Regrouping, Rethinking, and Responding

Transmonstrified_ebook_FinalIf you follow me on Facebook or if you’ve read my blog recently, you know we’ve had a pretty rough couple of months with my dad having a massive stroke and all that goes along with that. Now that things have fallen into more of a routine, the dust has settled and I can focus on work again.

My editorial calendar is totally trashed, guys. Really. I’m so far behind I want to throw my arms in the air and walk away. I’ll try this author thing again another lifetime, and I’ll try to get started a little earlier than the age of forty next time.

But that’s not realistic. And I don’t give up. Plus, I kind of love what I do. But, according to the schedule I set for myself at the beginning of the year, I am now two novels and a short story collection behind. Seriously. How can I possibly catch up?

I can’t. My fabulous husband keeps giving me the stink-eye and telling me I’m not behind. I just have to re-adjust the schedule. So. That’s what I’m here to do today.

The good news is, although I’m technically two months behind on Monster Haven #6, Phoenix in My Fortune, my publisher is working with me to get it out on time anyway. That does mean, however, that I have to give it my full attention for the next few months. The short-story collection, Transmonstrified, probably won’t be out until November or December. I’ve got three half-written short stories and one brand new one to write still, plus the edits Awesome Editor Sara has been working on with the rest of the stories. I can’t possibly juggle those while writing the final book in Zoey’s story. I’ve been trying. It’s not efficient. And frankly, writing the finale requires my full concentration.

I promise you, I’m making the collection worth your wait. Multiple new Monster Haven stories, a ton of stuff you’ve never seen, and a new Mt. Olympus story (starring the gorgon receptionist!) that may very well turn into a serial down the road.

So. By the end of the year, the collection will be out and the last Monster Haven book will be off my plate. Come January, I’ll be able to focus entirely on the first Mt. Olympus books and get those out as quickly as I’m able.

And then? There’s a certain closet monster who’s begging me for his own series. Shhh. Don’t tell anyone.

Anyway. Thank you all so much for the kind words, encouragement, and patience. I’m finishing up this crazy year and then moving forward with a fresh start.

I’m not late. I’ve rescheduled.

See you real soon!

Step into My Office

outdooroffic

Lately, I’ve found the best way to keep myself productive is to keep changing my environment. Home is often too filled with dirty things to be cleaned, empty things to be filled, loose things to be put away.

I’m easily distracted.

Just to be clear–it doesn’t mean I clean those things when I’m home. I sit there wallowing in what a terrible housekeeper I am instead of either 1. Doing something about it or 2. Ignoring it and getting back to work.

So occasionally, I put on pants and go out.

Sometimes I go to Starbucks. It’s a good choice. They keep me well fed on nutritious sandwiches, and I can drink an awful lot of unsweetened iced green tea, which doesn’t cost me much in either dollars or calories.

There are days that Starbucks is overrun, so I have to go elsewhere. The grocery store across the street from there also has a Starbucks, plus lots of comfy booths and tables, plenty of outlets, and wifi. I don’t eat as healthy, often grabbing a couple of questionable egg rolls from the deli counter, but I can get a lot of work done and my tea is still there.

Today, I find myself in our brand new, high tech, fabulous library. I picked out a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read.

(Side note to NY publishers: no, sorry, I don’t care how hard you’re fighting for higher e-book prices, I’m not paying that much. I’ll get the books free from the library until you see reason and bring the prices down. That’s from a consumer standpoint, not an author standpoint. It’s also another blogpost, not this one. But $10.99 is far too much for a digital version of a book that’s nearly fifteen years old.)

I digress.

So, I’m in my fab new library where I have an outlet next to me, the wifi came right up, and the atmosphere is pretty quiet. The larger tables are all filled, so I’m kind of hunched over an end table sort of thing, but it’s my first time working here, so the novelty hasn’t worn off. There’s even a little coffee kiosk on the way in, and I was able to get iced green tea.

The difference between these three places really comes down to the people around me.

Starbucks is usually filled with students and professors preparing for classes. I live in a college town, so that’s to be expected. It’s pretty quiet, but tends to get super busy.

The grocery store is fascinating. It seems to be some kind of meeting place for strangers doing business. I eavesdrop–of course I do, I’m a writer–and try to figure out what people are there for. A wedding dj went over the happy couple’s playlist. A Disney travel agent gave a spiel to a stranger considering a career change. A nanny had an interview with a potential new family.

I’m in the library. It’s so quiet. People speak in hushed tones punctuated by children’s laughter and the scraping of a chair. There’s a lot of reading going on in here. And typing. Except for one fascinating woman sitting by the window doing something intricate with string. Tatting? Friendship bracelets? I can’t stop watching. I want to take up a new hobby and sit across from her in the picture window. Origami, maybe. That would be nice.

I have one more option, but I’m waiting for the weather to cool down. For my birthday last month, I got a desk that attaches to my steering wheel. Yes, I know. I read all the hilarious reviews spawned by George Takei. But I wanted one anyway.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll try it out. I’ll drive out to the lake, park overlooking the water, and work from inside my car while watching the seagulls dive for fish.

Do you think the yacht club over there has iced green tea?

The New Normal

normalcowsYou may have noticed I’ve been grossly absent from this blog lately. Maybe not. Maybe, like me, you notice when someone has a new blog post up, but don’t notice when there isn’t a new one. If you follow me on Facebook at all, you may have seen that, back in May, my dad had a massive stroke, so you haven’t expected a post.

Now, I’m not really big on hanging out my personal life in public, even on my personal Facebook page. So, I’m not really going into details here, since I don’t think the hospital stays, insurance issues, incompetent movers, or nursing home musical chairs are very interesting.

