We’re excited to introduce you to Terry Shames, whose bestselling debut, A KILLING ON COTTON HILL, came out last year to great acclaim. Her second novel, THE LAST DEATH OF JACK HARBIN just launched and we’re hearing the buzz big time. Woohoo!
Terry’s books are set in small-town Texas and feature ex-chief of police Samuel Craddock. In The Last Death of Jack Harbin, the chief of police is out of commission, and it’s up to trusted ex-chief Samuel Craddock to investigate the brutal murder of a Gulf War veteran who was a former high school football star. Craddock uncovers a dark tale of greed and jealousy that extends into the past, and well beyond the borders of the small town of Jarrett Creek.
Terry has offered to send a copy of The Last Death of Jack Harbin to one lucky commenter; details at the end of this post!
Terry had a crash course in book promotion when her debut novel launched, and, of course, we wanted to hear all about it. Welcome, Terry!
When my debut novel came out last summer, I was determined to pull out all the stops to be sure people knew about it. I had heard numerous times that promotion was hard work, and I heard right. I sometimes felt like I was chasing my tail doing promotions. But part of me is very social, and I love organizing things, so I was in my element–going to conferences; setting up book signings; putting together a mailing list and using it; and getting in touch with old friends. I wrote guest blogs, articles, and interviews. I was on a roll. And then I noticed something odd. I got a little rash at the nape of my neck. If I concentrated, I could make myself not scratch it, but sometimes it woke me up at night.
I was having fun, so I didn’t pay much attention to that little annoyance. I did notice that sometimes I felt a little antsy because I wasn’t getting any writing done, but I figured I’d get back to that soon. I was lucky. My second book was already written and had sailed through the editorial process, so I wasn’t up against a deadline. I kept at the promo. But then the itch got worse. I felt like some Dickensian character with head lice. So I went to my dermatologist and he said, “Oh, it’s just (insert long name meaning an itchy spot).” He gave me a prescription and sent me on my way.
And then a little spot on my back started itching. And a day later a spot on my elbow. Finally I went to my guru of last resort—my husband. What is this? Why am I itching? He looked at it carefully. “It’s stress related,” he said.
What?!! Me? Stressed? No Way! I’m tough. I’m happy. I’m relaxed. Okay … maybe I’m a little, tiny bit stressed.
I had received an email from author Attica Locke right after I got my contract. She was thrilled for me, but she warned, “Be careful. Take care of yourself. No matter how wonderful the experience is, it’s really stressful.”
In a heart-to-heart talk with myself, I admitted she was right. For the past few months I had been flogging myself every day to keep going until the day ended. The only time I went outside was to go to the gym or the grocery store. I found myself sometimes stepping outside and thinking, “The weather is gorgeous. Why have I been inside all day long?” Sure, the work was getting done, but I was less and less happy with all those little details—and more and more stressed.
I’m no martyr. I knew it was time to let go of some of the details. Time to relax. I set out to remember what I chose to do when I wanted to do something nice for myself. (Preferably something that didn’t involve large amounts of chocolate.) Since then I try to get out and do something fun every week. I poke around in an interesting shop, go to an art museum, go out to breakfast with a friend, and sometimes I just read!
Oh, yeah, as soon as I did that that rash went away.
So, tell us about a time your body let you know you were stressed out. What did you do to alleviate the stress?
GIVEAWAY! Comment on this post by noon EST on Friday, January 24th, and you’ll be entered to win a copy of The Last Death of Jack Harbin. Follow The Debutante Ball on Facebook and Twitter for extra entries—just mention that you did so in your comments. We’ll choose and contact the winner on Friday. Good luck!
Terry Shames lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two rowdy terriers. She is Vice President of Norcal Sisters in Crime and on the board of MWA Norcal. For more information, please visit her website: www.Terryshames.com.