The story of The Nothing begins with an OH MY GOD phone call. The kind of call that steals your breath and makes your knees go weak, but in the good way.
I had workshopped Between on the Book Country site and an editor was interested. Would I mind if she read the full?
I didn’t mind. And when Penguin acquired the first two books of the Between trilogy I was starry-eyed and elated. Finally! After all of the years of writing and revising and submitting and stacking up rejections, I was about to be a published author. Everything was rose colored and amazing. My optimism knew no bounds. I harbored secret dreams of bestseller status and author tours and all sorts of fun and excitement for my future authorial self.
Things didn’t exactly turn out that way. Between launched, followed by Wakeworld. Some readers loved them. A few hated them. But they certainly never went viral and in the end, Penguin opted not to complete the series with the third book, The Nothing.
I will confess to a little spell of self pity and devastation. It crossed my mind (briefly) to stop writing books. But what would I do if I didn’t write? I’d become a bitch, that’s what. Make that a capital B. Just ask the people who live with me. I have to write. And obviously I was going to complete the trilogy because I couldn’t just leave Vivian and Zee and Poe and Weston hanging out in an eternal limbo. So, I got back to work. I’m a writer. I write. And I’m eternally grateful for that. I can’t imagine living in a reality where I didn’t have words and stories running through my brain.
As it turns out, we live in an amazing world, one in which a book doesn’t need a giant publishing house to make its way out into the world. I couldn’t stand to leave the trilogy unfinished, so I finished it, and I’ve launched it out into the world for people to read.
Now, I’m not saying this was easy. The journey through this last book tested me on every level. But growth never happens without pain. I went way out of my comfort zone and did a Kickstarter so I could afford high level editing, and Vikki Ciaffone and Richard Shealy came through brilliantly. The cover, designed by Derek Murphy, exceeded my wildest hopes. And in my own opinion, The Nothing is the best book of the trilogy. I feel good about that.
Today, the ebook version of The Nothing is out on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo, with more platforms to come. There will be a paperback, eventually.
And I’m sitting here this morning, swilling my coffee and enjoying a fabulous glow of accomplishment and closure. It feels good to know that I did what I set out to do. I’m indescribably grateful for the opportunity to write books. I’m thankful for the incredibly giving and talented people who have generously helped me along the way. As for the people who read what I write? You complete me. The story is never finished until it’s been read.
Look what I picked up yesterday from the post office! I always love new bookmarks, and these are gorgeous. The green color really pops. I’ll be giving away a few, along with free books and some other fun prizes at a virtual Facebook launch party for The Nothing on March 24th, from 6 – 9 pm PST. You are invited to swing on by. Here is the link to the event and I hope to see you there.
Last night a lovely person on my email list alerted me to the fact that the blog was broken. She’d tried to access the page where the free downloads for The Dream Runner are stashed and got a big fat
404 Page not found on server
I tested the link. Yep. I also got the 404. I messed around in the blog for a bit. The page was there. Right there. Looking at me when I went into my dashboard. I could do anything I wanted with it – EXCEPT make it visible. And then, randomly, I clicked one of the other page tabs and got the same damn message. Everything was broken except for the homepage.
Ack! Despair and consternation. What to do, what to do? A brand new shiny website and it was broken. Nobody could read the excerpt of The Nothing. New newsletter subscribers would wonder what they’d signed up for and go away. The whole world was going to fall apart.
Since I didn’t really have a clue what to do, I committed what I thought was a desperate act and emailed my blog hosts. Guess what? They emailed right back. And it was fixed within the hour.
I was floored. Really? They’re really going to help me with stuff in this quick and painless sort of way?
Yep. So now I feel a little safer. And the blog is up and running. Which is a good thing, with The Nothing coming and all.
I’ve been noticing this odd trend a lot lately, with the asking for help thing. I don’t like to do it and I often don’t. Somewhere in my psyche there’s a huge sign that reads DO EVERYTHING YOURSELF OR YOU ARE A FAILURE. There’s another one right next to it that reads DON’T BOTHER PEOPLE. THEY ARE BUSY.
