05
Nov
10

Polite self-promotion

First off (and fitting, considering the meat of this post), my second novel, The Spirit Rebellion is now officially launched. Hooray! I have a post up on my blog with some reviews and gory details about how the book came into being (spoiler: it almost didn’t), so check it out if you like that sort of thing! Book 3, The Spirit Eater, launches December 1, so if you’re waiting on the series, you won’t be waiting long. Orbit is generous like that :D. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can see all my books and read sample chapters here).

So, the Spirit Thief has been officially out for a little over a month now. Truth be told, it’s been a hard 30 days for me. I do realize how ungrateful I sound when say that, and please know the difficulty had nothing to do with the wonderful readers who’ve bought my book or the wonderful people who helped me get it out there. As always, my problems start and end only with me.

The month has been difficult because I’ve been struggling to overcome a fear I didn’t know I had: a fear of self promotion. If you had asked me (and several people did) a few months ago “are you looking forward to promoting your book?” I would have (and did) answered an enthusiastic “of course!”  After all, I wrote the damn thing. Of course I think it is wonderful and amazing and worthy of reading, else I wouldn’t have missed playing all that Warcraft to write it (and rewrite it and query it and rewrite it again). Why wouldn’t I want to shout to the world how awesome I think my book is? After all, I’ve never exactly been a shy, retiring flower.

And yet, for a forward, confident person, I’ve suddenly become tongue tied on the subject of my own work. For example, when The Spirit Thief launched, I went to the bookstore to see my book on the shelf. It wasn’t there, so I asked the stock guy and, after checking the computers, he said it was in the back. He offered to go get me one, but I declined (I didn’t want to take one away from my home store where I’d told people it was going to be) and then… I left. I left without saying anything, and the whole time I’m screaming at myself,  “Rachel, tell them you’re the author, ask to see the manager, see if you can set up a signing, PROMOTE YOUR BOOK.”  But I just couldn’t, and I didn’t know why.

This rocked my world on a pretty fundamental level. I’d just failed at the most basic new author task, and I couldn’t tell you why. But then, after lots of emo-face thinking, I figured it out. In some ways, I’m a very southern girl. I was raised to think that bragging was the height of all rudeness (and, hence, evil). That a truly worthy deed will gain notice on its own. Self promotion is, in a sense, a little like bragging. You’re telling people about your accomplishments. And there lay the problem. If I’d told that book seller “hey, I’m the author, want to get together and do something promotional?”  I don’t think I would have been out of line, but I would have been calling attention to the fact that I’ve written a bo0k and asking for special treatment because of that, which set off all kinds of deeply rooted warning bells.

So I find myself in a dilemma. If I promote my book, I feel like I’m being rude. If I don’t promote my book, I increase my chances of sinking into oblivion and ruining my career. That can not happen, and so it’s time to get over myself. Gotta put on my big girl panties and put myself out there. But, you know, politely.

So here’s my question for you: what kind of book promotions caught your eye? What did you most enjoy? Web ads? Blog posts? Contests? Let me know in the comments (if you don’t mind, that is).

03
Nov
10

Technobabble can be your friend

We’ve all read it.  We’ve all seen it.  And I’m guessing a lot of us have written it, probably not on purpose.

“Oh, Professor, how does this reticulating infundibulator work?”

“Well, I’m glad you asked, Little Timmy.  You see, the wave manifold interface is tangential to the antiprotonic Q-stream, which as you know is what runs our stardrive, but in this case…”

…and garble garble garble, ten pages of reticulating infundibulators and science that would make any follower of the discipline in question weep quietly into their coffee.

Because I write fantasy, I don’t add so much in the way of technobabble, but I do have quite a bit of arcanababble: the myths that I’ve used to underpin the story and that need to be understood for the story to make any sense.  Which means if I’m not careful, I end up with something along the lines of:

“Oh, Great Sage, how may we use this Crepuscular Artifact of Vorpallitation?”

