Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sandy Appleyard - The Wife of a Lesser Man is in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Sandy Appleyard. She is a romantic mystery writer.

This blog is sponsored by the Buy The Book Tour.

Today's Featured Book is

The Wife of a Lesser Man

Author: Sandy Appleyard

Book Trailer: The Wife of a Lesser Man

Print Book

They were deeply in love, their days and nights filled with scintillating romance and passionate love making—even after 20 years of marriage. Then fate delivered a hammer blow when a heart attack led to Mark’s impotency and Shelley’s unbearable frustration. Encouraged by a friend, Shelley becomes flirtatious and unfaithful, finding those moments of glorious intimacy for which she hungered with another man. Mark, a police chief, suspects nothing as he channels all his time and energy into tracking down a serial killer. But when the murderer leaves a terrifying final clue too close to home, only Shelley can solve the case.

Present Day

I stood and listened, waiting to hear anything that would tell me he was alive. I was standing in the vestibule between the waiting room and the emergency room. My ear was pressed up against the metal doors, which left only a small opening so that I could eavesdrop. My hands supported my weight; fingers spread out, knuckles white. My heart was racing, I felt like I would throw up at any second, and an incessant shiver coursed through my body. Yes, people were staring at me. But I was sure no one had just arrived with their husband showing no vital signs.

“Nurse! Get the paddles! We’re losing him again!”


A bang and a strange noise, then silence.

“Again!” “Clear!” The same strange noise and more silence.

My tears began to flow. More people stared at me.

“Excuse me, Ma’am? Maybe you would be more comfortable waiting in the private room?” I heard her voice off in the distance, but I ignored it. I was waiting for the next words from the doctor.

“Ma’am? Mrs. Tame?” I looked at her but her words didn’t register.

She put her arm around my shoulder, like we were old high school chums. Her voice was comforting but firm, like when my mother used to know that I was sick and insisted I take my medicine. “Come with me, Mrs. Tame; you’ll be more comfortable in another room”. She took one step but I didn’t follow. My feet stayed firmly planted on the floor.

“Please Ma’am, you shouldn’t be here. You need to come with me.” Her voice was unrelenting. Her hand grasped my side but I broke free.

“No! You cannot take me away! I need to know!” I was yelling.

“We will update you as soon as we hear anything Ma’am, I promise.” Her words became comforting again.

“No! I’m staying right here! My husband is right in there! I’m not leaving this spot until I know!” I yelled, pointing at my feet. My tears and blubbering barely made my words understandable.

The nurse’s name tag read “Lilly”. She was plump and looked like she could restrain me if I made trouble. Lilly looked around the room, duly noting all the faces staring at me. Her point proven, she attempted once more to remove me from the door. I relented.

As we walked to the ‘private room’, Lilly picked up a tissue out of a nearby box and handed it to me. The one-ply tissue came apart the second I dabbed my eyes. Thank god I didn’t wipe my nose with it. I used the cuff of my jacket for that. The corridor that she led us down was a comforting reminder of the hospital where our kids were born. Jessica was born nineteen years ago, when I was just twenty years old. She was unexpected, or a ‘surprise’ as everyone called it. Mark and I were not engaged but we were living together and so in love.

Jennifer, our baby, was another ‘surprise’, born just a year later. The hospital where I gave birth had a unique weave pattern on the wall covering, just like this one. I ran my fingers down it as I walked, feeling the texture. It brought me back to a place where we were all healthy and celebrating new beginnings. I realized just then how much I missed my kids; they were off at college. I was alone. The thought of being alone the rest of my life was terrifying.

I willed myself not to think about it. Mark was still alive; he had to be. He was being pushed too hard down at the station; he was the police chief for his precinct over the last fifteen years and it was finally too much. The doctor had repeatedly warned him that his blood pressure and cholesterol were really high. The cardiologist put him on a strict diet and exercise program and insisted that he reduce his work hours. That was six months ago. But Mark has always been very devoted and loyal, and most of the time he spread himself too thin.

Lilly opened the door to the private room, switched on the light and gestured I should take a seat. There was a comfortable looking three seated couch on one wall, and several other waiting room style chairs along the other walls. Right in the middle of the room stood a large coffee table lined with various magazines ranging from tabloids to medical journals. There was also a phone at the end of the table. Lilly indicated that I was welcome to use that phone if I needed to do so.

