I know where I’m going to be the weekend of June 21st: at the 2013 Historical Novel Society conference in St. Petersburg, Florida. I also know what I’ll be doing there, beyond catching up with writer friends and meeting authors whose work I admire: I’ll be moderating a panel entitled “Is Genre a Dirty Word? Literary versus Genre Historical Fiction” with authors Mary Sharratt, Michelle Cameron, Christy English, and Mitchell James Kaplan. I’m excited to explore this fun and provocative subject which, to my mind, has as much to do with publishing constraints as it does marketing considerations.
As part of the ramp up to the HNS conference, novelist and book reviewer Judith Starkston has posted an interview with me on her site. In the interview, I disclose my favorite books and movies, what living or deceased writer I’d most like to meet, and a little about my Next Novel.
Read the full interview here.
Have I mentioned I’m giving an author reading at the Cortelyou Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library next Saturday, April 13 at 3pm? Well, I am. I’ll be talking about the publishing process (minus tears) and reading from DOOMED QUEENS and THE LILY MAID. If I feel bold, I might even include a peak at my new novel underway, a gothic-inspired concoction set in 1850s England and France.
Here are the details:
1305 Cortelyou Rd. at Argyle Rd.
Brooklyn, NY 11226
Subway: Q train to Cortelyou Road
This event is sponsored by Friends of Cortelyou Library. Hope to see you there!
Above photo: Daffodil Hill in the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens this spring.
So true and hilarious. Novelist Owen King on the process of writing—and renaming—a novel:
“It generally takes awhile to write a novel. Although there are authors who can write a quality book every year, they’re the exceptions; it’s more typical to spend three, five, or even seven years to complete a draft. If you’ve never attempted to write anything of a novel’s length, imagine having a friend or relative visit you for roughly that length of time, for three or five or seven years…. Let’s be honest: even if it was your favorite cousin, and even though you sort of invited him, after a year or so, you would owe it to yourself to give, at minimum, tacit consideration to murdering this person. This is the unique affliction of writing books: the endeavor is such that you can never entirely stop thinking about it.”
I suppose it’s safe to say that this speaks to my condition today, as I obsess over my new novel: Who—or what—am I inviting to become my new roomie for the next year and beyond? Are they dark and bothered? Or easy-peasy? Will they drive me crazy? More importantly, will they steal the secret stash of good chocolate hidden in my studio?
Read the rest of King’s post at The Weeklings.
And in other publishing news, here are several of the funnier April Fool’s jokes crossing the internet today:
- The Big Six Become One, via Shelf Awareness.
- The Debutante’s Ball is now sponsored by Amazon.
- Another Amazon-themed one: Amazon Announces Purchase of English™, via The Millions.
- Borders to Re-Launch as a ‘New Adult’ Line, also via Shelf Awareness. (You’ll need to scroll down for it.)
Ever wonder what literary agents consider to be proper query etiquette?** Or how literary agents decide on their strategies for submitting a manuscript?*** Or what causes literary agents to break up with an author?****
The answers to these questions and others have been generously and anonymously answered by several literary agents. Click here for more inside publishing skinny.
*Heck, it’s been a while since I posted anything beyond the occasional photo or brief update. But I’ve good cause for my semi-silence. True confession time: there’s major behind-the-scenes stuff going on, so semi-silence feels safer. If all works out as planned, it will be wonderful and life-changing. But right now… well, think of me as a plant growing roots before sending out fresh green shoots. What’s going on beneath the surface is far too tender for public consumption.
** One agent’s answer: “Be professional; your query is like a job application, so be sure to highlight what makes you and your books special. Follow the guidelines (I know there are a million agencies and they each have their own guidelines, but it is really worth your time to do the research)….” Read more answers.
*** Another agent’s answer: “First question is: do I know any editors who are specifically looking for this thing? After that, it’s a matter of balancing editors’ tastes with imprints’ general style while trying to make sure it’s not too similar to something they just published or (worse) just bought….” Read more answers.
**** A third agent’s answer: “I think the word “split” is a bit too euphemistic, you’re talking about getting fired. Agents sometimes get fired and so do clients. What necessitates it is the sort of thing you would expect. If I can’t help you as an agent, then there’s no use in wasting either of our time. If you write a bunch of projects I don’t think I can sell, and you don’t agree with any of my comments or advice, there’s just no use in us continuing to work together. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad agent, or you’re a bad writer, it just means circumstances may have changed, and where we used to agree on most things and now we don’t….” Read more answers.
Photograph: the view out my window after winter storm Nemo visited Brooklyn.
Now that the latest draft of THE LILY MAID is in my agent’s able hands, you might be wondering what’s next at Chez Art and Words. Here’s the latest, accompanied by a side of holiday news:
1. Last week I was delighted to learn I’ll be speaking at the Historical Novel Society conference next year as part of a panel discussing literary versus genre historical fiction. I’ll be in illustrious company: my co-panelists include Mary Sharratt (ILLUMINATIONS), Christy English (HOW TO TAME A WILLFUL WIFE), Michelle Cameron (THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS), and Mitchell James Kaplan (BY FIRE, BY WATER).
2. I’ve begun mapping out work for several new digital projects. These include an enhanced e-book of THE LOVER’S PATH (think interactive maps, animated love letters) and an iPhone 5 update for the Goddess Tarot app. I’ve never created an enhanced e-book, so I’m excited to be stretching my tech muscles.
3. I’ve also also been preparing the garden for winter. So far I’ve pruned the fig tree, the honeysuckle, lilacs and roses, as well as cleared away the outdoor furniture. Later, Thea and I plan to plant some bulbs for spring. These activities feel an apt metaphor for how I feel after finishing this draft of THE LILY MAID: the work has been harvested; now it’s time to go fallow to prepare for the next flowering.
4. Even so inspiration has started to toy with me. Yup, I’ve a new idea for a novel. Too soon to talk about it, though I’ve a title and have visualized the first scenes and characters. However, I’m not ready to start writing yet—the well needs to refill a bit more.
5. Finally, in time for the holidays, I’ve updated this site to include prints, mugs, goddess journals, and other gifts. There’s even Doomed Queens-themed ceramic travel mug, for the more cynically inclined. These products are produced exclusively by Cafe Press and are beautifully printed. I hope you’ll take a moment to check out all the gift-worthy goodness!