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Monday, June 22, 2015

R.I.P--The Happy Life and Peaceful Death of a Small #Literary #Novel

When I published my first book, which was a short story collection, I was 29 years old. I didn't know that books had a life, and inevitably (for most authors), a quiet and peaceful death (if you're lucky). I thought everything just went on forever: the readings, the interviews, the people who read your book and told you about it. I also thought that there would be a way to build on the thing in order to make the next book bigger, better, and read by more people, which is something that happens for a few people, but not everyone. Because I was dumb, everything that happened with the first book felt like a disappointment, and I missed all the magic.  Youth is they say, so what can you do? For most of us, a published book is like an island of ecstasy in an sea of pain. That was the experience I had in publishing when I was young. 

I published Miracle Girls when I was 48, much wiser about life and much calmer about my place in it (thanks to this blog). I know that every book that is born, also will die, and I am hoping for a peaceful ending to this lovely, lovely year. Everything that happened to the book felt like a total miracle, even though I was the one behind all the promotions and basically pulling all the strings. What I learned is that being arrogant and thinking you deserve something from the world is unhelpful and leads to unhappiness. On the other hand, being humble and feeling grateful for everything you get is a much more sustainable and comfortable position.  I had a year that was beyond my imagination with this second book, and I am so happy about it.  Still, though, now it is coming to a close, and I am faced with what appears to be a mixture of sadness and relief.  Mostly, I am glad to get back to writing alone at my computer, where I get to think and not have to comb my hair or look presentable, if you know what I mean.

To write, publish and promote a book well, you really have to have a wide range of many talents: you have to be able to sit alone and dig deep into the painful places; you have to be persistent and wear a bullet proof vest for all the rejections you will get; you have to also be nimble enough to know when you are getting good editorial advice; finally, you have to clean up nicely and do some tap dancing for the media, book buyers, and interviewers. Each effort and accomplishment is exhausting in its own special way. But for now, going back to my book on being disinherited feels like a treat, though it is not an easy topic for me.  (My third book is going to be a happy one, I hope). And when I feel unsure of myself, or beaten down, or exhausted in the writing way, I can still look over at my novel in its pretty pink cover and know that it exists in the world. Maybe somewhere out there someone is reading it.  And that is really and truly amazing, isn't it?

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Photos of #MiracleGirls at #BEA2015 #IT'STHEPINKBOOK

The hosts of the IndieFAB Awards (Foreward Reviews) had a table at Book Expo America this year, and you can see in the photo that Miracle Girls is out front (right corner).  It's the flashy pink one. In other news, I did NOT win the Lambda Literary Award, but the novel that did win is an amazing work of fiction: YABO by Alexis De Veaux (Redbone Press),  I read all the finalists in my category, and when I finished Alexis' book I thought, "This one should win." And it did! So the right and just literary judging occurred, in my humble opinion, even though my novel wasn't the winner. This made me happy. Congratulations @AlexisDeVeaux

Thursday, June 4, 2015

@AWP Podcast of #Rejection Panel I Was On (I'm The #Bossy One)

Here's a podcast of the #AWP2015 Panel entitled "Rejection! Everything You Always Wanted to Know (But Were Afraid to Ask).  Have a listen. See what you think. You'll note that everybody is talking about how they reject and I'm trying to push through the bullshit.