Look what I got in the mail. Bloodborn bookmarks, hot off the press, smelling of fresh ink.
Pretty! Want some? They’re glossy and big, a good 2 inches by 8 inches, so they won’t get lost in even the thickest hardcovers. You know what? I think it’s giveaway time.
To enter, all you have to do is blog about Bloodborn: the cover image, release date, and why you’re looking forward to reading it. Comment here and link to your blog entry. The first 10 bloggers to do so will win a mix of signed Bloodborn and Other bookmarks. Good luck!
UPDATE: All 10 prizes have been won!
This post is for all those authors who, like myself, get emotionally invested in their books. Too emotionally invested. Yes, we talk about the writing process and path to publication with words like “passion,” “love,” and “pour your heart out on the page.” You spend months to years on each draft of your novel, and even more time crafting a synopsis, a query, a pitch. You feel the raw heat of your imagination still radiating from the story when you read it again–or maybe it grows cold, but in time you warm to the book again. Your characters are dear friends you love to revisit, maybe even dream of. You long for the day when others can meet them, too, and step into the world you created.
It’s true, I think, that all this emotional intensity and vulnerability is necessary to write a good book.
But it does not make these things true:
(1) If someone reads your book and absolutely loves it, that means they love your mind and creativity.
Or, if they hate it, they think you must be a driveling imbecile who can’t even wipe the drool from your book before it goes to print. Seriously, though, a reader can’t even begin to pretend to know you by reading your book. There’s a good chance you write stories that have little to do with your personality or life. Yes, readers can admire your book, but that’s all. A book isn’t even the tip of the iceberg in terms of your total brainpower or imagination. Besides, you have other books in you, and readers might love or hate each of them uniquely. And if these readers met you, who knows what they would think.
(2) If your book gets recognized by starred reviews, awards, and gushing reviews, that means that you should feel proud of yourself and validated.
Or, if your book gets skipped by all the buzz and recognition, you should feel ignored, like you must be a social leper, and start a frenzy of marketing efforts on Twitter, Facebook, and that blog you don’t really like anyway. Yes, you can feel proud of your book, and happy that people are interpreting it in a positive way, or on the other hand, sad that your book is being ignored, because something must have gone wrong along the way. But it’s not you. It never was. Unless you’ve been completely nasty to everybody involved, they haven’t blacklisted your book.
(3) If you’re absolutely convinced that you’re not in fact a social leper, and your blog is the greatest thing to grace the internet, this must be why people have fallen head over heels for your brilliant writing.
Or, if you are part of the leper colony, you gaze enviously at super-popular authors with massive followings and presumably equally massive book sales. If only people liked you better, then they would like your book. Okay, let’s be honest: why do you read blogs? Because you like the blogger, and learning more about their life. Or if it’s a more craft-oriented blog, they have useful knowledge to share. And if your favorite blogger writes a book, you’re more likely to read it, hoping their skill at blogging and their scintillating personality might have rubbed off. But there’s no guarantee that it will. And who cares if you loved a book and–gasp–the author doesn’t blog. Blogging, and by extension personality, does not equal a good book. Period.
(4) If you’re having a fantastic time drafting a book, maybe under contract, or revising your book to suit a mountain of editorial notes, that means you’re extra efficient and, I daresay, a writing genius. I mean, everything is going so easily!
Or, if you have to wring words from your brain like water from a damp towel in the Sahara, that means you suck. And if reading your editorial notes wants to make you cry, that also means you suck. If only you possessed a more pure, innocent desire to write. But alas, it’s been tainted by deadlines and external pressure, and you have Failed. Seriously? It’s a job. You want to get it done, and get it done right, so you can admit if you’re tired or stressed or elated, but the book is going to be the book. Readers won’t know how you wrote it. Well, unless you’re one of those bloggers who spills their guts…
(5) If you’re a lead title at your publisher, and your editor, agent, publicist, and entire marketing team raves about your book, that means they all adore you. Well, of course you’re raking in the dough for them, but they love you.