I sat on the couch and immediately began chewing my nails.

“Can I get you anything Mrs. Tame?” she asked, taking a small pad and pen out of her pocket.

“Shelley,” I offered.

“Sure. Can I call anyone for you Shelley?” She asked, leaning over me, placing her hand on my shoulder.

I whispered “Um….no, I, I’m going to call my kids.”

She nodded and was about to leave when I quickly raised my head “Just please let me know the minute you have any news of my husband,” I begged, unable to stop the tears.

She nodded and closed the door behind her.

For a moment I wished Lilly would return, so I wouldn’t be alone. I slowly rubbed my face and ran my fingers through my hair. I found a box of two-ply tissues underneath the coffee table. They give the better tissues to the people who really needed it, I thought to myself. I wiped my face and blew my nose then picked up the phone. My memory failed me; I couldn’t remember Jessica’s dorm room number. She had just received a new one the other day and I hadn’t recorded it in my cell phone. I knew Jennifer couldn’t handle what was happening to her father; she had just broken up with her first boyfriend, so I thought it best to wait.

The one number I could recall was Sarah’s; my best friend since high school. She introduced Mark and me, and owned a small costume jewellery store downtown. Since it was only eight o’clock and I knew she would still be at the store, I tried her there.

“Good evening Sarah’s,” she greeted cheerfully.

“It’s me,” I said, trying to stifle a sniffle.

Sarah’s voice turned serious “Hey….is everything okay?”

“No, it’s Mark.” I began to cry again.

I could hear keys jiggling in the background “Where are you?”

“The hospital….in the private room.”

“Jesus Christ. Sit tight, I’m on my way.”

If only Mark had used our home library more in the past year, instead of cooping himself up in that office. Speaking from experience, I know that he could never get a moment’s peace in there. So many times I would call or even stop by on my way home from work, and he would be bombarded by handfuls of people constantly. It came to a point where I had to stop myself from visiting because it was unfair to him with all the pressure that he was under. He was considered a man of integrity and respect at the station, so nobody ever second guessed him and they always looked to him for direction. Mark was a strong leader at his precinct long before he made chief of police. The look on everyone’s faces told me that title was just a formality. He earned his loyalty after the shootout.

God, I’d almost forgotten about that. Mark is such a modest man that he never mentions it. It happened about ten years ago. His name was James Gruber, and he was a convicted rapist and murderer who had served his time and was free on parole. He escaped his parole officer’s watch one night and attacked an entire family. It was all over the news. Gruber was in the area of Mark’s precinct and so all hands were on deck to catch this monster. The 911 call came from a neighbour who heard screaming at 2am. Based on Gruber’s past, Mark knew he would go for the wife first. He was no pedophile, so rather than play Gruber’s game; Mark created a diversion and got the wife out first. As the rest of the team got in to free the remaining family, Mark took Gruber head on. Gruber was shot and Mark earned his rightful place shortly after as Chief of Police.

He always took his role very seriously. Sometimes I wonder how he did it. Up until a year ago, Mark had no trouble balancing family and work. Myself, well, my teaching job quickly became permanent part time after the girls were born. My balancing act was never much of a challenge. Our children have always been such a blessing; they never gave us any trouble. There was the expected teenage drama but nothing else. It was easy for me to work part time and still look after the house and the kids. Mark’s salary and mine combined led us into what most would call a charmed life.

Was this what my life would be now? Sitting alone in a room without my kids or my husband? My tears began to flow again when the door opened. It was Lilly, with Sarah in tow. Sarah came to me as Lily closed the door and left the room.

I tried to stand but it was more of a stumble since my knees had turned to jelly.

“Oh my god! What happened?” Sarah asked as she hugged me.

“I don’t know. I was just on my way home from yoga when he called me.” I said, wiping my nose with my hand.

“He sounded weird and said I better come home, that he wasn’t feeling well. And you know Mark, he never complains, so I knew it was bad.”

“So did you make it home before the ambulance came?”

“Well yeah. I mean I was already almost on our street. He hadn’t even called the ambulance yet. When I walked in he was on the floor”

Sarah embraced me tenderly.

