Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tick. Tick. Tick.

That's the mental clock in my head counting down the days to the ROCK PAPER TIGER official release date (June 1 if you don't have this engraved in your brainpan like I do). I got a bit of a jolt today when several friends emailed and texted me to let me know that Amazon is shipping the book about two weeks early. Eek! I guess this is a pretty common occurrence, so we're still going to pretend that the release date is June 1.

What happens after that? Well, a couple of things for sure. First, I'll be doing guest appearances on a number of blogs (details to be announced as I, um, figure them out). Second, I'll be going on an honest-to-dog, actual, non-virtual book tour! I don't mean I'll be blanketing the country or anything (at least not that I know of), but I'll be appearing in venues throughout California and in a few other places besides...details posted as I get them, on the calendar in the "News" section of my website.

(about that Phoenix date...Arizona, you'd better freakin' come to your senses about that awful immigration bill, and that's all I'm going to say about it for now)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Big Giant Head...

Well, okay, I haven't exactly followed through on my blogging resolutions (though I have accumulated a few more really cute cat photos for Friday). But it's been a pretty interesting week in my writing life.

I knew PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY would be reviewing ROCK PAPER TIGER. I'd done a Q & A for them a little over a month ago, so I was pretty optimistic it would be a decent review. Still, this is new territory for me—another one of those aspects of being a soon-to-be published author that you can think you're prepared for, but until you experience it, well, you're not. I had a nice review come in from Library Journal a few weeks ago (you can read it here), but this is like, you know how when you go to Amazon or Barnes & Nobel and look up a book and it says "Editorial Reviews" and under that it says "From Publisher's Weekly"?

It feels very official.

The fiction reviews come out on Mondays. I woke up at 5:30 Monday AM and thought, should I look or wait till I'm awake?

I decided to get it over with.

Here's the review...It's a good one...and the little red star matches my website.

(okay, I'm not going to lie...getting the star was really awesome!)

Here's the Q & A, which was surprisingly fun to do. It was a phone interview, and in spite of my nerves and general incoherence, I had a great time talking about the book. I don't do too well when asked, "what's your book about?" but it seems that I can talk about it if someone asks me specific questions.

I found out from my lovely editor at Soho that the print version features a photo of me. A friend of mine had a hard copy and scanned the pages for me. Sure enough, taking up a good chunk of real estate at the bottom of the page is my head shot, sort of floating in the text.

It's weird, in a way. I mean, it's kind of weird to enter that whole zone where your image is something separate from yourself—but that's a part of the deal of being an author in the 21st century, and it's not like I don't have some experience with that kind of thing (I mean, hey, I worked in Film/TV). I guess what's really the weirdest thing about it for me is that this is something I've pursued for such a long time—not having a photo of myself in a magazine, but the whole dream of publication. And, whoah, here it is.

I guess I never thought it would actually happen. Or I never really thought about what it would be like if it did. It wasn't something I could really imagine. Maybe I never really tried.

I've been around creative industries and endeavors for a long time. I've told myself for years and years...don't expect a miracle. Don't believe the hype, the myth of instant, overwhelming success. That's not how it happens. One small success doesn't guarantee anything beyond just that.

So okay, I'm still being realistic here. This is just one step (albeit a big one). I have a lot of work to do on my so-called career. For example, a second book that is doing its level best to kill me that I hope is going to turn out okay. It's a struggle.

It's also more fun than I thought it would be.

As a p.s., the San Diego Padres are in first place in the National League West. Truly, it is an age of miracles!

Friday, April 09, 2010

My working method..

I know I promised that I'd be upping the output here, and I definitely plan on taking up some of the suggestions I've been getting --and please, if there's a topic you'd like me to address, just let me know! Put a quarter in. I'll do my best. But right now I'm still running a little behind and am short a few brain-cells. So I thought maybe I'd talk a little bit about how I work. Because a lot of the writers' blogs I read deal with craft and method and, you know, how they write stuff. The problem is, I suck at talking about it, because there really aren't any grand principles, so it's all about tedious detail.

Perhaps instead, a photographic illustration...


And for another angle:

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


The way my writing has gone lately, my first drafts have been long, drawn out affairs, slow and painful to write. Part of the reason is that because I tend to develop the idea at the same time that I'm writing, my focus is a little sketchy. I'm researching, thinking, writing a bit, researching some more.

My first draft is like a really detailed outline and emotional sketch; it's not generally altogether focused and/or complete. But I can see the framework that I have and work with it, and though I still get frustrated at points, it isn't generally the blood oozing from my pores experience of a brutal first draft, where I don't really know what's happening a lot of the time.

The flip-side is, when I start revising a project that's gone this way, that's when I really get obsessive—when I'm in deep Revisionland, I am pretty useless for just about anything else, except regular showers, and that's only because showers help me think.

I'm okay with side projects if I have a specific deadline and somebody tells me what it is I need to do, but the creative, independent thinking part is pretty taken up with trying to get the current big WIP in decent shape.

I really should be blogging in the weeks leading up to my novel release, but I'm low on ideas. So if anyone's reading after my long hiatus, here's the deal: if you have suggestions/requests for topics, fire away—otherwise I'm going to be posting a lot of cute pictures of cats. Not that there's anything wrong with that.