“Well, I’m glad you asked, Little Grignr.  You see, the Artifact’s power draws from the deposed Demon Lord Khar’tryuse, who as you know was friend to all living things before the Woven Corruption…”

…and garble garble garble, ten pages of Demon Lords and lost weapons and theomachies to shake the heavens.  Now, some people read for the technobabble, and I confess I like reading for the arcanababble, particularly when it’s based on actual myth.  Heck, I’ll sit through several pages of tenuous connections between obscure philosophers and alchemical symbols and ancient cults, if I have the sense there’s something to it (which, frankly, depends more on the writer than on the theory in question).  If it turns out to match what I know, then I’m likely to love the book even more.

But a lot of readers don’t like techno/arcanababble, and for good reason: it’s exposition, and like all exposition can become an indigestible lump if handled poorly.  Even when the myths are well-researched and accurate (inasmuch as myth can approach accuracy) or when the science is spot-on and peer-reviewed, if it’s presented as a lump of exposition then the technobabble filter will kick in for a lot of readers, and they’ll skim past it like a freshman English student skipping the whaling chapters of Moby Dick.

Leave it out entirely, though, and you’re missing the vital information that your story is built around, the scientific key or mythic reference that holds the whole thing together.  And, very possibly, you’ll have left out the Cool Idea that got this story started in the first place.  And, let’s face it, technobabble and arcanababble can be such fun to write.

So what are some ways technobabble can be more than just a lump of exposition? Continue reading ‘Technobabble can be your friend’

19
Oct
10

Workshop paralysis

Sorry for the long hiatus.  I have excuses, but that’s all they are, and after a while all excuses sound the same.

At the beginning of the month, I spent the better part of a week at Viable Paradise, a one-week writers’ workshop on Martha’s Vineyard. I’d originally attended in 2004, at VP 8, and this time I was back for my second year as staff.  It’s a fun, if intense, experience, and it’s always strange to see the workshop from the other side.  One of the best parts of being staff is meeting all these new writers, some just starting out, some with a few stories under their belt, all trying for the same goal: to write something really good.

Of course, because it’s a workshop, all of these fresh-faced shiny new writers are there to meet the same fate: a crushing, soul-wrenching critique not unlike the mighty stompy foot of a stompy guy.

Okay, so that’s a bit of an overstatement; crits vary, and reactions vary with them.  But one thing I remember well, not just from my time at VP8 but from discussions with other alumni (and Clarion alumni as well) is the feeling of paralysis after a workshop.  It doesn’t happen to everyone.  Nor should it; since all writers are different, there’s a wide range of reaction to an intensive workshop.  But there’s a certain range of responses that many people have, and for me it was one of the hardest parts of a workshop — and it didn’t even take place until I was off the island and away.

When I emerged from Viable Paradise, I had a brain that was fizzing like Diet Coke with Mentos dropped in.   (Slightly less messy, but you get the idea.)  Lots of new ideas, new skills, new resources for work and revision and chasing down that elusive great idea.  And that wasn’t even touching the work I’d had critiqued!  (For the reaction to that, see here.)  I had a whole new toolbox with which to assemble a story!

And I sat down to write and…nope.  All of a sudden, every time I started to write something out, I could see not only the stylistic flaws — which I had trained myself to overlook, knowing that I’d fix them next time through — but the plot issues, the pacing problems, the characters who swung wildly between flat and cliche.  Hell, I’d spent so much time concerned with how a story should begin that I couldn’t for the life of me begin one — every beginning seemed too slow, or too didactic, or not nearly the right place to start!  I’d spent so much time learning that for my process, the most important thing was getting that first draft down, and now I couldn’t even start that first draft.

I had a bad case of Workshop Paralysis.  And I suspect I’m not the only one to have gone through it.  There’s even a learning model that explains some of it: moving from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence (with conscious competence just barely and perpetually out of reach).   Now that I knew all the errors I was prone to, I could not for the life of me unsee them.  Every story I started had them, and had them to a crippling degree.

