Guess What They Called Me in 6th Grade?
Remember how it was before the pendulum swung way too far in terms of trying to boost kids' self-esteem and everyone started getting a trophy just for showing up to soccer practice? (This has no positive effect on self-esteem, by the way. Kids can smell who really deserves a trophy). But I digress. Anyway, back in the day, teachers could be the ones to call the kids names, and my reading teacher deemed me "Motor Mouth". I guess I talked a lot in class.
The memory came back because I recently got asked to give a talk to a women’s club and they offered a speaking fee. Writing is a capricious biz and some years I get two advance checks, while others I…don’t. Until an author really breaks out, and has a healthy, growing backlist of titles—the two states related, but not synonymous—she or he can’t usually live off royalties.
So a track as a public speaker just might be a good path as I build my career as an author.
Breaking Out at the Atlanta Writers Conference
The only thing harder than getting your first book published is getting your second, then your third—and so on and so on, as the shampoo commercial went. Next month I’ll be giving a workshop at the Atlanta Writer's Conference on How to Break Out as an Author. To my mind, we haven’t had a breakout author besides Liane Moriarty in years. And don’t say, Of course we have, didn’t you read Girl on a Train?
That was a phenom book, and here’s why. Were you able to read a follow-up to GOAT that recaptured what you liked about the original, while elevating it just a notch? And can you look forward to reading another such next year, and the year after that? Lee Child. Louise Penny. CJ Box and Steve Berry. Jodi Picoult. That’s what I mean by a breakout author. And for a fascinating blend of phenom and breakout—David Morrell.
Where I've been this April
This month I spoke at the most wonderful luncheon to support the Moffat Library in Washingtonville, NY.
And then I appeared at my cousin’s book club, which is part of a wellness initiative to have employees of the organization where my cousin works do fun, bonding activities. Cool place to work, huh?
So About that Speaking Career
I write pretty un-funny books—nothing humorous in a stake going through a character’s foot or a poor, barbecued chipmunk—but when I get to talking about taking my family on what Shelf Awareness called the world's longest book tour or how my three week honeymoon only lasted one day, people laugh.
They also say they leave my talks inspired. Something about going through thirteen years of rejection—and then getting to a place where I get to write to all of you—offers hope for everyone who struggles in some way.
And we all do that, right?
Talking Point #1—why the faces we wear on Facebook hide what we should be sharing.
When a Girl is a Boy Scout—and author to boot!
I’ve been a tech geek ever since I was a little girl and an honorary member of a Boy Scout troop that met to write computer code. I lived in Tokyo in the time of dial-up modems and floppy disks. The internet was unregulated and unruly, a free-for-all where lawlessness reigned.
Tokyo Firewall is set in the midst of that turbulent era. Alison Crane, an American lawyer suffering from culture shock in Japan, tiptoes onto the brand new digital frontier looking for friendship only to find trouble when a twisted cyberstalker targets her. As her troll’s attacks intensify, Alison must parlay her legal smarts and budding computer skills to stand her ground, or she’ll lose her only sources of freedom…and maybe her life.
Nowadays, modems are now wireless, and floppy disks have been replaced by SD cards. But Alison’s technological misadventures foreshadow issues grabbing headlines today—digital privacy, online sexual predators, and cybercrime.
One reader told me that after she finished my book, she upgraded the passwords on her computer. Another said she got a passport. I hope readers will learn a little bit about online security, a little bit about Tokyo, and enjoy fast-paced suspense!
Talk to Me
Or ask me to talk to you—and your group!
As I go about the process of putting together a speaker’s reel and launching my new website, I’d love to hear any tips you might have.
And if you are part of a group that would like to hear why everything I needed to learn for living life, I got out of thirteen years of rejection…well, I’d love to tell you!
Love from the Hills of Wedeskyull,