Tag: publishing

Happy Birthday To My Baby!

Unconditionally

My book baby. What did you think I meant?

Yes, today is the day where my newest book baby, Unconditionally, goes out into the world.

Turns out a second book is a lot like a second child – with the first one, you’re waiting on pins and needles, counting every day. With the second, the time goes by so much faster because the first one is keeping you so busy.

(I can see you rolling your eyes that I’m comparing a book release to the miracle of having a child. And you’re right – it isn’t the same – a book release is a *much* bigger deal. Just kidding. Calm down.)

So, go forth, little book. Here’s hoping you make people laugh, bring some smiles, a few tingles, and maybe even convince a few people not to go to law school. Momma loves you ❤Unconditionally Close-up

 

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All’s Fair in Love and Book Reviews.

I read an article by an author who said never – never – read reviews of your book online.

Okay, but did he mean like never ever? Or just kind of never? Because never seems sort of impossible, right? (For a slightly neurotic, first-time author like me it proved to be, anyway.)

And I looked. That’s right. I read them all.

Here’s the funny thing about reviews of your book – a good review makes you smile and puts a spring in your step. For about a day.

A bad review is like that popcorn kernel that gets stuck between your tooth and gum that you can’t seem to dislodge no matter how hard you try…because the popcorn kernel is in your soul. Giving you something to poke at late at night when you’re trying to sleep.

So even though there are substantially more good reviews out there, the few bad ones are the ones that got under my skin. Which is probably why that author said DO NOT READ THEM! A-ha. If only I had the ability to listen to sage advice when it is presented to me.

Oh well. Some of the good ones make it all worth while.

Lisa over at LostInLit called it “Hilarious, Witty and Quite Charming.” And Lisa (I know – I’m winning with ‘Lisas”!) over at LisaLovesLiterature gave it 5 stars! And Becky on Goodreads said I “hit it out of the park!” Megan over at ReadingBooksLikeaBoss added me to her “Book Recommendations” tab! And then I found this young woman who goes by The Lone Reader who did a very funny and enthusiastic video blog about it. If I can make anyone rattle on that fast about my book, I certainly should be able to overlook a few naysayers.

So if *you* have read my book – and liked it – please leave me a review 🙂  (And I’ll try to keep myself from reading it). If you read it and didn’t like it – my name is spelled N-i-c-h-o-l-a-s-S-p-a-r-k-s. Be sure to get that part right.

 

Defacing Public Property.

img_20161028_171652Okay. It was actually a book signing. But it was my *first* book signing so it seemed a little strange that people wanted me to write in a perfectly good book.

Last Friday I was fortunate enough to take part in the author reception at the Fall Discovery Show held by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association. So…lots of authors and lots of booksellers. Or something like that. It was a blast.

My favorite comment of the night was a young woman that hurried over to my table to tell me that she had read the description of my book and that she “had to find me” because my book was something she “needed in her life.” I know, right? Super cool. And I’m pretty sure she didn’t confuse me with someone else, so I’ve got that going for me.

Funniest comment of the night: someone said “So?? What do you like better? When you were an attorney or now, being a writer?”

To which I replied (likely with little grace, thanks to the two glasses of wine): “Oh, I’m still a lawyer.”

They replied (with what seemed genuine astonishment) “Really?”

Yeah. Really. “I’m pretty sure a lot of authors have to keep their day jobs,” I said. “Unless you have a dream about pale, sparkly, teenage vampires!”

Okay. I didn’t say the part about sparkly vampires – but I thought it. But, for all those authors, working the day job and moonlighting as a writer? I gotta say, seeing my actual book in actual print…made all that moonlight worth it.

So, This Happened.

Galley Cover

Just like that. I have a title. And a cover. And a description that is a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster in that it’s partially my original story pitch and partly what “they” came up with (whoever “they” are that tinker with these things at the publishing houses).

So, sure, it felt pretty real when I got the deal. And it felt a little more real when I signed the contracts. And then it felt realer still when I got that first advance check.

But, I must say, this sort of hit a new level of “oh my god – this is really happening!” Which is a pretty good level.

And, about the time the actual book cover showed up on my publisher’s website (Forge is part of Macmillan), it showed up for PRE-ORDER on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and even popped up on Goodreads!

Oh – and I now have my official release date: January 10, 2017.

So, I’m gonna ride this high until I get my copies of the galley (Advance Reading Copies) and am actually holding a copy of my book in my hands and then I’ll write a post about how that’s the realest real yet! I know. You can hardly wait.

Look at it this way…I’ll probably be a lot cooler on my next go-round. But this time? I’m gonna enjoy every, little, teeny, tiny step. Because it took about 15 years to get here 😉

As Yet Untitled.

Insert-Title-Here

For those of you that don’t know – I’m going to give you the five-cent description of my novel. It is, at its heart, a romantic comedy about Kate Shaw, a 30-something starting over as a new lawyer (don’t get carried away drawing author parallels – besides, I’m 40-something). The twist is that, in this slight alternate reality – marriage doesn’t exist. All relationships are based on 7-year contracts which can renew or expire (or, more likely, wind up breached). So, much like there are men in our world who only date married women, this world has similar men who only date women already under contract. These men are called…wait for it…contract killers. Get it? (And yes, I realize women can be contract killers, too.) But, beyond this, it’s about Kate and her funny love life and her even funnier lawyer life.

Okay. Long story short, The Contract Killers was the name of Book 1 of the trilogy. The concern has been raised that this title sounds too thiller-y and might mislead the potential audience. So we need to <gasp> RE-TITLE the book. (Cue the Death Star music.)