There are many ways of getting through this.  Sometimes it’s just a matter of letting the data settle in one’s head.  Sometimes there are other factors in your life affecting your creativity.  Sometimes you need to work around the problems — write something silly, or useless, or just to remind yourself what you can do.  I’ve got a notebook full of vignettes that will never go anywhere, but are the result of “lunch break and either I write something stupid or I combust…or I check the internet again, but what’s the point?” moments.

For me, some of the solution was time.  Some of it was remembering my strengths and how I wanted to use them — plot, and the intricacies of it, and thus the need to be more rigorous in how I revealed a story.  And some of it was sheer mind-trickery.  I still have trouble beginning a story, and so if I’m just trying to get that first draft on paper, often I’ll either write a few lines for the beginning and then jump ahead, or I’ll just not write the beginning until I’m well into the rest.  By then I have a better idea of where the story’s going, after all.

But that sudden task of having all these new methods of critique, that moment of realizing that your work is a lot more difficult than you’d thought…that can be paralyzing, and worse still if you turn those delicate tools for critique into blunt instruments for beating yourself up.

Writers, did you have this workshop paralysis as well?  How did you get over it?   (Did you?)

Next time: technobabble can be your friend!

 

15
Oct
10

Hello mister tall, dark, and terrifying

(Blog X-posted)
October is moving right along which means creepy costumes and sugar highs are just around the corner. Or is that just my plan? Surely not.

Halloween is nearly here, and it’s a good time for the things that go bump in the night. Many creatures which once would have been relegated to horror stories and movies are now featured as heroes and romantic leads, but let’s forget them for a moment and talk of the terrifying.

What flavor do you prefer your horror stories/movies? Do you like an oppressive atmosphere that keeps your shoulders hitched as you wait for the worst? Do you like the monster you never quite see so he’s worsened by your imagination? Perhaps your horror preference is the gore and the gritty details. Or maybe the psychological horror tale that worms itself into the back your mind and then begins to twist. Or perhaps your horror tastes lean toward the destruction of all hope in the face of insurmountable and unstoppable odds? (Zombie Apocalypse anyone?)

From the ghost story to the slasher film, horror is a genre with many faces and many elements. Which work for you? Do you laugh off a scary tale, or do you sleep with the lights on after a good horror flick?  It’s the month for spooky stories and frightening monsters, so please share your favorite horror movies and books! (We could all use a good scare, right?)

01
Oct
10

Contest winners!!

I think any writer will agree that there is no better feeling in the world than people wanting to read your book. I got way more entries than I was expecting! I am so humbled and happy at all the excitement going on about Eli and his crew. Thank you all SO MUCH for entering. I wish I had books for all of you! T__T!

Sadly, though, there could be only 20 winners. The magic number picker ate all the entries, and these are the people it coughed up:

  1. Tegan
  2. Susan
  3. Greg
  4. Ashley
  5. Laurel
  6. Jennifer
  7. Jason Bull
  8. Atsiko
  9. Karen Senoo
  10. Minamostaza
  11. Amanda Jones
  12. Melissa (Books and Things)
  13. Maggie Lloyd
  14. April X
  15. Judy Adler
  16. Deb Salisbury
  17. Emmad
  18. Arkib
  19. Elizabeth Briggs
  20. ab

I will be sending emails to all the winners asking for mailing addresses today. If your name is on the list and you don’t get an email by tomorrow morning, please contact me and we’ll get things straightened out. For everyone who didn’t get books, I am so bummed I couldn’t give you all copies. I still greatly value your input and reviews, and I sincerely hope you’ll still give The Spirit Thief a try. Thank you again for participating!

Eli officially launches today! Catch him wherever new books are sold.

