A Story is born at Bishop O'Connell's blog: A Quiet Pint

I don’t usually write too many guest posts nowadays, but Bishop is a very special person, who bends over backwards to help others. He kindly offered me a spot on his blog to kick off his new series, A Story is Born, and I couldn’t say no.

At Bishop’s blog, I tell you how my Los Nefilim series came about, and I also talk about how to deal with rejections, especially for those stories that are close to our hearts:

In the beginning …

King Solomon was dying. That was how the first incarnation of Los Nefilim began. It went something like this:

In the garden beyond my window, a night bird cried a sublime song while in the distance, a guard called the watch. Otherwise, the palace slept as I, Solomon, third King of all Israel, lay dying with only an angel at my side.

She was a small creature, this angel of mine who cradled my hand, her wings folded demurely at her back. When I was a young man, the tip of her head barely reached my collarbone. Now she towered over my deathbed. She seemed larger somehow; an illusion amplified by the darkness and my fear of the dark.

Except that book didn’t sell … [Read the rest at A Quiet Pint]

A few updates on the newsletter, cover art for Carved from Stone and Dream, and AtomaCon

I’ve been primarily posting on Twitter, but I know not everyone follows me there, so here are a few tidbits you might have missed:

The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog gave Carved from Stone and Dream a cover launch last week. See Second Verse: Revealing Carved from Stone and Dream for the new cover and a very brief excerpt from the upcoming novel’s prologue.

Pre-orders are love, so if you’re really looking forward to Carved from Stone and Dream, please consider pre-ordering the book from your favorite retailer. I usually send people to the HarperCollins website, because they have links to all the places, including IndieBound. Pre-orders help my publisher gauge interest in the novel, and those numbers also count toward my first week of sales so if you can, please pre-order.

Newsletter subscribers can look forward to a much longer excerpt from Carved from Stone and Dream that will feature everyone’s favorite long suffering spouse, Miquel. That nugget will be coming to your email boxes soon. If you haven’t already subscribed, go to my home page and subscribe by the end of this week so you can be in loop! If you’re worried about being inundated with weekly updates, never fear—you won’t be getting those from me. My newsletters are often related to news and events, and you can unsubscribe at any time, and my feelings won’t be hurt … okay, maybe a little, but that’s okay, I’ll get over it.

On November 22-24, I’ll be attending AtomaCon in Charleston, SC. The guest of honor this year is Myke Cole and the special author guest is Faith Hunter. It’ll be a great weekend, and I hope to see you if you’re down that way. AtomaCon will be my last con for 2019.

Book plates with some kick. I’m working with Jihane Mossalim to design original art for book plates that I can sign and send out to people outside the states. Newsletter subscribers will be the first to see these, so you know the drill … go ahead and subscribe if you haven’t already.

Signed copies of Where Oblivion Lives are at:

WhereOblivionLives.jpg

Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC has ONE SIGNED COPY. If you go to their website and scroll down, you can find their email address—they do ship books.

Barnes and Nobel at the Friendly Center, 3102 Northline Avenue, Greensboro, NC 27408 — 336-854-4200 has TWO SIGNED COPIES. I couldn’t locate an email address for the B&N at Friendly, but their phone number is there if you want to see if they’ll ship a copy to you.

I redesigned the website a little bit in order to make things easier to find. I streamlined my sources so that if you want to see the sources and inspirations for the different Los Nefilim novels, you can check them out and know which books were used for each novel. The Los Nefilim series also has its own page now with links to each of the books and their pages. I’ll be including excerpts on the book pages as we get closer to the publication date of each novel, but as usual: newsletter subscribers will see the lengthier excerpts first.

Of course, while all this is going on, I’m working on the third Los Nefilim novel, A Song with Teeth, which is coming along very nicely, and working on promo materials for Carved from Stone and Dream’s upcoming 2020 release.

As always, watch for me …

Pitch Wars 2019 and why I'm sitting it out this year ...

I’m posting this because several people have been asking me about my participation in Pitch Wars 2019, and I want to be perfectly upfront about what’s going on with me. Before I say anything else, I want you all to know that being involved with the Pitch Wars community was one of the most positive things that happened to me in 2018. The mentors are some of the most caring and nicest people that I’ve had the pleasure to get to know in the writing community, and I was flat out lucky that Elvin Bala submitted his work to me.

However, 2018 came with several personal problems for me. I turned in Where Oblivion Lives in February, but all novels receive editorial feedback, so part of 2018 was also spent in refining Where Oblivion Lives before I was able to turn to the sequel, Carved from Stone and Dream. Over the summer, I suffered a meniscus tear in my right knee, which was painful and threw me out of work for several weeks. Once I had the surgery for the tear, my husband suffered hospitalization for a heart issue. Then we had two hurricanes, during which one of them gave us a nine day loss of power, immediately followed by the holidays.

Of course, while all of this was going on, I was also working with Elvin on his Pitch Wars submission. This wasn’t a bad thing, because Elvin did all the heavy lifting on his book. I spent no more time reading and commenting on his book than I would have for any other author. My biggest problem was that all of the Pitch War deadlines hit at the same approximate time as my deadline for Carved from Stone and Dream, the novel that I simply couldn’t get a handle on for the longest time.

Michael R. Fletcher probably read thirty incarnations of that book and gave me some great advice every time. I’m not sure if I would have made it as far as I did in December without his help. Unfortunately, by December I had about 30,000 words of what needed to be an 80,000 word novel. I wound up taking time off work and writing non-stop—twelve and fourteen hour days of doing nothing but pumping my way through that book, which was due to be turned in almost a week before Where Oblivion Lives released in February 2019.

Michael, Judith Tarr, and Beth Cato all graciously gave me blurbs. David and the team at Harper Voyager helped me any way they could—they got a box of ARCs for World Fantasy Con and I gave them all away. Another hundred copies were given away on Goodreads. The book received a starred review on Publishers Weekly on Christmas Eve, and while the people who have taken the time to read it have generally been very complimentary about the book, Where Oblivion Lives is way behind everything else, and I’m afraid it’s too late to play catch-up.

Of course, there is a certain freedom to all this. Carved from Stone and Dream veered wildly away from what I wanted, meaning another quiet horror novel focused on a different character. Rather than the gothic tone of Where Oblivion Lives, Carved from Stone and Dream turned into Miquel’s and Rafael’s story, and it has a distinct military fiction/war novel flavor that is roughly equivalent to Band of Brothers meets The Bunker, but instead of an army of guys riding to the rescue, it’s Ysabel and her friend Violeta. Rather than force the story, I rolled with it, and for better or for worse, it is what it is.

So, with all that said, since the adventures of Diago and Company might very well come to end with this last book (for we all live and die by our sales), I want to focus one hundred percent on promoting Carved from Stone and Dream and making A Song with Teeth the best novel that I can write. I want to do this for the people who have supported these characters and their stories and who have all been so gracious with their feedback.

And that means spending a large portion of my time in 2019 and 2020 on those two things. Once I’m done, I’ll consider reapplying to mentor Pitch Wars again. As I said in the beginning, it was an incredibly wonderful experience, and I love being able to give back to up-coming-writers.

Meanwhile, watch for me …