Originally published on 02.03.15 on the Girlfriends Book Club.
We’re pondering New Year’s Resolutions and rejection here on the Girlfriend’s Book Club for the next few weeks, and while I gave up New Year’s Resolutions some years ago (if I want to start something new or improve myself, I probably shouldn’t wait for January) rejection seems a bit like my oxygen dependency problem – it’s just a part of life.
My first love / day job as a graphic designer keeps my life chock full of rejection. Even my business partner seems to enjoy rejecting a lot of my ideas. (Why can’t I put El Presidente on my business cards? What do you mean it’s not professional?) Between the beat down of the college critique forum and a decade of working in the field hearing client opinions that range from “um… I think you missed the mark” to “I hate it so much I would burn it” I’ve gotten pretty good at handling rejection. (Ok, so maybe they didn’t actually say “burn it” but I saw it in their eyes.)
So you would think that it would be easier for me to take rejection from publishers. But it doesn’t. Every rejection comes with a large packet of self-doubt. Maybe that book isn’t any good. Maybe I should rewrite? Maybe I should burn it? Maybe I should stop kidding myself that I have any writing talent at all and go home, snuggle with my dog and drink a bottle of Jameson? (Admittedly, I would not be drinking straight Jameson because I’m a pansy. So then, I’d stop and think, “If I’m mixing it, maybe I should switch to something cheaper?” Which would devolve into me just having some Ginger Ale and probably taking the dog for a walk.)But what I have learned from graphic design is that many things get better with perseverance. Draft two is almost always better than draft one. And stubborn people can find a way to make dreams come true.
Which is why I am so happy to announce that my murder mystery, An Unseen Current, set on Orcas Island (In Washington State’s beautiful San Juan Islands) with its cast of quirky characters and too weird to be true events (some of which are really true) is finally going to be published on April 28, 2015. I was so excited the day I first sent the manuscript off and so sad the day it first came back to me. Perhaps it was too odd, or perhaps it was too Washington and not enough New York for the big guys? Honestly, I don’t know, and I don’t care. I’m just glad that it has finally found a home and release date. So if you enjoy some quirks with your cozy’s please mark your calendar to enjoy An Unseen Current!
AN UNSEEN CURRENT
You never know what’s beneath the surface.
When Seattle native Tish Yearly finds herself fired and evicted all in one afternoon, she knows she’s in deep water. Unemployed and desperate, the 26 year old ex-actress heads for the one place she knows she’ll be welcome – the house of her cantankerous ex-CIA agent grandfather, Tobias Yearly, in the San Juan Islands. And when she discovers the strangled corpse of Tobias’s best friend, she knows she’s in over her head. Tish is thrown head-long into a mystery that pits her against a handsome but straight-laced Sheriff’s Deputy, a group of eccentric and clannish local residents, and a killer who knows the island far better than she does. Now Tish must swim against the current, depending on her nearly forgotten acting skills and her grandfather’s spy craft, to con a killer and keep them alive. Pre-order for kindle.
Originally published on 01.27.15 at The Stiletto Gang.
I had to laugh when I read Debra Goldstein’s post yesterday about football being “only a game”. I live in Washington State, which, in case you’re living in a hole, is home of the Seahawks, contenders the upcoming football high-holy day – the Super Bowl. Although, even when living in a hole, I’m fairly certain that you probably felt the Beast Quake or possibly Richard Sherman dropped by to tell you how awesome he is, and then probably stuck around to make pointedly blunt statements about the corruption in the NFL. Football may be only game, but tis the season for every football fan everywhere to lose their dang minds.
As I’m only an occasional football watcher I find most of the fan-actions a bit mystifying. Twelfth man flags decorate every building, a local tattoo parlor is offering a 12’s tattoo special and last game against the Packers the Seattle City Council banned cheese from the premises. Like Debra, I say, “But it’s only a game!” Not that I say that very loudly – my husband would glare at me.
But also like Debra, I identify with the way fans pour over every detail, dissect plays, and watch every report on the subject. A fan, no matter the subject, wants to know all about the thing they love. So I don’t wave a twelfth man flag, but the books on my shelf tell their own tales (pun intended). Anyone visiting my house knows where I stand on the topic of Lord of the Rings (pro) and the work of cover artist Thomas Canty (also pro) and Tintin (highly pro). I don’t have any tattoos, but I can quote The Walrus and The Carpenter – it’s tattooed on my brain. And as for cheese… no, sorry, I have nothing there. Cheese is never banned at my house and neither are books.
Am I the only “12th Man” uber book fan out there? What “flags” are flying on your bookshelf?
Writers, as far as I can tell, are people with too many stories stuffed in their heads. In order to stay sane, we have to get the stories out. It’s a good system; it ensures that only fictional people get murdered and that more every day girls get to marry princes. Writers are also, by and large, readers. So you’d think that we’d have an understanding of our own readers. But most of us are somewhat mystified as to why we have readers. The idea that someone would actually want to read any of my books is still surprising. I just make up stories and then… people actually read them. That’s crazy!
Don’t get me wrong; I think my stories are awesome. I think everyone should read them. But “everyone” is a rather abstract concept, with safety built into it’s very generality. On the other hand, a singular reader is frighteningly specific and frighteningly judgmental. Think of your day, and your telling this really funny story to your co-worker about your college roommate who once got so drunk that she projectile vomited into someone’s hair. Now picture your grandmother standing there listening. It kind of puts a crimp on you miming how your roommate popped out of her tube top, doesn’t it? That’s the power that a singular reader has to stymie a writer. The harsh judgment of a reader can make the creative wellspring dry up in a flash. Which is why every time a reader seeks me out to tell me that they enjoyed my book, I sincerely appreciate it. Each compliment is a bolster against the times when someone tells you they found a typo in your book or they don’t understand why you didn’t just make the main character a man. Thoughtful, lovely readers make all the difference to a writer. I may not always know they’ve given their time and money to reading one of my stories, but I will always try to give my readers a story worthy of their expenditure.