- Rachel

ETA: I’ve sent emails to everyone except Jason Bull, Karen Senoo, Amanda Jones, Maggie Lloyd, Judy Adler, Deb Salisbury, Emmad, and Arkib. Guys, I could not find your emails, so now it’s up to you! Send me a message and I’ll get your book off! Thanks!

30
Sep
10

Glorious celebrations demand free books!

ETA: It’s now noon on Friday, and the giveaway contest is closed! Thank you to everyone who entered!! I am now putting all the emails and comments together in a big virtual hat. Since I love all the comments so much, I’ll be using a random number generator to make the hard choice of who gets free books for me. Winners should be notified today.  Again, thank you all so much for participating. Even if you didn’t win, I sincerely hope you’ll go to your local bookstore and give The Spirit Thief a try.

Sincerely,

Rachel Aaron

_______________________________________________________

So my first book, The Spirit Thief, comes out tomorrow! YAY!

To celebrate, I… wrote a guest blog post for Kalayna Price’s blog party about how we’re living in a golden age of publishing!

But wait, that is not NEARLY enough celebration! So, to reward all you loyal Magic District readers, I am going to celebrate my book’s release by GIVING AWAY 20 COPIES OF THE SPIRIT THIEF! These are not ARCs, they’re the real deal with lovely, glossy covers and beautiful embossed lettering! Total hotness.

Here’s what you’ll be getting:

The Spirit Thief

Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief.

But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.

The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he’ll need to steal some big things. But he’ll start small for now. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss – at least for a while.

Like a king.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it? You want one, don’t you?! Well that’s good, because I want to give you one!! BUT, there is a catch! A catch, in fact, shamelessly stolen from our own Nora (because she has amazing ideas) when she did her Hundred Thousand Kingdoms ARC giveaway.  It goes like this: in order to get a free (autographed!) copy of the Spirit Thief, all you have to do is send me an email or reply to this post stating:

  1. That you will in fact read the book. Because, while I care deeply about your bookshelves, Orbit didn’t send me this lovely box of books just to have them be shelf decorations.
  2. That you promise to, once you’re done reading, leave me a review at the venue of your choice (Amazon, GoodReads, your own blog, wherever). If you don’t like the book, that’s fine, leave a review anyway! Of course, I hope you do like it, but reviews, good and bad, are vital.

That’s it, no contest, nothing but your desire to REEEEAD! That’s not too much for a free book, is it? This contest runs for 24 hours. At noon tomorrow I’ll randomly select 20 winners from the replies/emails, and those lucky people will  get free, autographed copies of The Spirit Thief shipped right to their door!

Now, I’ve got 20 copies, so your chances are pretty good! And if I don’t get 20 replies by noon tomorrow, I’ll just keep pushing the give away open until I do. So get those entries in, and good luck!!!

09
Sep
10

The Pregnancy of Elephants (annotated)

If anyone ever tells you that the process of publishing a book is like an elephant pregnancy, you tell them they’re dead wrong. It’s actually like FIVE elephant pregnancies back to back.[1]

As my debut novel THE NATIVE STAR just hit bookstore shelves a little over a week ago, I thought it might be fun to go back through my old LiveJournal posts to remind myself of the path it traveled to publication. Having done so, I find that “fun” is probably not quite the word to use. “Harrowing” is maybe a better one. And “instructive” is the best of all. I’m recording this for every writer laboring toward that first sale, that first publication—that first whatever—who has ever thought, “I must be crazy, I must be doing something wrong, it shouldn’t be taking this long!!”

Well I’m here to tell you, it takes a long time to make a baby elephant. And it takes even LONGER to make five of ‘em. So sit back, relax, and try not to cringe in horror as we hit the instant (hah!) replay button:

I first mentioned the book on my blog on 1/3/2002. As are most writers who are enthralled with a shiny new project, I was full of starry-eyed optimism:

So this is my first post of 2002. Whoopee. I may be somewhat less attentive to my LJ over the coming months because I am writing quite a lot on the new novel (a lite magical realism romp set in 1876, for those keeping score) and have been spending every second of spare time on that instead of on LJ.

