Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Picking a Date

Not so unlike picking the date for a wedding, for a vacation, or any other momentous occasion, picking the date for releasing your first novel is filled with excitement (and well, also some anxiousness). Yesterday, I buckled down and decided that June 29, 2012, will be the release date for my novel, The Wild Wood. This book has been a great love of mine; has been edited, chopped, and rewritten more than anything else I’ve written; and has delightfully connected with my readers (who are a very tough bunch). Upon hearing that I was going to publish The Wild Wood, one of my readers said, “Now do we get the sequel?!” My answer, “Yup.”

That is one of the best parts of deciding to self-publish. We all know the adage that if we don’t get an agent and sell the first book, it is a waste of time to write sequels. But I love sequels and series and the complicated confluence of events that happens when we pull back and look at the rest of the story. Series are wonderful because other than a little reminding, we get to move forward and tell different tales, while including known characters. We have a shared history with our readers of the places we’ve been together. I love it.

I am almost finished with the second book and more than any other book I’ve written, it has surprised me and challenged me. It took me places I hadn’t dreamed it would and made me suffer with my characters when saying, “How come you took me here? I want to go somewhere shinier with lots of unicorns and rainbows.” Yes, no one ever wrote a book that is peaceful and happy on every page. Even Winnie the Pooh had his problems.

So, more excited than nervous, I move toward June 29, 2012, and all the adventure that will bring. I hope you will stay tuned for the journey, including the book trailer that will be arriving probably within a month. And if you are considering self-publishing, I say go for it. After years of querying, getting within a breath of having an agent, seeing others moving forward, seeing the publishing industry falter, seeing the rise in self-publishing opportunities (some who even sell film rights and get awesome traditional publishing deals), working with constant dedication to improving my craft, it’s just time to move forward. I hope you join me.

Quote for the Day from Mark Twain

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When Authors Respond: A Love Story

Obviously, to any reader or writer, authors play a magical role in delivering words that challenge the limits of imaginations. Authors are our super heroes and we revere with gusto. Okay, so we also occasionally malign them for depriving us of books for much too long, but love and appreciation for their work is at the core of even our consternation. Sometimes, even better than the next book is when they respond to our emails or letters. There is very little as thrilling as the feeling that the world isn’t really that huge, that our heroes aren’t behind an impenetrable veil. I smile when thinking about an author response that led to a back and forth email conversation about German poets and poetry with Maggie Stiefvater (the author of Shiver, one of my favorite books).

I’ve been reading quite a bit of nonfiction lately, delighting in the knowledge about the world I am finding through the written word, supplemented by watching a few television shows dedicated to discussing the world beyond our borders. One of the authors whose work I am reading didn’t have the chance to finish a sentence because of commercial breaks and an awkward segue, and for two weeks I wondered what lay beyond the closed door of an unfinished statement. So, feeling very nervous, I wrote an email to my intellectual hero of the month, a man who speaks more than one language and understands cultural diversity and politics of a country I am interested in learning much more about. I was prepared for the fact that he might be too busy, or that he might think the answer to my question rests in one of his published books. If I’d never heard back, I still would have thought as highly of him, but after just a few hours, his response was in my mailbox and I was doing the happy dance. As a person with a bit too much need for closure, knowing what he would have said if he’d been given the chance was thrilling. And the fact that his answer made me think, even better. The author’s name is Hooman Majd and he is a class act... and a darn fine writer too.

Quote for the Day from Henry David Thoreau

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eye for an instant?”