Or, if you’re solidly in the midlist, or maybe the underbelly of the midlist, you watch your book get trampled as people stampede toward the bigger, shinier titles. You feel like crap. You feel like your editor is ignoring you, and your agent surely thinks you’re neurotic. Maybe you are neurotic. You circle over your book’s sales numbers like a vulture, worrying that they spell Impending Doom. To be perfectly honest, you probably will get a lot less attention if you’re an author with a small-fry book–but that doesn’t mean you’re a small-fry author. You can always write another, bigger book. And even if this bigger book isn’t big enough, that says nothing about people’s feelings toward you. It’s business.
In conclusion, you are not your book. Try to remember that. I will, too.
I received an ARC of Abandon from the publisher, and was intrigued enough by the premise to dive in. It’s marketed as “the myth of Persephone… darkly reimagined.”
For those not familiar with the myth, Persephone is the daughter of Zeus, King of the Gods, and Demeter, Goddess of the Harvest. While Persephone is out in a meadow, picking flowers or something, a chasm splits the earth and out rides Hades, God of the Dead and King of the Underworld. He wants her to become his bride, so he abducts her and drags her down to the Underworld. While down in the Underworld, Hades tricks Persephone into doing what a living soul should never do in the Land of the Dead–eating some of the food. She swallows about five pomegranate seeds (it depends on the retelling), and these seeds force her to return to the Underworld for that many months out of the year. Her mother, Demeter, gets so upset each time that she makes the earth barren while her daughter is gone. Hence, the seasons.
Now, before you cry, “Spoilers!” and clap your hands over your eyes, Abandon most definitely reimagines this myth. That is, even if you know the myth inside and out, the book deviates far from that story and inserts metaphors of its own. Persephone, in this case, is Pierce Oliviera, the daughter of the short-tempered CEO of a huge corporation and a scientist/philanthropist obsessed with saving the habitat of the roseate spoonbill. Not exactly Zeus and Demeter, though now that I think about it, there are some subtle parallels. And yes, Pierce dies and comes back. But there’s no pomegranate, and Hades… well, we have tall, dark, and silver-eyed John Hayden, who spends a fair amount of the book being wild and mysterious.
While reading Abandon, I enjoyed my time on Isla Huesos, a lushly described island south of Florida with deathly secrets of its own, and kept wondering when we would know more about John’s past–most of his personality is mystery. The story intrigued me with its hints of bigger things to come, but when I got to the end, the bigger things still hadn’t come. It feels like the real story doesn’t start till book two. Sigh. I’ll be checking out the sequel, though I wish Abandon could have promised less and given more. Overall, a skillfully-written story with appeal for fans of Becca Fitzpatrick’s Hush, Hush.
So I got something in the mail yesterday that I decided not to share until today, unless you guys thought I was pulling another April Fool’s prank. Without further ado, here it is:
Want it? Add it on Goodreads.
I’m thrilled to be able to at long last reveal my work in progress. I’ve been working on it in secret for a long, long time. At last, it sees the light of day!
In a dystopian world ravaged by nuclear war, only true love can’t be stomped out…
In the year 2305, humans are ancient history. Only the strongest survive in a world where radiation can kill at any moment, food is scarce, and falling in love may be the last thing you ever do. But love is exactly what KL-86 finds. She is a RoaBot, an insectoid cyborg, her titanium exoskeleton matched only by her determination to live. While exploring the ruins of Seattle, a prime location to scavenge, KL-86 discovers a RoaBot from a rival clan: AJ-88, an outcast among his kind. AJ-88 made the mistake of hoarding food, an offense punishable by death. KL-86 should feel no mercy in terminating him, but when they brush antennae for the first time, she feels something she has never felt before… the stirrings of passion. Can KL-86 balance duty with true love–and survive in a world where hatred is more toxic than radioactive fallout?
(For more information, Googling “Periplaneta” should suffice. April Fool’s!)