There is a cover draft for A Darkness Forged in Fire! My editor called me on the phone before he emailed it as he wanted to hear my reaction when I saw it. I think I said something like ‘Holy ****! That rocks!’ (ever the articulate, I.) I’ve now had a few days to stare at it and consider it from all angles and I’m still jazzed. It’s still being tweaked and I’ve been sworn to secrecy for the moment which is killing me. I always had it in my mind that seeing my first cover with my name on it would be a defining moment and make all of this real, and I’m thrilled to say that sheer joy hammered cynicism into submission. As my British friend, Karen Traviss, often says – Woot Woot!

The power of local media

Band of Sisters by Kirsten Holmstedt continues the good fight. Kirsten landed a few big gigs – PBS News Hour, testified before Congress, NPR and BBC World radio – but as of yet no invite to sit on a morning show couch. Despite that, the book continues to sell very well. So well that we’ve gone back to press a third time. Local media, not national, has proven to be the main engine driving this.

Kirsten has been nothing short of amazing in granting interviews to whomever asks. The result has been dozens (probably over a hundred at this point) of locally focused pieces in small town papers, blogs, and websites plus radio and tv interviews on public and network affiliate channels. These media outlets are always looking for content. And the networking benefits that come from these smaller gigs should not be underestimated. Don’t discount a reading at a library either because no one there is going to buy your book. Libraries themselves are big consumers and respond to patron requests.

No one (or a thousand) of these events will add up to a chat with Oprah, but the cumulative effect is keeping the rate of movement healthy in the accounts. That, in turn, is fueling constant reorders. And that makes everyone happy.

Super special holiday breakfast surprise

I decided to go to the diner for breakfast this morning and found out that on Columbus Day (Thanksgiving in Canada) everything is just a bit more ‘special.’ Maybe it’s an ‘only in New York’ phenomenon, but today two eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast, coffee and juice will run you about double, or $12.40.

Mmmm, taste the inflation.

Amazon.com novel contest

There have been several of these sorts of contests in recent memory (Sobol, Gather) but this one appears to be a joint effort with Amazon and Penguin books and worth a look for everyone out there with a novel. Here’s the info from the contest page.

“Are you a writer longing to be discovered? Submit your manuscript for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. It’s the perfect opportunity to become the next great novelist: the winning author will receive a publishing contract from Penguin Group, including promotional support for their book on Amazon.com, and a media suite from Hewlett-Packard. All entrants are eligible to self-publish their novel with CreateSpace and sell it on Amazon.com. Enter your manuscript for consideration by November 5, 2007!”


In the parallel universe where I’m a writer instead of an editor I received my editor’s comments and line-edited ms for A Darkness Forged in Fire. There’s trimming for pace, a few clarifications of plot and a couple of characters that need some fleshing out to develop their personalities. There were a couple of cuts, however, that at first I didn’t agree with. I read and reread the passages and couldn’t understand why this or that cut had been made until I pulled back and looked at the pacing. Writers, certainly this one, can get enamored with word choice and imagery and lose the plot, literally. You work so long to craft that exquisite paragraph that you lose track of what the real intent of the chapter was. Of the many golden rules that a writer should pay attention to (but not slavishly follow) pacing is near the top.

In yet another reality where I’m a runner instead of a couch potato my body surprised me yesterday with a burst of speed in the last 1/4 mile of a 4 mile run in Central Park. I was getting close to the end of the run, huffing like the little engine that barely could when I heard runners coming up behind me about to pass. Some irrational spark deep in my id/ego/super ego flared and I wasn’t about to get passed that close to the finish. It was a revelatory experience because I honestly had no idea I had that kind of energy reserve. It also showed me that I haven’t been pushing as hard as I could. When I finally got to my finish line I slowed down and pulled off to the side to bask in my little victory and smile at the runners who hadn’t caught me. That’s when I saw that they were two very cute women who, had they passed me, I could have followed for miles. Alas, in this instance I definitely outpaced myself.