-read) on every page of The Book Thief--at least so far.  My friend Iris (see Take #1) was not a fan of the fact that Death is the narrator of this novel; but I think it works.  I'm not finished yet, so I won't say more.  Besides, I think this book may show up in a future What We're Reading Wednesday post over at Housewifespice (a blog you should be reading if you aren't already!), so I'll save any further thoughts for that.
#5 was way too long, so...
(And now I'm plagiarizing writers I admire, because some of the humorous bloggers I know have said this in past 7QTF posts.)
Now I'm going to link you up to a wonderful blog called Footprints on My Heart.  Sarah Therese has a beautiful thing going on over there, wherein she invites blogging friends to write guest posts (published on Saturdays) about their favorite saints.  If you love to read about the lives of the saints, or if you're just interested in learning more about some of our Heavenly helpers, stop by and check out her "Our Friends, the Saints" series.
Thanks to Sarah Therese and all of my other talented and inspiring blogging friends out there, in all different corners of the Internet.  You provide me with inspiration, entertainment, enlightenment, and laughter on a daily basis.
Okay, readers, time to head on over to 7QTF at  Jen's (where there's always plenty of all that good stuff I just mentioned).


  1. The cross is BEAUTIFUL and the pictures of your book are such fun to see! I've loved reading your recent posts about Finding Grace (I can't believe it's already been nearly a year since I read it!).

    Isn't The Book Thief fantastic? I JUST finished reading the book last week and had pre-ordered the movie. Now the DVD is sitting on my desk waiting for my current semester's project to be finished so I can take a few hours to enjoy it :-) And Zusak's writing style... unlike any I've ever read!

    You're so kind to mention the Saints Series! Admittedly, I was very surprised to see you write about it in your last quick take. Thank you for the shout-out!

    God bless you!

    1. I know some people are not fans of The Book Thief, but I really do love the way it's written. It makes me wish I could write the way Zusak does--and if I thought I could, perhaps I'd get to work right now on another book!

      I can't believe it's been a year since you read mine, either (and that this summer, it will have been out two years already). Time goes by so fast.

      I hope lots of people are stopping by to read the Our Friends, the Saints series. It's wonderful.

  2. Your Cuban pics have been making me laugh:)
    Re 5- was most interested on your take, ducking tomatoes as I admit the book wasn't one I liked, the sentence structures drove me insane.

    1. Erin, those pictures make me laugh as well! I showed them to my publisher, and she thought they were a riot.

      And I won't hurl tomatoes at you for not liking The Book Thief. I've heard negative reviews from other bloggers I admire, too. But there's something about the way Markus Zusak puts things that just really speaks to me (or soundlessly roars at me, as he might say).

  3. I love the Cuban pics!

    And it doesn't bother me that you must market your book. It goes with the territory! But I understand how you feel as I'm an introvert, too. ;)

  4. Benjamin Moser was born in Houston in 1976, and earned his A.B. from Brown University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Utrecht, in the Netherlands, where he has lived for many years.Bejamin Moser