“He wanted to call me first before the ambulance. I don’t know why. I guess he didn’t want me to worry if I got home and saw the scene without knowing. God! Why didn’t he just call the ambulance instead of waiting for me?” I stomped my foot in frustation as I let out a large sob.

“Oh sweetie, if he wasn’t well, then he probably wasn’t thinking clearly. Was he fine when you left for yoga?”

“Well, I didn’t see him before that. We spoke earlier and he said he had to work late again so I went straight to yoga after dinner. I didn’t wait to see him.” I said, thinking how selfish I was. I should have waited to see him before leaving. But how was I to know it might be the last time I would see him coherent?

“Oh honey, honey, don’t blame yourself.” Sarah rubbed my back and shook her head.

“You are not psychic. You had no idea this was going to happen. You said yourself; Mark never complains.”

I nodded.

“So what do the doctors say?”

“I’ve no idea, I’m still waiting. I…I….kn..know his heart stop-“My sobbing wouldn’t allow me to finish my sentence. Sarah took me in her arms once again.

“Do you need to call anyone?” Sarah asked.

I sniffled and dabbed my eyes “Oh God, how am I going to tell the kids?”

“You don’t have to do that. That’s why I’m here.”

“Oh, I can’t let you do that. They should hear it from me.”

“Well, let’s at least wait until we hear something. I mean, either way, you don’t want to spread panic.”

“You’re right. I need some time to compose myself.”

Suddenly, Lilly walked in with a blank expression on her face. My heart sank and I felt everything in my body let go. Sarah grabbed my arm before I hit the ground. The world went black.

Author Genre: Romantic Suspense

Website: Sandy Appleyard - Author of Memoirs, Humour and Fiction
Blog: Google +
Twitter: @sandyappleyard
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
LinkedIn: Check Out LinkedIn
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description: Sandy began writing at age 15, starting with poetry and short stories. Her non-fiction interest was first discovered during her maternity leave in 2006. "The Message in Dad's Bottle" was self published in September 2010, and "I'll Never Wear a Backless Dress" was self published in April 2012. Her third book "Just When I Needed to Laugh" is a light hearted comedy about her children. See her blog of the same name for tidbits from that book. Sandy's first novel "Blessed and Betrayed" was complete in December 2011, and can now be found here on Goodreads. Her second novel was complete in July 2012 entitled "The Wife of a Lesser Man". That book will be available on Goodreads. Sandy has completed the sequel to "The Wife of a Lesser Man" and begun a new manuscript that will be different from her romantic mysteries.

SHOWCASE Questions and Answers with the Author

Do you have another book on the horizon? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

As a matter of fact I do. The sequel to ‘The Wife of a Lesser Man’ is complete. It still needs editing and beta reading, but I hope to release it in the fall or winter of this year. You want a tease? Well, if you loved Mark as the hero in the first book, you’ll love the second one. This time it’s his daughter that’s in danger. There are still lots of twists in the story, but ultimately Jessica is the victim and it’s a race between Mark and her boyfriend Michael to save her.

You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?

If it weren’t for Twitter, I wouldn’t have connected with my writing coach, editor, beta readers and a whole slew of other important people who saw me through my writing experience in the past year. I also owe a lot of gratitude to LinkedIn and Google+, without those sites I don’t know where I would be.

Do you do book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

I confess I haven’t done a book signing in quite a while. In keeping up with writing and promoting, it leaves little time for appearances. However I do plan on booking a few for the summer. I usually place info for book signings on my website , on my Facebook page and on Goodreads

Let’s talk about book covers. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

For this book I wanted to pull out all the stops, so I hired a wonderful cover designer (Kit Foster Designs: and answered a few basic questions. He provided drafts for me to review and I chose one I liked, had him make a few minor changes and voila! I did get my readers involved in the process by voting on which one they liked best and doing a draw for participants via my Facebook page. It was fun! I’ll be doing that indefinitely.

You have a great book trailer. (See links below.) Do you know how much impact they have had on your book’s success? Tell us about the process that you used to create your trailers? They look very professional. Do you use the trailer in your character development? Are the pictures and background the way you see your characters and scenes?

This was my first time using a book trailer, and I’m proud to say I created it myself. The blog post I did following its release outlined how I did it. That post has been one of the most popular on my site to date. Here’s the link if anyone is interested in viewing it:

Out of every item in the writing process, making a book trailer was the most fun. I’ll be doing that indefinitely as well. The pictures and scenes are as close to how my mind’s eye sees the characters and story. I love the background music, too, it depicts mystery/suspense just the way the book does. Loved every minute of it!