But I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. This entire experience has been filled with sorrow, anger, panic, helplessness, and depression in a great big stew of all the worst emotions humans can experience. There have been good days and bad days — and the bad days have been pretty damn awful.

But people can’t sustain that over a long period of time. The mind checks out, I think. At some point, as long as nothing changes, no matter how horrible the situation, it begins to feel normal. To be honest, each time we reached what we’ve been calling “The New Normal,” something new happened to throw us back into emergency mode. Right now, I’m on the other side of that again, and everything seems normal. Not great. Just normal. This is what life is now. It’ll change eventually, I’m sure, but for now, this is a normal day.

So, what’s this got to do with writing? (You knew I’d have to bring it around eventually, right?)

This all got me to thinking about the characters in Monster Haven. Zoey begins with no knowledge of monsters or fairies or gargoyles existing. It doesn’t take long before she settles into her new life — her new normal. She can’t sustain a high level of panic, fear, distrust, and disbelief. No one can live like that. The emotions have to level off.

Maurice is going through a terrible divorce, but he settles in, too. I suppose there are some people who normally dwell in a place of sadness, but that’s not Maurice’s personality. No matter how bad things get, he’s going to recover and accept the new way of life.

Normal doesn’t necessarily mean bright and cheery or dismissing of the way things are. For some people going through a loss or other tragedy (or monster invasion), The New Normal might be a pretty dark place. But in the end, I don’t think our minds or bodies are made to function on high alert or constant sorrow indefinitely.

I’m sure there are all sorts of psychology papers written about this. It’s not a new idea. It’s simply new to me.

I’m living The New Normal.

It’s time for me to stop existing in emergency mode and time to get back to work.

Monster in the Flesh

bookkittenOn Friday, I announced on Facebook the big, exciting news that Monster in My Closet it going to be released in trade paperback on June 2.

This is pretty huge for me. I’ve had four books published so far, and I’ve never held an actual print book with my name on it. I guarantee, there will be tears when it finally happens.

But there are details I promised to share over here.

As you probably know, my publisher, Carina Press, is a digital-first publisher. Print is not their primary concern. Their parent company is Harlequin, which has been around forever. Carina is only about four-years old. We’ve all been eager to see them start coming out with print versions of their books, but that takes time, negotiations, contracts. Publishing is changing fast, and one of the reasons I chose them was that they were rolling with those changes, trying new things, and experimenting to find what works.

And now they’re looking at all the options for getting their books into print.

The old ways of doing things were/are pretty brutal, especially for the author. A seemingly arbitrary number is chosen for the print run, the books are distributed to stores, and a month or two later, any leftover copies (unless it’s a bestseller) will likely be pulled, have their covers ripped off, and the price paid refunded to the bookseller. The publisher and author don’t get paid for those books.

I’ve simplified the process, but that’s the regular way of doing things. But you can see some of the problems. Bookstores don’t have a lot of room to carry a book indefinitely. If it doesn’t catch fire right away, it’s doomed. And everybody loses money.

Carina is experimenting with traditional, mass-market paperbacks in stores. I’ve seen a few out in the wild. Now they’re trying out print-on-demand options as well.

Print-on-demand has pros and cons to it. It’s a bit more expensive to produce, which makes the price higher. (And mine is going to be produced as a trade paperback, which is larger and fancier than a mass market paperback.) For now, physical bookstores won’t carry them. (They wouldn’t be able to return the ones they can’t sell.) However, the books won’t disappear after a month or two, either. Print-on-demand is forever(ish).

Monster in My Closet will be available in trade paperback on Amazon (not sure where else, yet) on June 2, 2014. The retail price will be $17.95, though I’m sure Amazon will discount it because, you know, that’s what they do.

So, those are the details. Monster has been chosen to test this out. There’s no planned end date, but it is a test of the POD service. Things could change, or this could prove to be a success and maybe the rest of the books will follow. Who knows?

Everything is changing. I feel so fortunate to be in the middle of those changes.

Have a great week! See you real soon!

 

Guess What Day It Is!

Golem in My Glovebox by R.L. NaquinGolem in My Glovebox is out!

I cannot begin to describe what it’s like to know there were people sitting up last night, waiting for their e-readers to kick in and download their pre-order at the moment it was released. I have no words for that. I can tell you that I’m trying not to cry this morning, though. This is my fourth book release, and I’m hoping to make it through (for the first time) without bursting into over-emotional tears.

I’m walking a very thin line. I don’t think I’m going to make it.

I am so very grateful to every one of you who’s taken the time to tell me how much you love these books. I had hoped a few people would enjoy what I’d written. I didn’t expect so many people to truly love them. Today, especially, I want to reach out and hug all of you.

But enough of the emotional stuff. Let’s leave that for Zoey. I just wanted to stop by and wave on my way out the door.

For each of the previous release days, I’ve stationed myself in front of my laptop checking sales ranks, watching for reviews, and thanking people for their congratulations. I’m usually a complete mess by the end of the day. (Refresh, refresh, refresh.)

Today is going to be different. By the fourth book release in a year and a half, I should be a pro, right? My wonderful husband took the day off from work. We’re going out. There’s a King Tut exhibit I want to see. A restaurant that serves burgers via a model train that runs around the room. There might even be a trip to the planetarium and the LEGO store.

I’m not even going to pretend that I won’t be checking my phone all the time. And I’m not going to promise that I won’t burst into tears the minute my husband comes out of the bedroom and tells me “Happy release day!”

But I will be thinking about all of you today, wherever I end up going. Because without my awesome readers, today would be just another Monday in just another April.

Thanks for taking this ride with Zoey and me.

See you real soon!