Tag Archives: sleepwalk society

The London Book Fair! And Small Presses

No quote today. Because I’m half-dead, having returned from London on Thursday night and still feeling the jet-lag, or time change, or post-motion sickness patch hangover. Whatever it is, it has left me pretty dumb, and with poorly functioning eyeballs. But it was worth it. Nearly two weeks of playing tour guide for Dylan and walking miles along the Thames, and eating way too much fish and chips, bangers, and mushy peas. Despite the walking I gained four pounds. So, hey, fish and chips and bangers…a plague on both your houses.

And then of course, there was the LBF:

It was a bustling and enormous trade show. Walking the floor, my head spun seeing all the displays and brushing shoulders with so many people tagged with titles like Acquiring Editor and Subrights Agent. I spent several hours at a small booth, promoting my small press book, Sleepwalk Society. Never heard of it? Don’t worry. Few people have. Despite the fact that I and my small press have been quietly pushing it for months, and despite good reviews. It’s not one of those big, slam bang blockbusters. It’s existential, and character-driven. it’s about finding a future, and falling in love when neither of those things are certain.

A few things about small, independent presses. I remember being at a writer’s conference in Madison, Wisconsin, and listening to an agents panel. I only remember one exact quote, and that was an agent who sometimes advised her clients to consider a smaller press, because "you can really be treated like a star." That’s certainly been the case with my small press publisher. Working so closely, directly with the publisher themselves, has a very, in-the-trenches-together kind of feel. And for a significant portion of the year, my book has been front and center, and she has scrambled, and managed, and micro-managed, and forged contacts, and tested waters, to make sure that everything went smoothly for me. 

Now, after a lovely phone call this morning, it feels as though we’re at an end. We’re both moving on to our new projects, and the word, "backlist" was thrown around. She’s still working diligently, shopping film rights, -so hey, Darren Aronofsky, you listening?- but most of the push is over. And my focus too, is shifting more fully to Anna Dressed in Blood. But we’ll still keep in touch.

This is not to say I don’t love the team at Tor. Duh. They’re awesome. This is just a little love letter to PRA Publishing, thrown out into cyberspace.

There was also some post-writing location research at the Tower of London, and some of the north London neighborhoods, just to make sure I hadn’t gotten anything horribly wrong. And luckily, my memory seemed to have held true. Location research for what, you ask? Well, you can probably guess.

And, lest I forget, Dylan realized one of his lifelong goals, by touching a penguin:

The penguin seemed more surprised than anything. Of course then he gave us the stinkeye and muttered, "damn tourists," before waddling off.


Let’s Cut the Chit Chat, A-hole! (To profane or not to profane)

No, I’m not calling any of you a-holes. That’s a line from Nic Cage in The Rock, and one of the only lines I can remember that uses a swear-word substitute and is better off for it. Today, I’m considering swear words. Most notably, the f and s words, because apparently, manuscripts which contain those are not eligible for certain book clubs. So, decisions. Take them out, or leave them in? This question came up also with Sleepwalk Society, where the publisher scaled back the profanity. I gritted my teeth a little, but ultimately, enough of the natural language was left in that it didn’t hurt the book. However, what we’re finding now is that parents still aren’t going to jump on the Sleepwalk Society bandwagon, because of the sex and drug treatment.

So what to do with Anna Dressed in Blood? To be eligible for the aforementioned book clubs, all of the f and s words need to be cut. Or changed to "shoot" and "frick". No thank you. After sitting here for several minutes, I’m going to leave them in. I don’t think they’re gratuitous, or that any of my characters could be construed as a "potty mouth". And let’s not forget that the book is loaded with witchcraft and gore, so it will probably rub censors the wrong way anyhow.

Plus, Cas is still talking to me in Book 2, and I don’t want to institute the swear word jar and make him drop a quarter in every time he wants me to type it.

I’m curious about how other writers feel regarding profanity. Anybody got a project with questionable language? Anybody run up against objections? Why not leave some fuckin comments in the fuckin comments section. (See, now that was gratuitous.)

I was a one man wolf pack. (Signing at Courtyard Hall, Holiday Book Fair)

Last night I finally watched The Hangover. It took me a long time. You see, when it came out, it was one of those situations where I was busy and all my friends went without me. But now I have seen it. So now I get all the jokes about the satchel. I feel better now.

The news of the week is, I guess I’m going to be signing copies of Sleepwalk Society at the WNBA Holiday Book Fair at Country Village in Bothell. So if anyone is in the Bothell/Seattle area and wants to stop by a book fair with local award-winning authors, please do. I think the product is going to be pretty varied. Some non-fiction, some lit fiction, some women’s fiction, one paranormal romance, and also me. With my YA literary novel. My small press publisher is going to be in town from Atlanta also, so I might get to meet her in person, which is cool.

This is my first book fair. I don’t anticipate going to another until the London Book Fair in April. Tangent here…I’m roasting garlic to make roasted garlic, bacon and sun-dried tomato cream sauce for some chicken tonight. And I’m typing with garlic fingers. This is going to linger.

Self-censorship, a Rally for Moderates? and a great review from That Bookish Girl

So it occurs to me that I’m going to have to promote some books. Over the past few months, I’ve met quite a few folks who do precisely the same thing (or will have to shortly) online. And it brings up a lot of annoying thoughts. Self-censorship being one of them. Amidst all the pleasantries, and the email handshaking, and the profuse thank you’s to generous and kind compliments and suggestions, there is a lurking sensation that whispers, "Who’s reading this? What can I say and not say? Fuck, I just don’t know…shit, did I just say fuck? Who’s reading this?!!" Are teenagers going to eventually find their way to this blog and be offended? No. At least not the teenagers who would enjoy my books. But their parents might be, and I’m not in the business of offending parents, or publishers, or churches or political movements. But nor am I in the business of appeasing them.

