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I'm So Excited and I Just Can't Hide it!

Before I start, let's be honest. As soon as you read my title, that song I'm So Excited by the Pointer Sisters entered your head. Now it might be stuck there, looping over and over... and over. I get it. It happened to me as soon as I typed it and I've been singing the chorus of the 1982 mega dance hit for days.

But moving on, I really am excited to share some news with you. A morning phone call this week with my publisher -- the smart, lovely, and remarkable Terri Leidich of Boutique of Quality Books (BQB) -- really did fill my heart with a song. BQB is now contracting with ACX, a company that creates audio books. That's because BQB is having some newer titles produced! They include Watching the Water and its second/final part Seeking the Shore and have actually put out a call for voice auditions to play my characters. That's so wild and surreal for me to think about! Will my brave and beautiful Julianna sound the way she does when she talks to me in the middle of the night? Will the evil Leyton really speak like someone with a name that rhymes with Satan??!! And what, exactly, does such a voice even sound like? We'll find out over the next few months!

So, what else is happening these days? Well, earlier this month, I had the total joy of spending time with members from a couple of different book clubs that chose Watching the Water as an April read. Some really fun and lively ladies asked me if I planned to attend the Decatur Book Festival in Atlanta on Labor Day Weekend. Of course, I want to go -- it's all about books! Sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution newspaper, it's also a very big and popular event, so I took a deep breath and submitted an author's application to speak and sign books at it.

Every time I pursue such a thing, I envision a panel of judges passing around my paperwork with shared and confused expressions of who is this-ness and what'd she write-ness, but two days ago, I was notified that I've been included as an emerging writer and will get three to seven glorious minutes to speak about my books. The timing of this festival is really good, too, since it will be held just weeks before Part 2 Seeking the Shore is nationally released. That's close enough for my publisher to arrange for me to take advance copies along to the festival.

Next week, I'll be attending the large and jam-packed-with-fabulousness Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Atlanta. On Saturday, May 6, I'll be at their FAN-tastic Day Party as an author, where I'll have the opportunity to connect with readers and hand out "swag bags" encouraging them to give my book a look. I hope, hope, hope they will! Per coordinator suggestions, I've ordered a small push cart to put my swag in so I can easily transport it around -- so I'm even more excited knowing that I won't have to lug it along in a tote bag making strap impressions into my shoulder. Plus, my middle initial "G" doesn't stand for graceful, so I was taunted by a mental image of myself managing a heavy shoulder tote as I walked with a gait of shifting lopsidedness. First impressions and all that.

Right now, I'm having a blast putting those goody bags together! Below is a photo of the chocolate pieces I'm including, but they won't be delivered to me until I'm ready to tie those bags up with ribbon. That's a security measure to make sure there will be chocolates left to include. I'm just looking out for my potential readers and protecting their edible treats from me. True story.

Chocolate for my swag bags!

I'm really thankful to be taking part in this. As a late registrant for the convention, I didn't think I would be eligible to participate as an author at the Fan-tastic Day Party, but they graciously added me just days before the promotional materials were produced and released. I guess you could say I'm making it in through the cat door!

In other new news, I'm now officially a member of Romance Writers of America and the Georgia Romance Writers. Taking another deep breath, I entered Watching the Water in GWA's 2017 Maggie Award for Excellence competition. Because it's set during the 1930's, it's been entered in the historical romance category. Finalists will be notified in June and winners will be announced at their Moonlight and Magnolias conference September 28-October 1.

Last but not least, I was really honored that my sorority, Phi Mu, requested a copy of Watching the Water to place in their library at our national headquarters. I have a lot of published sisters and am so happy to join them in this library, which is operated by our Historical Preservation committee. It blows my mind to realize that Who-the-Heck-is-Donna-Morton shares shelf space with fellow Phi Mu's Kathryn Stockett (The Help) and Joyce Carol Oates (We Were the Mulvaneys and many other works). I mean, YAY. Seriously, ever since I was a college girl and learned that my sorority has this library, I'd been dreaming of the day I could donate a book to them -- so this feels like a personal big deal.

As we head into the merry month of May, I hope all the moms are properly honored on Mother's Day. If your mother is one who likes to read, please consider taking her to another time and place with a copy of Watching the Water. If you're a mom who likes to read, please consider having your kids take you to another time and place. If you (or they) order it through my publisher, it's now 20 percent off in celebration of mothers and like-mothers everywhere. Readers tell me it would make a good summer read, so feel free to take it to the beach or to the hammock in your back yard! I just really hope you'll pick it up and that you'll enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.

As always, I thank everyone for their support. And in case it really did get stuck in your brain's replay mode, I do hope hearing I'm So Excited has carried you back through some good memories. (It returned me to disco balls, Danskin dresses and dazzle dust.) It really is a great song and I wish you many reasons to sing that title in your own life.

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