Welcome to my official website. Here you will find information about me and my books, along with upcoming news.

Friday, September 1, 2017

September Book Sale & Signed Books

September is my time to celebrate, so all this month I'm offering paperback and hardcover copies of my novel, Black Tree, for 40% off at this link (you can still buy it from the other major booksellers, as well, but the sale is only from here).

And if you live in the state, I'd also like to point out where you can go to buy signed copies. About an hour and a half north of the Phoenix area and forty minutes south of Sedona, there is a wonderful antique store by the name of Sweet Pea Antiques. It's right on 260 in Camp Verde, just a couple minutes off of the 17--and right in the exact center of the state. So if you're traveling north or south, to state parks or museums or camping spots or anywhere else, the shop is likely not far out of the way. I have both hardcover and paperbacks there, and they're all signed; you can even pick up a free bookmark to go along with your book. I'm also selling handmade greeting cards: birthday cards, thank you cards, congratulations cards (and maybe some Halloween cards coming up).

Need some extra persuasion? Click here to read the first chapter and get a sample of my writing style.

Have a great Labor Day weekend.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Independence Day Sale

Fourth of July is almost here, and you know what that means: it's time for another book sale. Get yourself or a friend a little summer reading.

Paperback and hardcover copies of Black Tree are 30% off at this link only. Enjoy.

The sale will continue through Tuesday. And though the sale is only at the above link, remember that you can always buy Black Tree from the other major retailers if you prefer.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Pictorial Look at Black Tree - VII.III

Black Tree's third narrator, Julia, lives in Prescott, and chapter seven finds her at Courthouse Square. The Square is like its own park: there is grass and the large trees keep it shaded even in summer (though Prescott generally stays reasonably cool--or at least not unreasonably hot). There are benches and tables. Plenty of people bring their dogs out for a walk here; others just stroll around to enjoy the day. Surrounding the Square are various shops, a few restaurants and bars, and of course the antique stores.

These first picture are from April 2012. The trees are starting to grow back their leaves after the winter.

A look toward the northern edge. You can see a few of the stores there, including Bashford Courts (the tall white building), where I buy raw shea butter. 

This is the northeast corner, looking diagonally across to some of the historic buildings (the surrounding builds are part of what make the Square so nice to visit). If you continue up the street, you come into Antique Row, where in the book Julia has her antique store. I based the layout of her store on a couple of different ones combined.

There are a couple of different memorial statues around the Square.

Another view of the Courthouse, which sits right in the middle.

And here is the Prescott "P" up on its hill. This picture implies that Prescott is much more rural and flat than it really is. In reality, though, Prescott is not at all flat, given that it's in a somewhat piney region. And while it is not a big city, I wouldn't call it a small town, either. 

As a bonus, here are a couple of pictures from December 2012 showing some of the Square's Christmas lights. I don't think that any of it shows in these images, but there was still some snow on the ground in places from a recent snowfall. Prescott gets cold winters, with plenty of wind and ice and definitely some snow. 

You can get an idea from all of these lights that Prescott is big about decorating. Mt. Vernon St. (the place of historic Victorian homes, where Julia lives) is just a couple of streets away from the Square. Everyone there decorates on a grand scale for such holidays as Halloween and Christmas. Hence Julia's feeling of obligation (later in the book) to put up her Christmas lights even when she was not in the mood to celebrate. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memorial Day Sale

I'm starting the Memorial Day Sale early, and you're the first to find out. You can currently get paperback and hardcover copies of Black Tree for 30% off at this link. It's a good time to start stocking up on summer reading.

The sale will continue through Monday. And if you're still undecided, click here to read the first chapter before you buy the whole book.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Black Tree Visiting the Libraries

One of the things that I know as a reader is that you often find the books that speak to you most in the smallest places. This is why it's important to not just read newly published books, and the reason why used bookstores can be so valuable. It's in random places that we make discoveries. Someone bought A Walk Between Heaven and Earth for me at a yard sale, for instance, and that book turned out to heavily influence how I approach writing. And I just posted on my blog yesterday my reaction to Alma Snell's autobiography, Grandmother's Grandchild, which was a book that I greatly enjoyed and happened to have found at an antique store.

It's with this idea of sharing books that people started putting together Little Free Libraries (with the give one, take one style). So it occurred to me that this might be a place where I can share my book. Maybe the first person to find it won't love it. Maybe they will. Either way, they will hopefully pass it on, and it can reach even more people this way. It's just a small bit of sharing, but I like the idea of it. I started with leaving one in Phoenix and one in Scottsdale. I would like to put out at least a couple of more in this way, but I didn't want to be too pushy, so I've been waiting a bit. Soon, though.

