I’m seeing lots of controversy on all my internet feeds today about whether or not to buy a certain book by a beloved author who may or may not have wanted said book to be published.
If you find yourself caught up in this quandary, I have a suggestion for you.
A lot of other books were released today by less famous authors who definitely wanted their work to be published and read. Buy one of those! Make an author happy while you mull the ethical ramifications of buying Harper Lee’s discovered manuscript.
One possible suggestion is the new Shinobi Mystery from Susan Spann: Flask of the Drunken Master.
Last I checked, Susan was in full possession of all of her faculties, although a little under the weather from an opportunistic virus that chose to bully her during release week. I can 100% guarantee that she will not object to you buying her book. Here’s the cover. Isn’t it pretty?
Honestly, as covers go, it’s prettier than this, I think:
All you really need to know about Go Set a Watchman is who wrote it. But since the whole world doesn’t know and love Susan Spann (yet) here’s what Flask of the Drunken Master is all about:
“August 1565: When a rival artisan turns up dead outside Ginjiro’s brewery, and all the evidence implicates the brewer, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo must find the killer before the magistrate executes Ginjiro and seizes the brewery, leaving his wife and daughter destitute. A missing merchant, a vicious debt collector, and a female moneylender join Ginjiro and the victim’s spendthrift son on the suspect list. But with Kyoto on alert in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, a rival shinobi on the prowl, and samurai threatening Hiro and Father Mateo at every turn, Ginjiro’s life is not the only one in danger.
Will Hiro and Father Mateo unravel the clues in time to save Ginjiro’s life, or will the shadows gathering over Kyoto consume the detectives as well as the brewer?”
So there you have it. You can buy this book at all of the usual places. Here’s the amazon link.
And here’s the link to Susan’s website. Even if you don’t feel like buying her book today, you should go look at pictures of sea horses and her trip to Japan. No, the two things have no obvious connection, except for probably in my brain somewhere. They are still excellent and fascinating pictures and worth looking at. There is also more information about the Shinobi Mysteries on this site. And possibly a random penguin or two.
Listen up, people! The third book in Susan Spann’s fabulous Shinobi Mystery series, Flask of the Drunken Master, releases on Tuesday, July 14. In celebration of this momentous event, I’m giving away a copy of the 2nd book, Blade of the Samurai.
Wait. Why am I not giving you a copy of Flask of the Drunken Master when that is the book Susan is launching?
Because I think you should buy a copy, that’s why. And also because I happen to have two copies of Blade of the Samurai floating around, so I can give one away and keep one for myself.
Why do I have two copies of Blade?
Damn. You had to ask. I have two copies of Blade of the Samurai because I bought one to do a giveaway for Susan when the book came out. Last year. I’ve been busy, all right? Don’t judge. Especially since you still get a shot at a free book.
As you can see, Frankenpoe is keeping guard until this lovely book can find its new owner.
The Shinobi Mysteries take place in medieval Japan, presided over by an unusual pair of sleuths. First up we have Hiro Hattori, a shinobi (in other words, a highly trained assassin) and Father Mateo, a Portuguese priest committed to bringing the word of God to the Japanese. Mateo likes helping people. Hiro is bound by his code of honor (and, he’ll have to admit, some affection) to the task of keeping Mateo alive and well. Murders keep finding them, somehow, and the times are dangerous with rival clans striving for power. Susan knows her medieval Japan and the book is beautifully and authentically atmospheric while providing a taut mystery.
I’m pretty sure that by now your next question is, “How can I win a copy of Blade of the Samurai?”
The rules are simple.
1. Entries accepted only from readers signed up for my newsletter. You can do that here, if you wish. (Hey, you can always unsubscribe later. And I don’t spam)
2. You must be 18. I don’t know why this is a thing, but I’m told it is. Not because Susan’s books are for only 18 and up. They’re not.
3. Leave a comment here on the blog.
4. BONUS ENTRY. Answer this question for an extra entry: How do you fill a carp with bees?
Contest open until midnight PST. Yep, it’s international.
My heart is full.
I don’t have the words to tell you how deeply satisfying it is to see the physical proof of the completed trilogy lined up on my table where I can drool over them. I owe so much to so many people for helping me to make this dream a reality.
The paperbacks of The Nothing are even more beautiful then I dared to hope. I’ve ordered in the review copies for my wonderful Kickstarter backers and a few to give away. The fly in all of this marvelous ointment is the realization of how long it apparently will now take for the books to become available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, etc. Around six weeks, possibly, I’m told.
And yes, if I’d researched ahead of time I would have known this. But I didn’t. Because it seems I’m always figuring out life (and publishing) one step at a time as I go along. But hey, where’s the adventure when you know what’s going to happen next?
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.