I think I need to hire a new sign painter. But a lot of helpful people are out there, ready and willing and awesome. And they act as if they like helping. Laura Kreitzer did the interior formatting for the hard copy of The Nothing, for example. Quickly, professionally, painlessly – and out of pure friendship. And she wasn’t the first to offer.
When I locked myself out of my website the other day (yeah, I need to be rich and hire a techie person) a Facebook friend who happens to be part of TechSurgeons (these folks are awesome, by the way, offering web services designed for authors) talked me through getting myself back in.
All through my life, there have been times when people popped out of the woodwork offering to help with things. Some of them were good friends. Others were basically strangers. And none of them presented as martyrs or hard done by or any of that ugly stuff. I still find it hard to ask for help, but I’m learning. Maybe I’ll ask for a sign painter to make me a brain billboard that reads:
SOMETIMES, ALL YOU’VE GOT TO DO IS ASK
As a rule, I am not a fan of Mondays. They come on swift and sudden and tend to be full of exploding dog poo.
Weekends also can contain these sorts of unpleasant explosions, of course, but there’s a safety buffer of No Day Job and Extra Rations of Coffee. The only way to combat a case of the Mondays, for me, is some serious counting up of blessings and things to look forward to.
My morning blessings always start with coffee. Cat in lap. Dog sleeping by fire. Viking in my world. All as it should be.
And my copy edits for The Nothing should be rolling in sometime tonight if my copy editor doesn’t get slammed too hard by his own case of the Mondays. Yes, I am excited about copy edits. I like the little suckers. They are the silver polish of manuscripts, making the words shine bright and beautiful.
Plus – once the copy edits are done I’ll be formatting The Nothing and getting it into e-book and paper formats so I can get it out where you can read it.
Not bad for a Monday.
If it seems to you that this website has taken on a life of its own and is morphing in front of your eyes – don’t worry. You’re still sane, and I haven’t been hacked. We’re just undergoing a little process of evolution, and I’ve decided to keep the site up and running while that transformation occurs.
Since my writing has taken a series of turns over the last year or so, I decided that the website should reflect that.
With The Nothing coming out at the end of March (God willin’ and the creek don’t rise) I’m shifting to a new status as a hybrid author, with my feet planted in both the traditional and independent publishing worlds. I’m also branching out from the Fantasy genre into Mystery with the Dead Before Dying series. I might also by working on an ultra-secret Women’s Fiction project (shhhh, don’t tell).
I’ve enlisted the multi-talented Derek Murphy (cover designer for The Nothing) and his web design people to help me make changes to this site. I’d love your feedback as well.
What do you love to see in an author’s website? What bugs you? Any suggestions or comments on what we’re doing here?
I’m off to write now. More later!
The Viking and I bought ourselves a food dehydrator for Christmas. Today we made our very first ever batch of beef jerky. This stuff is amazing. We started with grass fed, low fat beef, marinaded it for about 48 hours, and let it dry for about six hours today. I don’t think it’s going to last long.
Tunes in the car aren’t just for road trips. Listening to music on the way in to work on the morning always makes for a better day.
I have accepted the 100 Days of Happiness Challenge, albeit with a little fear and trepidation. It’s not that I don’t think I can find 100 things to be happy for on 100 consecutive days – it’s more a matter of taking the time to post about these happy-making things. But hey, how hard can taking a picture and posting it every day really be?
Yeah. This comment will go in my famous last words category, I’m pretty sure. Even so, I love this idea and am going to give it a try. Starting today, every day for the next 100 days I will post a picture of something that makes me happy. Today, I give you my Christmas tree and my cat. I always leave the tree up into January because I love the lights on dark mornings. The fact that the cat’s eyes match the lights is just extra joy. I always knew she was spooky. Now I have photographic evidence.
What is your happy thing today? Feel free to post a picture in the comments or to take up the challenge yourself. Happy New Year!