Friday, May 27, 2011

On catching up, Sleight in paperback, and The Mood Ring

Hello, my people. I'm not going to apologize for not posting since the 11th as I know you know that Life and Such gets in the way. And the last couple weeks have certainly done that, so let's get on with the news, shall we?

First, a shout-out to all those poor souls who have suffered so greatly from these crazy tornadoes and storms ravaging the US, as well as the monumental floods and fires in different regions of Canada. I've become friends with so many of you on Twitter and Facebook, and all I can say is, we're thinking about you. I know that amounts to a hill of beans when your houses and even family members have been destroyed, but, yeah...we're pulling for you in that cosmic sense. Mother Nature needs a spanking, and not the fun kind but the kind that leaves welts and will send her to her room for a little while to think about what she's done.

I mentioned in my last post that I'd been "rearranging furniture," and I left that big announcement to my blogging buddies, aka, the world's kindest supporters ever (book bloggers are way better than even the most expensive Cross-Your-Heart bras, man. They support, cushion, and uplift, with no uncomfortable underwires! Not that my barely A cup models require underwires, but you catch my drift). Thanks to Danny at Bewitched Bookworms for planting the seed that led me to change my cover for Sleight. She provided the creative impetus, held my hand through the process of revamping, and we set to finding new images that would better represent the innards of my book. With the expert search-and-destroy skills of Angeline Kace, I was able to put together a fantastic new cover (it's splattered all over the place now, so lax am I in my blog posting duties) with a few stock images, and I do believe that the girl on the cover really speaks to the character I'd always envisioned as being my Gemma. For the next cover, I want to do the photography myself (I've been known to make that photography thing a habit), maybe this summer in California with a lanky, red-haired friend of my little sister's and a desolate desert landscape to best hint at what's coming in Stratagem: Book Two. (Ashleigh, if you don't have a lanky, red-haired friend, find one and lock her in your studio until I arrive. Just feed her Oreos and Red Vines.) Stay tuned. I'll try to be more organized with my announcement next time. Promise.

I will be organizing a GoodReads giveaway next week, for the paperback, as--guess what--wait for it--the Paperback Saga of 2011 might be over! THANK YOU to all the folks on Twitter and to all the reviewers who have been endlessly patient with me while I boxed my way through this debacle. I won't go into the details, but I will tell you that I have four proofs here, all of which had their own errors (including proof #2 that was missing Chapter 9!) and precluded me from approving the book weeks ago. This should have been taken care of by the end of March. It is now the end of May and only now are we seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I will admit: that light is not perfect. Already I know that the finalized version has a blank page in it (p. 151) due to an extra hard return I didn't catch. But, fingers crossed, all will be well, and the story itself will be free of errors and full of imaginative pleasure for my awesome, awesome readers.

As such, the paperback is now available via CreateSpace and Amazon (links in the margin). I also will take orders for signed copies, although because shipping from Canada is $12.41 per book (!!!), I will be heading to Point Roberts once every few weeks for order fulfillment. Point Roberts is a teeny American town that is landlocked by Canadian soil. I called the posties there today, and my new buddy Scott said we could get the media mail rate and save up to 75 percent in costs, PLUS the books will arrive to US recipients way, way faster. I'll keep you up to speed with that progress, as well. Like I said, there is light, friends! LIGHT, I say!

Jenny over at Into the Morning Reads had a clever idea. She "interviewed" Gemma, from Sleight, and Autumn, the main character of Angela Carlie's Dream Smashers, and it is up on her blog. Pop in and share the love. Jenny is an incredible supporter of indie writers. Thanks, babealicious! We HEART you!

I will also have news about a few other paperback giveaways with other fantastic blogger folks, but as you probably know by now, I'm a little slow to get things moving. I'll blab about it here as soon as I have stuff to blab about.

Authors: I am re-hanging the shingle for copy editing/proofreading services. Click the link in the bar above if you're interested.
Jovie, fueled & ready to edit.

