I'm Going to Graceland
I can't stop thinking of Paul Simon singing, "I'm going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee." Because I am too, I said real thrilled! (Channeling Junie B. Jones here). Well, Memphis, anyway. Before I tell you more, can we all just offer up a collective wish that Paul's people see the above, send me a cease and desist for my copyright infringement, casting me into the national spotlight, and resulting in ten thousand new subscribers to this newsletter? K? You've made your wish? Thank you.
So, why am I going to Memphis? Let me write the five little words that every author wants to write--and that this particular author, yours truly, has wanted to write for close to two decades. Here goes. Because my publisher is sending me. Yup, it's true. Car to the airport and all. Winter Institute, one of publishing and bookselling's biggest shindigs of the year, is happening, and assuming the creek don't rise and the plane flies safe, I will take part in it.
First an author reception where as many as 1000 booksellers gather to have advance copies of books signed. An interview for a feature in one of my very favorite industry publications. Dinner with my wonderful Sourcebooks team and other select guests. Maybe some other things I am not recalling at the moment because I haven't been on a plane in nine years, traveled by air on my own since lo about 1992, and am not even packed. I'm trying to figure out what I'm allowed to take, or not allowed to take. Don't the bottles have to be Alice-in-Wonderland-drink-me small these days? Won't my shoes need to be slipped off and back on without me huffing and puffing? (What? Doesn't everybody huff and puff when they pull on their super fashionable AKA too-tight-around-the-calves boots?)
I am thrilled to be the inaugural guest of a series on The Thrill Begins, ITW's 'zine for debut authors, called Deal Diary. It kicked off last week with my first entry, which will give you more tidbits about my upcoming trip, and other aspects of being less than four months out from the release of my fourth book.
I've been giving a lot of thought to the marketing and publicity campaign that my publisher is creating. It's pretty spectacular, and I'll share more details about it in upcoming editions of this newsletter.
But for now, I'd like to ask an underlying question, which is, Why? Why is this book getting the kind of attention I've dreamed of? Is it how creative and outside-today's-boxes my new publisher is? Is the book itself "better" or "bigger" in some way than my others?
Early readers, reviewers, and booksellers have told me that it is. Certainly Wicked River is the most personal and from-the-heart novel I've ever written. I haven't told you all much about it, but Wicked River actually starts with an incident from my own life. The book is about a couple that sets off on a back country honeymoon, the same trip my husband and I tried and failed to take after we got married.
What happens to Natalie, my heroine, on her journey is very different from what happened to me. My ill-fated first honeymoon became a good story to tell at parties (or upcoming book events), not the stuff of a suspense novel. [Spoiler: we bailed out of the woods and went to Paris instead.]
But Natalie has to venture deep into her own heart of darkness in order to build her marriage, and that isn't very different at all from the soul searching I had to do, that we all have to do, when we make that huge leap from being a single person to one half of a married couple.
In this issue's Spotlight, please meet one of the most creative and game-understanding indie authors I know. And he's funny too. Read on...
A startling sound. Pain rippled through my head like I’d been stabbed with a shiv. Blood. Lots of blood. So much blood that I thought I might pass out.
Or was that due to the lack of sleep?
The thud against the window had created a chain reaction that would change my course in life. At first, I flinched. Who wouldn’t? It was just after one a.m., the house as still as a funeral home. I also happened to be biting into a pretzel. The timing was impeccable, and I proceeded to take a chunk out of my lip.
I flipped on the porch light and found a dead bird just below the office window. Poor sucker. Then again, I felt like my spine had been crunched like an aluminum can under the weight of a car tire—it was actually more like the weight of my own expectations.
As blood swirled in my mouth, it was at that moment that I made the decision to stop pursuing author trophies—aka bestseller lists. My life, my family couldn’t take the pressure. I made it my mission to create a plan to make a living as a writer. New York Times be damned. When ON Edge launched on November 28, it will have been the first of six Ozzie Novak thrillers to be released by mid-March.
Pursuing affirmation is no longer my game. I’m here to write, market, and make money at something I love, even if I need a weekly transfusion.
A teaser until next timeCliffhanger time, because in my next letter, I'm gonna have the bestest news to share. (Still channeling Junie B.). And it starts with what a cow says and ends with V-I-E. Get it?
OK, I gotta fly—literally—but am so excited to talk with you all next time. If I'm a little delayed in responding because I'm away, please forgive me, because your emails and Tweets and FB messages after one of these letters goes out is probably the biggest joy for me of writing them.
Love from the Hills of Wedeskyull,