I spent most of January and February on an epic writing binge:

1/15/2002:

Every spare moment has been spent writing on the novel. I’m up to 130 pages (woo hoo!)

1/23/2002:

300 pages, double spaced, 12pt courier, 1 inch margins. 50,000 words. Still lost in my alternate version of the 19th Century.

Indeed, I was writing at such a fast and furious pace, I took a whole week off from work to write on the book:

Monday, Feb. 5 – 282 pages (55,588 words)
Monday, Feb. 11 – 351 pages (71,757 words)
A very productive week. It’s all about the words, baby.

By the end of February (2/21/2002) I was trudging laboriously toward the finish line:

Now I’m in the hard slogging.

I have to write the last few scenes where all the darling little furbelows and fripperies that I’ve left dangling throughout the book have to be gathered up and tied together. I have a pretty good idea of how I’m going to do it, which automatically puts me ahead of the game (especially compared to some of my other novelistic forays, where I came to Chapter 20 and said … “well, shit, NOW what happens?”) , but it’s like executing a complicated french braid—the hair is slippery and there’s just so many pieces of it wisping around. Once I get all that done (oh, Lord) then comes the big polish. It’s all very rough right now, and is full of little memos to myself along the lines of “insert brilliant description of the wharves of San Francisco in 1876 here.”

Urgh.

Must … finish …

The exact date I finished the novel is not recorded, but I expect it was sometime in March. So, keep that fun fact in your mind. The first draft of the novel was completed in March 2002. Once the first draft was finished, I sent it around to the writers’ groups I was in at the time and got lots of good feedback on it. I revised and rewrote. Sometime in 2003 I deemed it complete enough to start submitting. I sent the first few chapters to the late Chris Bunch who gave me some ideas for fixing up the prologue to make it more exciting. I took his advice (of course I did!) and he liked my revisions enough to ask his editor if I could send the book to her.

7/16/2003:

Bunch got me an in with Jennifer Heddle [of Roc.] I am to send her the MS of “Native Star” asap. Marked “Requested Materials”, no less! This is enormous! I can actually send something to an editor at a major house marked “Requested Materials” and not have it be a baldfaced lie! (not that I’ve ever REALLY done that, but I’m sure every writer has THOUGHT of it …) Now we play the waiting game.

The book sat at Roc for a few months, until finally I heard something back on 1/20/2004:

Anyway, the news is that last week, Jennifer Heddle contacted me and told me that while she wasn’t into Old West stuff, she’d passed the book onto another editor who’s going to give it a look. An editor to editor pass … that’s gotta be good.[2]

While I was waiting on Roc, I wasn’t letting any moss grow on this rolling stone. I was out looking for agents.

4/22/2004:

Hey, I got a letter from Lucienne Diver at the Spectrum Literary Agency today! She’s willing to take a look at my series package. Which is cool. Except now I have to actually put it together. Well, that’s not exactly accurate. Book One is solid as a rock, nothing left to do there but sell it.[3] I’ve got half of Book 2 written, but more importantly, I’ve got a detailed chapter-by-chapter outline for it. But she wants an outline for the rest of the series, and that’s going to take a little work. I’ve got a broad, sketchy idea of what I want to do in Books 3-6, but since this is an “alternate history” series, and since it advances through time and reinterprets actual historical events in the light of the existence of magic, I have to actually think through what the Russian Revolution would have been like if one threw magic into the mix. Or the Cold War. Or the McCarthy trials. Or the advertising scene in New York the 1950s. It’s going to be hard to write good solid outlines for these books without putting in the research. So I guess I’ll just have to keep it all very high level and figure out the details later.

But those concerns aside, this is pretty encouraging. She’s the first agent I sent a query to, I’ve heard so many good things about her, and she works for an agency which is well respected.

