I guess I'm not as self-aware as I like to think I am because it wasn't until last night that I realized why I've felt a little bummed this week, even though I should have been excited to have a book out. It's because something important has been missing from the experience: my friend Rosa. A quick recap for those who are relatively new here (you can read the whole story here): Rosa was the friend I dedicated Enchanted, Inc. to because it was largely her enthusiasm and support that pushed me to write and submit it. She never doubted it would be published. She also read every chapter of Once Upon Stilettos as I wrote it. A lot of the fun surrounding the release of the last book was her enthusiasm. She was possibly even more excited about it than I was (then again, she was usually a lot more excited about just about everything than most people are). She was freaked out when she found out I dedicated the book to her (I now wish I'd saved that message on my cell phone's voice mail), and I think she dragged everyone she knew to the bookstore to make them buy the book. Sadly, she lost her fight with cancer just before Christmas, so she didn't get to see this book in the stores. She was a long-distance friend, so sometimes the loss isn't felt quite as keenly until a situation occurs where I feel like she should be there, and then it's like it hits me all over again. It's a double-whammy effect because the fun isn't as much fun without being able to share it with her, and then that reminds me of the loss, making me sad in the process.
I think that also has a lot to do with why this third book has been a bit of a struggle for me. Not only is the emotional difficulty there, but it also disrupted my writing pattern because I don't have her feedback. And yeah, this book is a little darker and more angsty than I usually write, which is appropriate at this stage in the story, I think.
In other, happier, news, I found out I got a really nice review in Booklist. I've also started hearing from more readers, and it sounds like I'm responsible for a dip in workplace productivity this week from too many people staying up all night reading.
I'm one to talk because I've been doing some late-night reading, myself. I've been reading His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik, and although the sequel to it came out the same day as my book, I'm restraining myself from buying it until I get all my deadlines met because I know I'll be tempted to drop everything and read. It's like Horatio Hornblower with dragons! How can you not like that? Basically, it's an alternate history fantasy in which there's an air force for the Napoleonic Wars, and the air force is made up of dragons. The bigger dragons get rigged out like they're B-52s, with whole crews of gunners and bombers. The dragons are such great characters. Now I want one. It's like having a combo best friend/pet/form of transportation. Temeraire, the dragon main character, makes my Saturn really look pathetic in the conversation department. Sadly, I don't think my patio is big enough to house a dragon, and my neighbors might object. Yes, Mom, I'll bring my copy with me when I visit. Dad will probably like it, too. I got this one by asking Ballantine nicely (one of those perks of being an author), but I'll buy the next two because I feel like I should practice what I preach about supporting books and authors I like.