And on with the show. IN OTHER NEWS... My nine-year-old son participated in his school's Heritage Fair event this year, where each of the grade 4 and 5 students were expected to choose a topic relating to some aspect of Canadian history and put together a thorough presentation, subject to judging by a panel of teachers and community members at a school-wide event. Brennan's project, on John A. MacDonald (Canada's first prime minister, for my fellow Americans who are as clueless as I was about this fellow's identity), was selected to advance onto the next level, which required his attendance for the two-day Regional Fair at the Burnaby Village Museum. Yay! A day off school! So what if it was two days of history stuff. A Friday off from school is a bonus for most school-age kids I know.

The Friday morning of day one, Brennan left the house, a $10 bill tucked in his pocket, with express instructions to use it for drinks and snacks to supplement his brown-bag lunch. He was nervous and excited, ready to wow the new panel of judges with his barrage of facts about a man who led a surprisingly sad life, despite his success in the political arena and his subsequent assignment to the face of certain Canadian paper notes. (Hey, Canadians--is MacDonald on all the money? Canadian money is pretty. I'd like to have more of it. I'd keep it in a jar on top of my fridge...)

When Bren arrived home that Friday afternoon, his excitement fueled not by the goodie bag of Canadiana gifted by the Heritage Fair Council but rather by the very cool acquisition he'd made while on the museum grounds: his very own mood ring. A mood ring!

He feverishly set to explaining the significance of the ring's color (er, colour) spectrum to me and his six-year-old brother, and tried to ignore Kendon's insistence that one of us get stressed out to see if the ring would indeed turn black. (Side note: Kendon's favorite color is black. This started after their older sister went through a black-nail-polish phase when little Kendon was three. If she painted her nails, she had to do his, too. He was the only preschooler, a boy, no less, who went to play group with black fingernails. Who was I to censor him? At the time, I was in the early stages of a premature midlife crisis and had convinced my hairdresser to add blue stripes to my then-blond hair. It was a hit with the under-six crowd. "Kendon's mommy has blue hair!" -- an announcement met with uneasy smiles and weary glances by more conservative parents at the preschool. Like Kendon's predilection for black nails, the blue hair faded, though not before turning this weird greenish color, and we went reverted to our colorless, conformist selves. *Sigh.*)

Back to the ring: Brennan wore it to school, with a pride only Gollum could truly appreciate, and passed about the tiny, poorly translated color chart amongst his friends while they tried their best to manipulate the ring into its corresponding shades representing happiness, relaxation, or anger. After that first week, the novelty waned, as often is the case with nine-year-olds, and the ring was left alone on the top of the dresser. It clearly was not the One Ring to Rule Them All.

Until this morning.

Brennan, sweet child that he is, presented unto me his precious ring. "Put it on, Mom. It will tell us what kind of mood you're in." I obliged, and the ring immediately adopted a dark blue hue.

"That means you're relaxed." Funny, considering I hadn't yet had coffee and Kendon was refusing to put his pants on, instead running through the house in his birthday suit yelling, "Who wants to see my penis?" Yeah, he does that. He's six. I hope he grows out of it, sooner rather than later. Could be awkward when he and his older brother start dating.

I patted Brennan on the cheek and shooed him off to brush his teeth and feed the fat beagle while I chased Kendon down and wrestled him into his pants while he chirped at me, "Don't look at my junk!" After I dropped them off at school, I found myself staring at the ring, hoping it would turn the color that showed I was indeed relaxed and happy and satisfied. Blue it stayed.

And it got me to thinking. Wouldn't it be nice if mood rings really did work? If people could just look at our hands and see how, or if, they should approach us for conversation? I'm a mood swinger. Some days I'm up and I smile and hold doors for people and pinch babies' cheeks and let dumber drives cut me off without cursing at them from behind the wheel; other days, I live in what I call the Pit, clawing at the muddied walls through which effluence is seeping, dirtying my cuticles and tearing my nails to shreds. Tell me you're like that, too. You are, right? 

