Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Cover Art: As Lie the Dead

With only six months left until release (July 27), it's finally time to show off the cover for the second Dreg City book, AS LIE THE DEAD.

Feast your eyes...


I absolutely adore it! The cross necklace and knife are back, and I love the color scheme. Plus, Phineas! He's the winged dude in the background. You haven't met him yet, but you will (and no, he's not an angel).

Monday, January 18, 2010

Writing Lessons Via Customer Complaint

I'll do a quick catch up post with some new, fun links here in a bit. But first, I need to vent about something.

So yesterday morning, I'm at the Retail day job and my store manager calls just to check in (he always does) and see how the day is going. After we chat, he says he forgot to mention something when he saw me yesterday--I had a customer complaint. Against me, specifically. And I knew exactly what he was talking about.

In seven and a half years with this Retail company, I've been witness to incidents that end up being reported to customer service by irate customers. And 99% of the time, the customer is irate of their own doing and we truly did do everything we could to appease/help them. Some people just love to bitch. But this is the first time I'd ever had a specific complaint about me.


I tell my manager I think I know what this is about, then proceed to tell him about a Customer who came in two Friday's ago. I remember it clearly, because I was so flabbergasted by this woman that I thought about it for hours afterward. I discussed it with both associates working with me that night, and we were all amazed and confused to be accused of giving "ghetto service" and that we shouldn't "treat people like that."

I still can't figure out what "ghetto service" means, but whatever.

I won't rehash the entire evening. Was the Customer treated badly? Absolutely not. Did she walk into the store and get ignored completely by all three of us? Absolutely not. Could we have been more attentive to her needs as she shopped? Yes, of course. We were doing some merchandise-related tasks that evening and were a little distracted by them, but we weren't hiding. And she wasn't there ten minutes before she told me she'd "never been so ignored in a COMPANY STORE before in my life." Er, huh?

Surprise Brain took over at that point. She wouldn't be more specific about her needs or how she thought she'd been ignored/received back service. She didn't accept any of my apologies (which were completely sincere because, hello, Surprise Brain goes on instinct here and doesn't lie). She said she'd been shopping at COMPANY STORES for years and had never received such terrible service. On her way out the door, she basically said the same thing to the associate who greeted her on her way in.

She left three very boggled people in her wake.

I had a funny feeling I'd hear from this lady again. And my store manager said, after I finished my accounting of events, that what I said was similar to what she said. But oh how perspective distorts things (this feels like it could be turned into a writing lesson, doesn't it?).

Everyone has the right to their opinion. If this Customer felt our service that night didn't meet her standards, fine. That didn't bother me at all. Upon reflection, I think we all (associates and the customer) could have done things differently in order to achieve a more positive outcome. We could have been more attentive to her needs; she could have been more specific about what she wanted from us (according to the email, she came in for a flower arrangement and wasn't assisted as she expected to be, but neither associate mentioned her asking them for help with flowers...what can you do?).

No, what pissed me off about her email is what I'll simply call WTF!. My first WTF! came at the beginning of her email, in which she felt the need to detail her career achievements (she's a doctor and a lawyer, apparently). She also felt the need to tell us how many homes she owned, that she has money, and that her father is a multi-millionaire.

Um, and? I don't give a flying fig if you're worth five bucks or five million, and I don't give a shit if you're a doctor, a lawyer, a star athlete, or the guy who changed my oil last week at Jiffy Lube. Everyone deserves the same amount of respect and consideration, and I don't alter my service standards based on your social status.

((Slight aside: to help a little bit, when I told another associate about the complaint and who was working with me, she said, "What? You're three of the nicest people who work here."))

Next WTF! item - "new employees." I'm assuming here she meant new to her, but in the context of the email, it sounded as if she meant new to the company. Which none of us are. But we are not only new, we are also "rude disrespectful employees."

WTF! item that really pissed me off to the point of being personally offended my own damned self - she felt the need to mention her race, and made comments that implied we assumed that because she was Jamaican/Puerto Rican we looked at her and assumed "I am on welfare and have NEVER been in a [redacted] store." (direct quote)

I do NOT like being accused of being racist. Not one fucking bit, and especially not in such a passive-aggressive manner. Do NOT put those kinds of words into my mouth or that ignorance in my heart. Because it only makes you look like a jerk.

