Following Authors

There’s a nifty new way for you to keep track of your favorite authors which I wanted to share with you today. First off, though, let’s review the available options.

• Earlier this year, Amazon introduced Follow buttons on the author pages on their site. On every author profile on Amazon, there’s an orange button under the author’s picture. You can click on this to follow the author. What exactly does this mean? I’m not sure. Sometimes, I’m invited by Amazon to send a personal message to you when I have a new release. Sometimes, I’m not. I always do it (and I do it right away) but I have no idea when or if you receive it (much less whether all of you who have followed me will ever receive it). You can follow me on Amazon as Deborah Cooke or as Claire Delacroix (or both!)

• There’s a new option for you to keep up with authors. This week, BookBub introduced a new capacity for their author profile pages. These were introduced earlier this year, I think to ensure that readers didn’t miss a sale title by a favorite author. Beginning in January, though, if you follow an author on BookBub, you’ll receive an email notification whenever that author has a new release. Currently, this is providing US buy links for US readers, but I’d be surprised if it didn’t expand into other territories. BB says they’ll send a message within a certain number days of the on-sale date of every new release. Right now, I have only a BookBub profile for my Claire Delacroix books.

• You can also subscribe to an author’s newsletter (here’s mine) or follow the author’s blog (the sign up is in the right sidebar.) This is the easiest way to make sure you’re getting all the news from your favorite authors.

Here’s one last wrinkle for you – if you subscribe to the author’s newsletter, be sure to add the specified email address to your address book, too. A number of servers (gmail.com and aol.com are particularly inclined this way) are tending to perceive author newsletters as spam. Make sure you get the first newsletter when you sign up, and that it isn’t in your spam folder. Once your mail software is trained to accept the newsletter as something you want to see, then you’ll be keeping up to date easily with all the news.

As always, happy reading!

The Book Tree

A few weeks ago, I saw some book trees on Facebook. They were Christmas trees, but made of carefully stacked books. Some of them were decorated, and some weren’t. When I finally saw one with lights on it, I knew I had to build one.

Here it is:Deborah Cooke's Book Tree

Building a book tree isn’t particularly complicated, but it does take time. I started with eight big books, placed in a circle on the rug, then began stacking. I found that I needed about half of the books to be hard covers for the tree to be stable. The rest are trade paperbacks, because mass market paperbacks were too light. They wanted to slide away. You also need to pay attention to the thickness of the books, so that any two beside each other have spines of roughly the same thickness. This keeps each layer of the tree on the level, and also helps its stability.

Mine finished out at about 5 feet high. (And no, I have no idea how many books it took. A lot. I had to keep getting more!)

BookTree5I found some snowflake LED lights in the holiday decorations. We’d bought these last year at Ikea, intending to put them around some windows, but that never happened. They were still in the packages. I used two lengths to decorate the tree – they’re 45 feet long each or so. It’s easy to “fasten” the lights – I just tucked the cord between two books at regular intervals.

TheBookTree4Then I had some silk poinsettias and sprays of glittery beads that I used at our old house to decorate the cedar roping we hung on the porch in December. They’ve been sitting in a box ever since we moved, but were perfect choices to give this tree a bit of sparkle. I just poked them between the books. There was also some gold bead garland in the same box. I have no recollection of where it came from, but it went on the tree too.

The final question was the star. Hmm. Mr. Math came up with the solution. When he was single, his sister made him a little tree, so he could pull it out of the box each year and have a Christmas tree in his apartment. It’s not even a foot tall but is very cute. We usually put it on the fireplace mantle, but he suggested we use it as our “star”. I was skeptical, but it’s perfect.Deborah Cooke's Book Tree

At first, I’d thought this tree would just be temporary and a fun addition to the dining room for a family dinner we were hosting, but I quite like it. There are no dropping needles and there’s no need to water it. Fortunately I chose books that I didn’t think we’d want to read before the new year, so I’ll leave it there through the holidays. The bookshelves are due for a cleaning and a sort anyway, and reorganizing them will be a good way to start the new year.

What do you think?

Am Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately, and seem to have run into a batch featuring lawyers. Not sure why it happened that way – I really do buy books based on their covers, seldom read the copy or blurb, and when I’m on a binge like this, I buy only authors who are new to me. It’s a discovery thing.

This round, I’ve found some real duds. (Too bad they had great covers.) I’ve found a couple that just weren’t for me – mixing real violence with the sex will do that, every time. I just don’t believe that men who treat women with violence during intimacy can ever be redeemed. Call me a skeptic.

I read one that had terrific dialogue, very very funny, and a flawed protagonist. I chewed through it in one night, but in the end, meh. Every character was self-absorbed and interested only in his or her own goals. They weren’t people I wanted to know. They weren’t sympathetic. And that made them completely forgettable.

And then there is this gem: Sustained by Emma Chase. Jake talks tough and he is tough, but he’s also a big ol’ marshmallow. Watching him be melted down by Chelsea and her brood of nephews and nieces is a treat. The writing is crisp, Jake’s voice is crystal clear, and the pacing is exactly right. One of the best romances I’ve read in a long time. Don’t miss it. 🙂

Sustained on Amazon and iBooks.