So, in the endless internet burnout that is Hannah Moskowitz talking about what we’re doing talking to each other, and people decrying the end of internet anonymity, and author interviews and posts about censorship (read this one by Zoe’s Book Reviews), and writers wondering if their books will be banned, I am left to wonder. What….The….Fuck.

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to disseminate information.

But anyway, a call to arms for moderates: Jon Stewart is doing a rally in DC in the hope that for one brief, shining moment, the moderate will be as loud as the hard-lefts and hard-rights. I’m interested, but question the feasibility. Moderates, by nature, are not the rallying type.

And Sleepwalk Society just got an amazing review from That Bookish Girl, in which Violet Monroe is likened to Holden Caulfield. The real one, not Jake Gyllenhaal in The Good Girl. It’s reviews like this that convince me I did the book right. Thanks, Bookish Girl!

I’m the most dangerous man in this prison. You know why? Because I control the underwear.

The quote today is from American History X. If you haven’t seen it, then do. It’s the only thing that makes the existence of Edward Furlong worth the trouble.

Anyhoodle, REVISIONS! Complete! Anna Dressed in Blood has now officially undergone the first round of editorial revisions. It took about five days of solid work, but it came together pretty well I think. I’m going to let it rest a few days, then read it through again, make sure the edges are smooth, and send it back to NYC. Then we’ll see whether more needs to be done, or cuts need to be made, etc.

I was nervous about these, having never done them before. I was also worried that Cas just wouldn’t talk to me anymore. But my editor is fantastic, and her suggestions were spot on, and if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Writing is Magic. I wasn’t sure if things could be inserted seamlessly into a "completed" manuscript. I shouldn’t worry so much. And it was nice to spend time with Cas and Anna again, because I’m going to be seeing them very shortly, in the sequel.

But tomorrow I go back to Secret Project S. I want to be over halfway done with it by my birthday, which is July 14th. I want to be in a position to pitch it to my agent in August. I am really loving it. Fingers crossed that others share my opinion.

I’m also going to be doing an interview to promote Sleepwalk Society on Blogtalk Radio July 13th at 1pm. The book itself is due for release August 1st. Please buy a copy, if you are so inclined.

Is that a raincoat?

Why yes it is, Paul.

The movie quote today is courtesy of Dylan, who came running at me yesterday buck naked but for a pair of socks, screaming and hacking at the air. I was extremely put off for several seconds before I realized he was doing the scene from American Psycho.

The work on revisions finally hit full swing yesterday. I think it’s going well. I read some of the major changes out loud to Dylan and he seemed to like them. Usually a good sign. It’s been surprisingly easy to slide back into Cas’ mind and voice. Probably because after a few months off he’s ready to talk again. Chatty bastard. The changes that have been requested are good ones, necessary ones, and I think are going to be integrated into the story pretty easily and seamlessly. There are one or two that I disagree with for various reasons, but I don’t think my editor will mind too much.

It’s a strange thing to go into a piece of work that I deemed as done months ago and find that there is still so much to DO. Stories beyond stories within stories. So often it seems to me that writing is magic. It used to scare me back when I was studying the craft in London, the idea that I would learn too much of the tactics, of the mechanics, and then I’d be able to see all of the puppet strings. But it isn’t true. There’s always more mystery. I don’t even know if it is possible to take the piss out of the whole thing.

I’m considering listing Sleepwalk Society with reader’s circle groups. I was also considering taking it to the Seattle Anarchist Book Fair, but I don’t know if I am to be considered radical. Sleepwalk Society is the kind of book that questions things, that examines things, but it has a strong undercurrent of apathy for most of it, and somehow that doesn’t fit with the theme of anarchy. Other than that though, I think it fits quite well.

Went to see Shrek Ever After yesterday because apparently I wanted to get bent over a pole. The theater prices are outrageous. It is a good thing that there is nothing that I really want to see coming to theaters. Including Shrek Ever After. However I did enjoy the evil goose. And Puss in Boots. He’s the only thing that can make Antonio Banderas attractive.

Victory is mine!

That’s probably a little bit premature. I haven’t even signed the contract yet. But I do have an offer for my novel, Sleepwalk Society, from a small press in Georgia, and since I’m going to sign it when they send it, I’m calling it good. Besides, after over a decade of hearing responses made from faces with wrinkled noses, I think I can use the words of Stewie Griffin. After all, he uses them when he does something as simple as implanting his brother with a mind control device while hovering through the air on a makeshift balloon powered by an aerosol can. Yeah. I do that every other Tuesday.

I’ve hmmed and hawed about starting this blog for a long time now. Because, for one, I am strictly opposed to blogging. And yet I read lots of them, so I guess that makes me a hypocrite. And now I’m writing one, which makes me an extreme hypocrite. I might as well stand on a box and give a soliloquy about Tofu while I pluck a chicken. But, I think, the reason I still haven’t gotten behind this whole blogging thing, is because, I don’t understand how I can have anything useful to say. A writer, writing about writing. Writing about the process of being published. There are lots of those, and from those who are more qualified to give advice. I think I wanted to wait until there might be something here of interest. So I’ll work on that. I don’t want this to be a blog where I tell my computer what I ate for breakfast.

However my computer’s name is Daniel-san, and I might as well tell him now that I had a spinach, bacon and tomato omelette, with hash browns and pancakes, and it was awesome.

Anyway, yes, so, this blog should always contain something writing related. Unless Puppy J. Murray takes over, in which case all bets are off.