My days--at least the time not absorbed by the other creatures in my household--have begun to revolve around checking sales numbers and rankings, writing articles and blog posts, searching for reviewers, stressing about paperback issues, editing photos for last weekend's clients, and/or scratching a few words down on the WIP, if I'm lucky. I try not to worry about the host of things I have every right to be concerned with: my son in a freaking war zone, my husband's totally unglamorous, on-again/off-again Hollywood job, my daughter's health issues, and then there was that whole End of Days thing that didn't pan out. Reason told me it was ridiculous; caution told me anything's possible. Let's ask the folks suffering through tornadoes and floods and tsunamis and earthquakes if it feels like End of Days. Their answers might surprise us all.

I know lots of folks in my current social realm have bigger brains than I do and they blog about super-interesting stuff. I wish I could promise that I will share the secrets of the universe, that I know the trick to writing and editing and publishing a book that the whole world will adore. Thing is, I don't know any secrets. I don't really even know what I'm doing. None of us do, but that's why we're doing it. We're trying, some succeeding better than others, and that's what I have to continually remind myself. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a competition, and I'd be richer/more successful/more beautiful if I paid closer attention to the stuff that works for other folks. But I don't know from one day to the next what color the mood ring will be. Some days, I want to walk away from all this creative stuff and hide under my covers. Some days, I do do that, in a completely figurative way. But then, I yank myself up, throw on my mom jeans and my favorite "K is for Karate" T-shirt, and I sit my ass in the chair. 

Even if the mood ring is black. Those days are the hardest, but as my BFF Lauren often reminds me, "Patience, darling, patience."

Right now, the ring is a rainbow of colors. At this moment, I must be okay.


  1. Oh what a wonderful loooooong update! I love love love the new cover and I'm glad you truly did it and changed it! I'm excited to see the photos you will take for the next book...

    I'm so sorry to hear you had such a hard time with the paperback, but now finally you got it! Wooot!!!!

    <3 you !!

  2. Wow Jenn! You have such a beautiful way with words. Even though this post was long, you had me interested the whole time, and I even had chills on my arms for the last part.

    I am sooo proud of you! Proud of the beautiful woman, fun mom, brilliant writer, and creator that you are! I'm honored to call you my friend, and blessed to have you!

    And no need to stress out about what other people are doing. I will tell you, because you know I am a crazy at watching what others do and sharing what works and what doesn't.

    Yay! Brennie is a good kid! Tell him I'm proud of the project making it to round 2!

    And I'm not so sure my skills include "search-and-destroy", but I love that! I love you more though! ;) and ♥

    Angeline Kace

  3. I am so glad that you sent me a friend request on FB! I love your blog. I laughed and completely sympathized with pretty much everything you said. (My daughter is not quite two, and when it is time to change her diaper she runs around the house holding her crotch in both hands shouting, 'Nooo! Myyyyne!' Which, btw, is really great in public. Yep, that's my girl!)

    Your book looks wonderful, and while I haven't seen the original cover- I have to tell you that the new one is awesome. I would most certainly pick it up in a bookstore! While I haven't published my book yet, I am sure that there will be many dishes and loads of laundry that will be neglected so that I can check my sale stats.

    Congrats on your book! It is going on my TBR for when I get done with the second draft I am currently obsessed with.

    I look forward to reading more posts :)

  4. Jenn!!!

    I feel bad we haven't chatted in so long! The new cover looks awwwwwesome!

    And this post was wonderful. Wow. The mood ring metaphor is so true. And yes, you are not the only one constantly in the ups and downs of emotion. Some days I let people cut in front of me, and other days I'm screaming at old ladies crossing the street from church in front of my car. haha

    Happy to see that everything is working out with the paperback, as well. When I get through this very expensive, horrible month (really, everyone had to be born, honored, and host a bridal shower in this one month?!), I will be picking it up.