While I loved my original title, I definitely see the need to change it. But how? I’ve spit-balled about 30 suggestions at my agent and editor but nothing is hitting home. So, while my manuscript is already in copy-editing and art is working up the cover design – I HAVE NO TITLE. Which is giving me anxiety.

So now – I’m putting it out to you. Because you are brilliant and creative, and had the perfect title all along that you didn’t even know you had. And because you want to be sure I include your name in my acknowledgments.

 

 

It’s Official! My Agent Just Accepted a Two-Book Deal From Tor/Forge Publishing!

Man, this writing thing is a long and winding road. And this is the moment you dream of but doubt will ever actually happen…the book deal.

I was lucky enough to gain representation from the amazing Michelle Wolfson of Wolfson Literary and now we officially have a book deal! We just signed a deal with Tor Publishing for the first two books of my trilogy, The Contract Killers. (Which, despite the title, is actually a funny romance with a twist.)

So this wanna-be published author just became a gonna-be published author and dreams really do come true if you stick with it long enough and never give up.

Damn it, Mom. You missed it by four months. And you believed this moment would happen more than anyone. I ❤ you always.

I’m a Huge Fan of Stereotypes.

So I showed my husband my new blog and he laughed when he saw my banner photo.  “Um.  I’m not sure what you’re trying to tell people when they go to your blog.”  I said, “what?  I love that picture.  I took that from one foot away on the Louisiana swamp.”  He replied, “yeah, I know where you took it. I was there.”  True story.  He was sitting next to me.  We were in a six-seater airboat on the swamp and our guide was feeding marshmallows to the alligators.  And this little guy apparently really likes marshmallows because he came right up to the side of the boat and posed for this picture.  Or it could have been the weird distressed-baby-alligator sounds the guide was making in his throat since, apparently, big alligators think baby alligators are very tasty.  Either way, I guess he was looking for a snack.

Okay.  I’m off-topic.  Why the alligator?  Because I’m a lawyer and I didn’t have a cool, close-up photo of a shark.

“I’m So Happy For You!” and Other Lies We Tell to Avoid Looking Like a Petty, Jealous Asshole.

Image

I say “I’m so happy for you!” constantly.  The good, selfless part of me means it implicitly.  The other 90% of me, however, probably only means it if it was something I didn’t want, anyway.

“You’re pregnant?  I’m so happy for you!”  Totally genuine.  Thank God it’s not me.  “You’ve decided to go to law school?  I’m so happy for you!”  Having doubts about your intelligence, but still, mostly genuine (even more so if I don’t really like you and I know that you will be hating yourself and the world in general for the next three to four years).  “You’ve decided to give up drinking?  I’m so happy for you!”  Genuine (and we likely won’t be hanging out any time soon).

“You’re being published?  I’m so happy for you!”  Basically waiting for lightening to strike me down in the middle of my kitchen.  Like I said, 10% of me?  Actually pleased for your good fortune.  90% of me?  Petty, jealous asshole.  Who wants it to be me, not you.  Who wants to know how someone could have picked you over me. Who, thankfully, is a skilled actress who can pretend the shit out of being happy for you.  Cause 10% of me is. (Yes, yes, I know.  I really need to work on my asshole ratio.  It’s on my to-do list.)

Top 10 Things *Not* to Include In Your Query Letter.

10.  That you dream of being as talented as Nicholas Sparks.  (Yes, this is personal bias.  I hate him.)

9.   That you’ve wallpapered the guest bedroom with rejection letters.  (It’s possible I’ve done this – but I’m not going to tell them.)

8.   That your mom thinks you’re an amazing writer.

7.   That you feel certain all 10 ladies in your Bunko group will run out and buy your book.

6.   That between your 35 Twitter followers and 275 Facebook friends, you’ve got a solid marketing platform.

5.   That your college roommate’s cousin (who you met 10 years ago) babysat Stephanie Meyer’s kid – so you’ve totally got connections.  (FYI – Stephanie Meyer is that Mormon chick that had a dream about a vampire in a meadow and now is a gazillionaire.  Seriously.)

4.   That your characters are really “right now” and that “there’s nothing else out there like it.”  (Okay – this has nothing to do with writing, but there is a show called “Men at Work” (on…TBS maybe?) that ran promos where the actors talked about what was so *great* about the show and the a-hole in glasses says, “all the characters are so right now and I don’t think there’s anything else like that on TV.”  Right now??  Are you effing kidding me?  That promo gives me rage.  I can barely handle the promos for the stupid show – let alone sitting through an episode.  But I digress.  Don’t say that about your book.  Period.)

3.   That this is a “limited time offer.”  A limited time offer till what?  You decide to go the highly-successful, incredibly lucrative self-publishing route?  Please.  When Mary-Jo from Po-Dunk Literary Agency in Beaver, Iowa, asks to read your manuscript, you’ll send it off to her and pop the champagne you bought on sale at Wal-Mart for just this occasion. (Disclaimer: no offense to the approximately 48 residents of Beaver, Iowa.  I’m sure it’s a lovely town.  I’m an attorney.  I should be writing a book called “CYA.”)

2.   This is a guaranteed best-seller!  A) Never guarantee shit; B) Best-sellers are like The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver or The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks…meaning either you’d never be able to write something that good or you’d never want to create something so God-awful…respectively; C) I made no secret of my feelings toward Nicholas Sparks…and seriously?  The Poisonwood Bible?  She has one character smarter than I’ll ever be and I’m fairly certain I can’t write a character smarter than me.  Unless I’ve had at least three glasses of wine.

1.   That you look forward to hearing from them.  Cause you won’t.  Unless it’s one of the agencies that answer everyone, in which case, you will get that delightful “thanks, but no thanks” letter, which, I will say, makes excellent wallpaper.