Last WTF! item before the summation: she wants all three of us fired. Part of me feels as if I've reached a pinnacle in my retail career now that someone has requested me fired (I'm still unclear as to why, exactly, because she never does get around to being specific about our offensive actions against her). Don't worry, no one's getting fired over this.

So what have we learned today, class?

When you're writing a letter of complaint, be specific about what it is that occurred in the store. Note specific interactions or offenses, so that it can be understood by both parties what exactly went wrong. Do not include unnecessary backstory--it only clouds the issue at hand and has no relevance to what happened in the store. I have no way of knowing your entire life story when you enter the premises, so I cannot judge you by it (nor would I, even if I knew it). Do not make ignorant assumptions about why you felt you were treated as you were.

Because you know what assuming does.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Book Signing: By the Numbers


There I am at my first signing! To my right (the left side of the picture) is a nice sign with my picture and the book title, as well as a basket of salt water taffy that's sort of glared-out. The B&N staff was amazing and Wendy, the CRM, was just a joy. She was very happy with the books we moved that day, and said it's been selling well since it was released (yay!). I've already been invited back for Book Two!

Some numbers for you.

Books Signed/Purchased from Stock: 16

Books Signed that were Pre-Owned & Brought In: 3

Store Stock Signed/Stickered: 4

Books Signed to another Kelly: 1

Number of People who asked Where's the Bathroom: 1

Number of People who asked Did You Self-Publish: 1

Number of People Who'd Almost Bought it Before Christmas, But Didn't Because They Had to Budget for Other Gifts: 2

Number of Adorable Little Boys Who Asked (after being prompted by his mom) What It's Like to be a Real Writer: 1

Number of Awesome Conversations I had About Writing: 2

Amount of Time It Took for the B&N Staff to Devour the Basket of Candy I Brought Them: 2 Hours

Friday, January 08, 2010

Site Update and Free Short

I finally went in and did a few updates on my website, including links to "The Hoarder" and "Pride Before Fall," the two short stories serialized on Suvudu.com last fall. I added a link to AS LIE THE DEAD and updated the release date (I still had it listed as June, but it's July 27th). Hopefully I can add the cover art soon.

I also added a "missing scene" from THREE DAYS TO DEAD that hit me the other day. It's a short scene, about 1900 words, from Handler Gina Kismet's POV (y'all met her briefly at the end of THREE DAYS). The scene is (MINOR SPOILER!)set after Wyatt's capture by the Triads at Burger Palace.

You can find the scene here. Feel free to link to the story, but please do not repost the story itself anywhere else on the web.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Guest Blog and Appearance

Ack! I forgot to mention that I'm guest blogging over at Amberkatze's Book Blog about my 5 favorite Non-Urban Fantasy/Paranormal books for 2009. There's a giveaway involved, too!

Also, a reminder:

Barnes & Noble
340 Christiana Mall
Newark, DE 19702

1:00pm, Saturday January 9th!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Possessed Cat?

Thanks to Katiebabs at Babbling About Books, and More and her weekly WTFckery post for this video clip.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Two Quickies

THREE DAYS TO DEAD is a January Feature Book at the Barnes & Noble message boards for Science Fiction & Fantasy. Pop on over to discuss the book with other folks who've read it!

Also, a fellow AW Member and freelancer for BuddyHollywood.com, Alice Loweecey (who just signed a 3-book deal herself, go you!) has posted a review for THREE DAYS TO DEAD at the BuddyHollywood.com site. Thanks, Alice!

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Good, the Best and the Icky - 2010 So Far

Happy Near Year, all! Can't believe it's hear already. Wow.

2010 is only twelve hours old, and so far I can't figure out if it's been a Good New Year or a Bad One.

The Good: Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Ale gives me very interesting dreams, and one of those is getting written down for future use. My kitty came downstairs at some point during the night to eat a little on her own, and then snuggled up with me for the rest of the night

The Best: Thanks to the super-cool Nicole Peeler, I discovered that Charlaine Harris read THREE DAYS TO DEAD and blogged about it! Check it out! She called it "...a fast-paced adventure that rocks along to a very tense climax." Woot!

The Icky: Anya peed in my bed. While we were both sleeping in it. So yes, I have been doing laundry all morning. I'm not sure if the peeing is behavioral, or if it's because of her medications and she just goes before she can rouse herself and get to the litter box. Either way, eww.

I'm pretty sure I posted some 2009 goals at some point last January. I'll have to rustle them up and see how I did.