Thursday, February 22, 2007

Crudeli Cieli!

I don't have class today because of some kind of faculty meeting at the school, so I'm hoping to get more work done (in addition to grocery shopping). If I'm really, really good, I might finish this round of revisions tonight or maybe tomorrow. I'll probably do one more pass, at least on the trouble spots that I'm not totally happy with.

I'm currently in a phase where it's probably best that I live alone. When I get like this in a book, I tend to wander around muttering to myself, playing out scenes in different ways in my head and sometimes even saying the dialogue out loud. Or I'll sit, just staring into space, while I think about what to do. Meanwhile, the next song I'm learning is in Italian. It's rather high and fast and kind of angry. I catch myself randomly shaking my fists in the air and saying, "Crudeli cieli!" (cruel heavens) In fact, that's become my new favorite curse. It's a lot more colorful than "damn."

I've also finished the books I'm judging. I'm feeling like my perspective has been skewed by being in the middle of revisions while I'm reading because I checked Amazon reviews for these books, just out of curiosity, and found tons of raves for the ones I kind of hated. For one book, I was able to dismiss some of the reviews because it looked like all of the author's family and friends had posted reviews (some familiarity in the way they talked about the author, some repetition of phrases), but then there was one from a person I actually know from real life, and I tend to trust her judgment. So maybe I have a hard time not being ultra-critical as a reader when I'm in a phase of being ultra-critical of my own writing. I think I'm going to have to judge based on measurement against a set of ideals rather than on my own taste as a reader, since my tastes tend to be far from the mainstream. For instance, in almost any romance novel, I usually like the hero's best friend or brother better than I like the hero as a match for the heroine. That's one reason why I gravitated to chick lit. In chick lit books, the guy who'd usually be the hero of a romance novel is often the jerk who breaks her heart, and the guy who in a romance novel would be the buddy is the one she actually ends up with. Then in the sequel to the romance novel, that buddy character will be the hero, and I'll no longer like him because he'll be acting like a romance hero.

In addition to getting groceries, it looks like I'm going to have to buy envelopes to mail out these advance copies. My office looks like a stationery store with all the envelopes I've got lying around (or like the city dump), with just about every shape or size -- except what I need. I don't know how I do it.

When the book is done, I'll have to think of some quiz questions for giving away the rest of the books. I also need to start thinking of promotional ideas that aren't "preaching to the choir." I'm afraid that I've already reached all the people I'm capable of reaching and am now just keeping the congregation fired up, and all my rabid fans have already told everyone they know. The challenge is jumping outside that circle and starting the cycle again to keep building the audience. That's the key in publishing, growing numbers. They want each book to sell better than the one before it. But with a series, that can be challenging because your readership mostly consists of people who read the previous books. Unless those people found the earlier books at the library or used bookstore or borrowed them from a friend and then go on to actually buy the later books new, you're more likely to get a flat line than a growth curve unless a lot of people stumble on the series in mid-stream. And I should stop worrying about that right now and work on the book. I can worry about publicity next week.

I already do know of a way that we'll be giving away early copies of book 4, and I'll be announcing that soon ... That one may help spread the reach.

In the meantime, I'll promote other authors. We've got another Out of the Blogosphere book that will probably appeal to those of you who like CSI and things that go bump in the night, Blood Secrets by Vivi Anna.

A young human woman is found ritualistically murdered in a downtown Necropolis hotel. It is up to Caine Valorian, a 200-year-old vampire, and his Otherworld Crime Unit to solve the unusual crime, and quickly before the human press can jump onto the story and cause a panic. To add to their already tough case, a new member, Eve Grant, transfers to their lab at the request of the mayor. Not only is she green and eager to impress the boss, but she's human. The first human ever to work in an Otherworld unit.

Caine has his work cut out for him, especially with his unruly team who don't appreciate any help from a human. Not only is this the toughest case of his career, but he's unusually attracted to the new girl, which can only cause trouble for them all. However, as they sink deeper and deeper into the workings of the case, Caine and Eve become closer and closer. So close that neither of them can see past each other to the real happenings behind the scenes. The more they poke and prod at the case, the more they realize that something is going on, that this murder is only one step toward a greater purpose. Someone in the Otherworld community is calling on dark forces, in a plot to wipe out the entire human population.

For info, visit the Valorian Chronicles web site.

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