Now we play the package-preparing game. Then we play the going-to-the-post-office game. Then we play the waiting game.

(Aw, the waiting game *sucks*. Let’s play Hungry Hungry Hippos!)[4]

But the road to becoming agented, like the course of true love, never does run smooth. A couple of months later on 6/10/2004:

I also got a reply back from Spectrum Literary Agency today.

Lucienne Diver said that she “love[s] the world” I’ve created. She says the novel is “different, fresh, and well-written.”

“Clearly, you’re a very talented writer,” the letter goes on to say. So far, so good.

Then it goes on to drop the proverbial hammer:

“That said, the narrative didn’t seem to have quite the drive, fast pacing and overarching menace that would keep the pages turning late into the night.”

Sigh.

Well, at least the blow was blunted by the good news from F &SF yesterday. And she did recommend that I send it to Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass Agency, which I will now proceed to do (it’s always nice to have a name to drop when you’re making contact – “so & so suggested I send this to you”.)[5]

While history (or at least my blog) does not record when Jennifer Jackson rejected it, I seem to recall that it was a pretty generic form rejection. Which left me feeling like I was way farther away from my goal than ever. But I kept at it. One of the agents I’d targeted was Ginger Clark, then at Writers’ House. After licking my no-love-from-Jennifer wounds for a while, I sent it along to Ginger. I got my first rejection from her in June of 2005, with an invitation to look at the book again if I wanted to do a rewrite. This sent me into stormy turmoils of newbie author despair on 6/25/2005:

Ginger Clark likes the way I write, but not what I’ve written. But it’s not all bad news. She’s invited me to revise and resubmit. I hate revising. TNS is so ingrained in my head now that I don’t even know how I’d begin to revise it. It’s like, I’ve been over it so many times, it would be like trying to revise “The Cat in The Hat.” Any change just wouldn’t feel right. So what the hell do you do? I think I’ll write something new and just scrap the fucking book. No, I won’t really do that.[6]

Ultimately, I located a pair of big-girl panties and executed the rewrites as she requested. By the end of the year, a revision was on her desk. After a few months considering the rewrite, she rejected me again, suggesting that I tighten some stuff up in the last half of the book, and again offering to look at it again after additional changes. I had another private hissy fit. But I took comfort in the fact that I seemed to be getting closer. Then she asked for a synopsis of Book 2 (now titled THE HIDDEN GODDESS), which I sent. And all the while, I continued to freak out. Now, however, the subject of my freak-outs had moved on to nonsensical shit like whether people would still be interested in reading historical fantasy WAY IN THE INCONCEIVABLY DISTANT FUTURE, LIKE SAY IN 2010!

11/16/2007:

Sigh. Trying to stay positive and focused … I sent Ginger Clark the synopsis for book 2 a week ago (Friday?) and she said she’d read it over the weekend and get back to me on Tuesday or Wednesday … well, Tuesday and Wednesday passed, and now it’s Friday, and I don’t got no news to take to Orycon, and … I’m just chewing my nails. I’ve been waiting so long already! It’s wait wait wait. I want Ginger to take me as a client, and I want her to sell my goddamn book, because it’s going to be a year to two years before I hold a fucking book in my hand and if she doesn’t fucking hurry up, the time will have passed and people will be sick of historical fantasy …

AAAAAAAA!

Deep breath. Deep breath. Keep the crazy on the inside.

And I did keep the crazy on the inside, people. To my credit. It’s only now that I’m sharing it with the world.

In December of 2007, I traveled to NYC on business and met with Ginger. And, lo and behold … SHE OFFERED TO REPRESENT ME! It was a singularly sweet moment, but not without it’s annoying caveats:

I went over to see Ginger Clark, and she said, “I’d like to represent you.” Which was pretty exciting, but then she said “And I want you to cut 5k out of The Native Star” which was slightly less exciting, but I can cut it all out of the front. I know I can. Chapter 1 is 7k words … I can get it down to 5. That’s 2k right there. She also wants some taken out of the train ride. I just have to look for fat (even fat I like) and get rid of it.