What kinds of writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I’m involved with several writer support groups, including one I created myself on LinkedIn. Support groups are helpful as long as you don’t involve yourself in one that is simply for self-promotion. Many of them have turned into that and it takes away from the overall purpose.

The ones I find most helpful are those on Google+ and LinkedIn. A few months ago I received some very valuable input from another author who has been writing since before I was born, under a pen name, and she was more than happy to help me through a tough process. I can’t thank her enough, as well as the other authors who have helped me.

Twitter is also helpful for getting you through tough times. I recently received a bad review and tweeted about it. A few of my ‘tweople’ chimed in and got the review bumped down so it was less visible. Its stuff like that that makes social media so worthwhile.

Between your book writing, blogging, marketing, family and all the other things that can get in your way, how do you manage your time? Do you have a set schedule or do your sort of play it by ear?

My children generally are my schedule. I try to pack as many things I can between the times they board their school bus in the morning, to the time they disembark. Regular scheduling isn’t something I do often, but I do try to stay off the internet sometimes so I can focus on writing.

Taking notes on my cell phone helps. I’ll wait until the kids go to bed and key the blog or book idea in then. I read every night and take a book with me everywhere I go so I can keep up, since I do regular book reviews and find reading really enriches my writing abilities.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

I do book giveaways all the time via draws on my Facebook page, Goodreads and KDP Select free promotion days. They generally create some interest in my work, but as far as impacting sales, I haven’t seen much of that yet. For my last book I received some great reviews from my giveaways, so perhaps the benefits aren’t necessarily monetary.

Have you ever done a book tour? If so, did it contribute to the success of your book sales?

No, I’ve never done a book tour. In fact, this is my first blog tour. I’d love to do an actual book tour one day, but for now I’ll stick to blog tours and social media.

Being a self-publisher myself, I have to ask this question. How does doing everything yourself work out? Do you outsource much of the process?

My first book was published by a subsidy or vanity publisher. Aside from that, I’ve outsourced editing and book cover design (and now blog tours). Everything else has been my doing. I’m sure you’ve heard this before: it’s very challenging. There are days where I wonder if I’m doing it all wrong and other days where I feel on top of the world. Self-publishing has its benefits and pitfalls, but the thing I love is the writing; that’s what drives me to keep going.

Author's Book List
Blessed and Betrayed
Victoria’s life is a jigsaw puzzle. Her nightmares, unfeeling mother and a secret picture of her sister, are the puzzle pieces. The ghost of her nanny and her best friend begin to help her put the puzzle together. A near fatal accident reveals one of the missing pieces, but will Victoria solve the puzzle in time? Blessed with the love of her life and betrayed by the secrets of her past, Victoria finds herself torn. Blessed and Betrayed is an unforgettable novel about unexpected love, forgiveness and letting the past shape, not dictate your future.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
I'll Never Wear a Backless Dress - A memoir on living with a deformity
Diagnosed with Scoliosis at age twenty three, there was little doctors could do to help her. She was faced with daily discomfort or pain, fear, and not knowing what future complications the medical condition would bring. The author illustrates to the reader what the last twelve years have brought her in dealing with her deformity. Against the perceived odds; she started a career, birthed two children, went through several specialists, clinics and therapists, wrote two books and fought for disability. This book was written for anyone who is challenged with daily pain, and would like some help emotionally with how to make the best out of life despite it.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
The Message in Dad's Bottle
My father was an alcoholic all his adult life, and the disease took his life at the age of forty-one. When I was ten years old, I became exposed to alcoholism. This book describes what I saw, my reactions to it, and how each situation made me feel. Most importantly, this book illustrates how these factors shaped who I am today. It also focuses on the experiences of others in my life and how each coped with their own alcoholic family member. Included in this section is helpful advice from each person to those who may also be touched by alcoholism. I also share with the reader some of my poems that I have written to help me deal with my past and explain the significance of each.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble

Author Recommended by: Buy The Book Tours
This blog is sponsored by the Buy The Book Tours created by Christine Warner and Florence Price. They specialize in tours for a varied mix of genres with packages and prices just right for any author's budget.

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