Sign of the Times
You Say It's Your Birthday!
Last year, on August 23rd, my debut novel Asylum released to the world. It was an amazing, exciting time! I had a book release party with some friends at a special location. My very best memory, though, is handing the book to my mom and watching her as she read the dedication. What a wonderful moment!
So 27 reviews, 5 book signings, 2 author events, and one writers' conference later, I'm not where I had hoped to be as an author. But in some ways, I have exceeded my expectations.
I had hoped Asylum would be met with great success. With a million plus readers clamoring for the next book, the news of a movie deal would thrill us all. (Yes, I am a fiction writer...'cause this isn't happening!) What can I say? I'm a dreamer...
Reality: Asylum is a print-on-demand book, so no bookstore will touch it. I had to convince Barnes & Noble to let me do a book signing there, only because I was a former employee. My book also had a return program attached to it, but other bookstores I've approached shut me down as soon as "print-on-demand" comes up. Sales have been mostly though friends and family. (Thank you guys for believing in me!) And my dear mama buys them and hands them out like they are candy.
Self-publishing is hard. Let me clarify by saying that my book was traditionally published by this self-publisher, but I still deal with the same stigmas that follow self-published works. You have little to no marketing support, unless you purchase additional packages or hire a publicist. Marketing could be a full-time job plus! I'm not adverse to doing my fair share of marketing. But it is time-consuming.
I'd also hoped to be "discovered" by an agent or publisher. After all, I have eight novels under my belt! I wanted to have several ready to put out back to back. Yet I'm still querying and trying to get someone to take notice. This isn't a complaint, though! It's awesome to go through the process. And I've actually had some people express their interest. So while I'm not where I wanted to be, I'm happy with where I am.
As far as response to Asylum, I've been blessed. I wanted to have 25 reviews on Amazon. I'm sitting at 27 currently. I've heard all kinds of wonderful things from so many people--friends who have said my writing helped them work through personal issues...and strangers who have said they were skeptical because of the religious content, but after reading it, didn't feel like it was crammed down their throats. When I hear my writing has affected just one person in a positive way, the whole journey has been worth it.
So happy birthday, Asylum! You're one year old! I'm so proud of you, although I do have some revision I'd like to do. Thanks for the opportunities you've afforded me this past year. And thanks for encouraging me to grow.
To my friends, family, and readers, thank you for walking with me through this journey. I do have so much more for you to enjoy. The Circeae system is vast and full of all kinds of interesting characters! I can't wait to introduce you to all of them.
If you'd like to purchase Asylum, it's most easily found on Amazon. And it's on sale today!
Pencils and Paper and Pens, Oh My!
Well, if you haven't guessed it by now, I am a nerd. I admit it. Admit, nothing. I declare it! Proclaim it! I wear my nerd proudly.
Do you remember, several years ago, a commercial for Staples? Well, if you don't, I'll link to it below. It's rather humorous. "It's the most wonderful time of the year!" The dad dances through the aisles.
Yeah, that's me in any office supply store...or any school supply aisle in a department store. I LOVE office/school supplies!
Well, you can imagine my joy as I realized that I needed to get myself organized for work. I've been working from home, trying to balance my schedule between Mom, Producer, and Writer. It hasn't been easy. But it's a season of life that I'm working through, and I'm grateful I have the opportunity. I love my job. I love being a mom. And I love writing. So I'm holding on to all of those identities as tightly as I can.
Today, I put together my desk...in a binder. I have notes galore! I have a couple of different calendars! I have a to-do list. I have work projects! And it's all tabbed, indexed, and labeled. I love it!
It hearkens back to creating a prompt book as a stage manager for theatrical productions. Oh, my goodness, I loved doing that! (I know...NERD!) I did the same thing for the Pikes Peak Writers' Conference...created a binder full of info. Boy, that sure paid off!
The funny thing is...I'm not all that organized when it comes to my writing! I should be. I would love to print every manuscript I've written...but I try to be true to Planet Earth. Save a tree and all that. Not to mention, printer cartridges are CRAZY expensive. One manuscript would deplete a cartridge. So I stay as electronic as possible. I just look forward to the day when I can have the printed and bound books on my bookshelf. I'll hold out until then.
Anyone else out there as weird about office/school supplies as I am?
After I posted a link to a song this morning, a friend asked me what was up with me...and the Bee Gees. So I thought I'd explain the answer here, which allows you to know a little more about me. Two-fold purpose!
I am a child of the 70s. I love Star Wars, disco...the icons of the 70s. And I think the main reason behind such love is that those things remind me of my very young childhood. (I feel the same way about the 80s, but I was older, so I remember more.)
What is it about the Bee Gees that I love so? I love their sound. I love their look. They were true to their music and didn't give in to too much scandal. Plus, they have/had sweet accents! Yes, I cried when I heard Maurice and Robin passed away. The Bee Gees have always been special to me.