Sigh.

I promised her a revision by February. I’ll probably get it to her sooner than that, but at least I have 2 months. I wanted to avoid the holidays.

In February, I sent the revisions to Ginger as promised (I am nothing if not punctual.) She took a couple of months to read them, and by May of 2008 she deemed the book was ready to send out. Finally, things really started moving.

Jun. 9th, 2008:

Today is a red letter day. I received word from my agent that Juliet Ulman at Bantam has made an offer on my novels — she wants to buy them both. We haven’t heard back from any of the other editors yet. If we do, it will go to some kind of auction situation. If we don’t, we still have an awesome offer on the table.

This is the day I’ve been waiting for since … 1990? 1989? Since I had a novel to sell? And it feels good. But like revenge, it doesn’t really change anything. Life goes on, onward and upward.

But what would a red-letter day be without a bit of hand-wringing from me?

I have been waiting for this day for years and years. And yet here it is, and it doesn’t feel like I’ve gotten to the mountaintop, it feels like I’ve just seen how much more there is to climb. It’s not a discouraging feeling, precisely. But I thought I’d be more thrilled than this. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not *unthrilled* … it’s just that this didn’t hit me all at once in a blast, it was one email, then another, then some banter … and it all built up into a book deal. And then it was like, “OK, we’re done, we have a deal” and I’m like … oh! Well! Good!

6/28/2008:

I just got off the phone with Juliet, and she is just as cool as everyone says she is. I am so excited to be working with her! (I mean, look at the awesome writers she works with: Barth Anderson, Tim Pratt, Eliot Fintushel, Greg Van Eekhout … the list goes on and on.) She gave me a quick rundown of what to expect from the publishing process. The first book will probably be coming out in Spring ’10, which means we won’t actually get started working until early ’09. Which seems an eternity now, but I have lots of stuff to work on between now and then, and I’m sure it will go faster than I expect.[7]

I signed the book contracts on Sept. 8, 2008. Six years after I completed the first draft of the book. And yet, the journey was by no means over. It would still be 2 more years before the first book came out. On November 20, 2008, I got the bad news that Juliet Ulman (who had acquired my book) had been the unfortunate victim of a round of layoffs. But the good news was that I had a new editor, Anne Groell. But the bad news was that she was going on maternity leave and wouldn’t be able to get started on my book until she got back. So I sat down to play the waiting game again. By this time I was getting pretty good at it.

The rest hardly bears reporting … there were copyedits and pageproofs, wranglings about the title for Book 2, but finally we got to the place where we are today. The novel ultimately hit the shelves just a couple of “seasons” later than originally predicted (the original pub date was Spring ’10, I ended up with a Fall ’10 release … considering all we went through, not too shabby.) I have copies that I can hold in my hand and love and hug and call George. It wasn’t fast, that’s for sure.

But like any elephant momma can tell you, it was certainly worth the wait.


#


[1]]The point being, of course, that elephant pregnancies take upwards of two years to come to term. Those poor, majestic beasts!
[2]]It wasn’t. The editor she passed it along never got back to me!
[3]]Ahem. As you’ll see, not everyone (*coughGINGERCLARKcough*) agreed with my assessment. And looking back, I am so goddamn glad of that. THE NATIVE STAR in 2004 was a far less accomplished product than the book that ended up being published in 2010. It’s called gestation for a reason, people!
[4]Yes, I was sick of the waiting game all the way back in 2004. Which just goes to show, you’d better learn to like the waiting game.
[5] It may be “nice” to have a name to drop, but it didn’t help much in this case.
[6] Once again proving the benefits of psychotic persistence!
[7] It didn’t, actually.




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