Happy Birthday to Me! Happy Contest to You!

    I only get to celebrate my birthday once every four years. When I was little this was very upsetting because well-meaning (read: stupid) adults would say things like, "So you don't have a birthday this year, do you?" I would turn, lip quivering, and look up at my mother for some sign that, yes, I would get presents and a cake. And all the adults would laugh.

    This is how chain-saw murderers are made.

    Fortunately, I managed to get through it without going altogether mental, though an incident with a really horrid Sunday school teacher pisses me off to this day. She forgot my birthday when the February birthdays were celebrated, and when I pointed this out she told me that since I didn't really have one it didn't matter. She lumped me in with March birthdays, and I was terribly upset. I was 5 at the time.

    As I got older, I really didn't care as much, though I do tend to celebrate the real ones. (Not this year because of my deadline.) If my birthday only comes every four years, I might as well make the most of it, right? Today is Leap Day and in honor of my special day — I turn 11 today, thanks very much for asking — I want to share something with one of you!

    And that something would be an ARC of Unlawful Contact.

    Given that we're only a month away from the release date, I thought I'd get rid of the extra ARC I have sitting here by sharing it with someone who hasn't read it already, someone perhaps who hasn't even posted on this blog out of fear of being eaten alive by blog aliens. So if you lurk or if you haven't already read the story — sorry FOPs, but then you get signed copies of the book — this is your chance.

    All you have to do is post, and your name will be entered into the hat. It's that easy. You may say flattering things if you choose or feign interest in Leap Day birthdays. That's all good and fine. But the winner will be chosen randomly. And all you have to do is freakin' post.

    I'll draw a winner on Sunday evening with the help of my son's fine fedora.

    Starting next week: "Pamela's Prison Diaries, or Goldilocks Goes to Jail."

    I'll share my hour-by-hour experience of being locked in the women's unit at the county jail, complete with my "arrest" mug shot. As Unlawful Contact grew out of my experiences covering prison issues, I thought it would be fun to share one of the inspirations behind the book — my own time behind bars.

    That's right. I'm so hardcore. I'm just Pammy from the block, but the block ain't some city street. It's D-Seg — that's Disciplinary Segregation for those of you who haven't done time. Actually, though I did get yelled at by one guard, I did not get thrown into isolation. But I digress...

    And because it's my birthday, I get to give myself a present, and here it is:

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