There are two songs of theirs in particular that I adore, and here's why. My dad was big into his stereo. He had a tuner, an amplifier, two cassette decks, an LP player, an upright LP player, and face-melting speakers. Headphones and a baton rounded out the collection. He even had a room dedicated to the stereo. The two mentioned Bee Gees songs, whenever I hear them, take me back to that room. I couldn't have been more than four or five. But the chords and notes of those songs give me the joy, peace, comfort, and security that goes hand-in-hand with being a kid in a happy home.
We moved over the years, but the stereo was always a main feature in our home. From it, I learned to love classical, rock, pop...all kinds of music. My dad was...instrumental (sorry, I had to go there!)...in that. I'm grateful for the music legacy my dad gave me.
And now, I shall share those two Bee Gees songs:
For some time, I've been sitting on a story idea. I love twisted fairy tales. Into the Woods is one of my favorite musicals. The 10th Kingdom sits in DVD form on my shelf. I've even taken to Once Upon a Time, although the former Disney cast member in me cringes every time a new character is introduced. (If it was touted as a Disney show, that would be one thing...but they hype it up as fairy tales. And yes, I know it's on Disney owned ABC... Different post, I suppose.)
Anyway, I figure it's my turn to take a crack at the twisted fairy tale. This story actually started with the title. Before long, the characters took shape. I didn't really touch the story itself, but pondered it...waiting for it to come to me.
I just finished revising the first in my sci-fi saga, Heralds of the Crown: Poison. It's in the hands of a couple different agents and publishers. And although I really should revise number 2--Fusion, for those who might be curious--I needed to turn a corner and do something a little different.
Don't get me wrong. I love writing my sci-fi stories. But I've spent the last eight years in that universe. I took a little much-needed detour while writing Xadrez (also query-ready). So in celebration of Poison, I'm putting the Crown's Call aside for a little while (still querying, though!) to work on my fairy tale story. At least until it garners some attention from the publishing industry.
With that in mind, I'm pleased to introduce you to Once Upon a Heist. It's sure to be a fun romp through your favorite fairy tales. I hope you'll stick with me through the writing process! Of course, I see it all in my head...it's just a matter of translating it to words.
I am so proud of this picture. One of my dear, lifelong friends had the opportunity to work at CERN this summer. CERN is home to the Large Hadron Collider. Impressive name, huh? I have a very limited concept of what that does. I'm thankful for people like my friend who can figure out how the universe works.
I'd like to share his words from this Facebook post:
"This photo is not endorsed by CERN. It is, however, endorsed by me. My only regret is that I didn't realize I was covering your name until we had already left the cavern. When I return to my post in May, I hope to also return with a copy of Poison."
He also explained more about the background location:
"That's in the ATLAS chamber, the hardest place in CERN to get access to. Behind me are the particle detectors, more than 10 stories high, that most recently discovered the Higg's Boson as well as many many other amazing things about God's mysterious and beautiful universe."
I am honored and humbled by this awesome picture! What a special blessing for this kind gentleman to carry my book into such an amazing place! Thank you!!
A challenge to my blog readers: Can you rival it? I'd love to see pics of you holding copies of Asylum in all kinds of places! I'll even feature them here on my blog! And if you don't have an exciting or unique place to go, I'm thrilled to see just a pic of you holding my book! I even have a cleverly-named collection on Facebook. Check it out here:
Awesome People Holding My Book
I'd love to add your face to my album!
Such a Loser
Last night, I wanted to watch America's Got Talent. I know--mind-numbing banality. Drivel, as my dad would have called it. But I've had a crazy week, and I needed that mental downtime.
My kids had a different idea. They decided the family should go for a walk. What started out as a fun, little jaunt through a nearby neighborhood turned into a 90 minute adventure. By the time we returned home, we were exhausted. But we were able to catch the last five minutes of AGT.
Perfect timing, it turns out, as we caught the very end of the results show. It was down to two acts--a comedienne and a rapper duo. I didn't really give a fig about either one, but having had stage experience, I get caught up in those kinds of moments. The judges--now four in number (whoever thought up that plan should be fired!)--were allowed to choose the act, and of course, tied. So it came down to "America's votes."
As the show dragged out those last few moments--as they always do--the rapper duo kept pointing toward the comedienne. They were showering her with support, although you knew in that instant, they really wanted to hear their names called whenever Nick Cannon decided to give the results.
The comedienne was chosen.
The rapper duo ran over to her, wrapped her in hugs and smiles, and cheered her on. And yes, being a sap, tears sprung to my eyes.
How very glad I am my kids were watching along with me. This turned into a teachable moment about good sportsmanship. Lately, my kids have been playing board games. These events always turn into disasters, as they cry and whinge when they lose. So we had a great discussion about graceful losing. I asked them to remember that visual from the television. What a lovely image.
And it's one that I need to remember while I'm pursuing an agent and a publishing contract. While I see other authors out there getting deals, I need to be supportive and encourage them with words of congratulations. When I receive rejection letters, I need to internally respond with grace and not bitterness. It's a good lesson to learn.
Who knew two rappers would teach such a valuable lesson? I hope I can be such a loser.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3