Project Slay the Clutter Demon Report: The main part of the house (minus the office) is now more or less straightened. My house feels a LOT bigger now. Today's plan is to clean the floors and dust. Then I'll start to very gradually tackle the office. I even ended up doing some sorting while I was straightening in the loft, since most of the mess in the loft is books. I'm running out of shelf space, so I did a little culling and have boxed up some books to sell to a used bookstore or to donate for the next Friends of the Library sale (though, come to think of it, the Friends of the Library sale is this week, so it may be late for this year, and by next year I should have even more -- and I'm not letting myself go NEAR that sale this year because I have plenty of books, for now). I even tested my resolve to keep things neat when I cooked a real dinner, the kind that involved cutting and measuring and multiple bowls and pans. I'm proud to say that I had all the cooking mess cleaned up and the dishes washed while my sour cream chicken enchiladas were still in the oven (minus, of course, the pan the enchiladas were baking in). Go me!
Now for a bit of news. I'm the final judge for this month's Blogging for Books contest, which is hosted by Joshilyn Jackson. What you do is write a blog entry this week related in some way, shape or form to this month's topic, which is magic (clever, huh?), then post a link to that entry in Joshilyn's blog comments. Last month's winner will read all the entries and pick some finalists, then I read the finalists and pick a winner. The winner gets a personally autographed copy of Once Upon Stilettos. Now, I'm sure that most of you reading this already have a copy (and if you don't, what are you waiting for?), but this way you can get an autographed one, and then use your old copy to hook someone else, or you can have one to read, haul around in your bag, take into the bathtub with you, etc., and one to look pretty on your bookcase. You can see all the rules and how-tos and details here. And I should warn you that looking at Joshilyn's blog can be addictive and may cause you to laugh out loud. She's high on my list of online writing friends I want to meet in person because I'm sure she'd be fun, and she's even on my fantasy dinner party guest list (plus, we found out yesterday that we both graduated from high school in the same year). If you have your own blog and want to pass the word about the contest, feel free. I'm not saying that for obvious self-promotion reasons (though that is a nice bonus), but because Joshilyn is really trying to keep this contest going, but would like more participation. It's all about getting more people to think and talk about books.
Speaking of thinking and talking about books ... I'm already doing some brainstorming about how to launch book 3 and how to continue spurring sales of the previous two books. The more I think about book 4 and see it shaping up, the more I'm sure I really, really want to write more books in the series, and to do that, I have to make sure the previous ones sell well enough that the publisher is willing to keep it going. Ideally, there'd be a huge surge in sales of Once Upon Stilettos before I'm done with book 4 so I'll have a sense then of whether or not that's the end of the series. And it CAN'T be the end of the series because I have plans!!!!! So, like the good marketing person I am, I thought I'd do a bit of market research. If you feel so inclined, please share with me in comments (or if you'd rather remain a lurker and not share with the world, you can e-mail me at email@example.com) how you first heard about these books and what it was that made you decide to buy them. That will give me a better idea of how to direct my future marketing efforts to lure in more unsuspecting saps, er, readers.