If you come across Black Tree at one of the Little Free Libraries around Phoenix or even elsewhere, I hope you enjoy this experience of quiet book sharing.

And if you're more into traditional libraries, I believe the Sedona Library has a copy. I haven't brought it to any of the libraries here yet.

One more small piece of news: you can also find Black Tree listed on the Alumni Publications page for ASU's Department of English (click here for the link). Obviously you don't need to find it there if you're already here, yet it's still fun to see it there with all of the other recent publications. The ASU alumni (and faculty) certainly keep busy with writing.

As always, click here to buy Black Tree. It's also available from the usual online retailers, if you prefer: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and iTunes.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April Book Sale

I just realized that I haven't posted here in a while (you can catch me more regularly on my blog), and I also haven't done a book sale in a while. That means it's time for something special.

For this month, you can get paperback and hardcover editions of Black Tree for 40% off at this link. This is the biggest discount I've done so far, so you'll want to take this opportunity if you've been considering getting my book. The sale will continue through the end of the month. Sorry, it doesn't apply to the digital edition.

Happy reading, everyone.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Pictorial Look at Black Tree - V.II, VI.II

Black Canyon City is a small town roughly twenty minutes above the Phoenix area. During drives between Phoenix and the Verde Valley, I always loved to look out at the changing landscape, so it was natural for Julia to describe this land in a couple of places, as well. Because she gives the names or at the least the general area of each place, it's easy to tell which location she is in. But did you catch all of the locations that Abigail described?

For instance, in V.II, Abigail reaches a place with "an obelisk of raw earth and rock that grew up from a sloping platform" (89). She gives no name to this place because Abigail isn't in our time, but the place that I was describing was Black Canyon City, a little spot along the highway that has always caught my eye. There are so many shapes and colors and textures to look at. Here you can see a couple of pictures I took from the car on a cloudy day this past December.

I have one more view to share with you today. In VI.II, Abigail gives a rather bloody description of the redness of a Central-to-Southern Arizona sunset. I guess you could say I took a beautiful thing and gave it a touch of the grotesque--but Abigail's description is thematic and by way of theme returns to beauty. Here we have a glimpse of a Phoenix sunset's notorious bright orange, taken a couple of weeks ago at the Desert Botanical Garden. It's a rather dark picture for a sunset shot, perhaps, but that goes well with the darkness of Abigail's description, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Award Coin & New Merchandise

Remember the Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition, in which I was a runner-up with Black Tree? Well, the award coins have come in, and my coin is particularly excited to be home. I've set it up on top of my display copy of the book.

Once again, I'd like to say that it's nice to get outside acknowledgement that I created something worthwhile. It's a pleasure to have individuals say that they liked your book, but it's an even further honor to have any kind of recognition from a bigger group or organization.

I'm also taking this moment to make an announcement. I've opened up a store on Zazzle where you can buy Black Tree merchandise. Shirts, tote bags, stickers, mugs, that sort of thing. Definitely let me know if you have ideas for other products or designs, or if there is maybe a quote you'd like me to use in a design. The link to the store is www.zazzle.com/deannaskaggs.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Pictorial Look at Black Tree - IV.I

As you'll know if you also read my blog, I've been busy moving down to the Phoenix area, hence my lack of attention toward such Internet things as this collection of pictures. But I am back now, and today I'm sharing what will pretty much be the only pictures representing the location of the first narrator in Black Tree.

I based her setting on the coast of California near Cambria, where I stayed back in 2009 while visiting the nearby Hearst Castle. The castle is a beautiful collection of artwork and architecture, yet I was as much taken by the tiny town of Cambria and the cold, rugged beach.

I intentionally never mentioned California in the book because at first I wasn't sure if I wanted these scenes to take place in California or to simply be inspired by the location. Now I simply prefer a more open-ended possibility. Maybe it's California; maybe it isn't. Maybe it's California during a time when there is no distinction between California and Arizona.

You might perhaps think, from the way that I wrote about this place, that I hated it. On the contrary, I loved it, and that's why I simply had to write about it in one way or another. 

I was used to the Southern California beaches with yellow sand, calmer and bluer waves, and sun behind the clouds. This beach was darker in all colors, with less sand and many rough, black rocks. 

The wind whipped about, and I walked around in knee-length shorts and a jacket, imagining myself a sailor on this rugged ocean. 

I took that idea of contrast from the familiar and I used that to describe such a cold and wet oceanside. From there, the contrast grew into straight shock and dislike; my narrator rejected the cold and the wet because it was different from what she knew. Ironic that it was my fascination that fueled her hatred.