It’s hard to rock a trench in a heatwave, but I’m doing it for fiction!

photo credit: i k o via photopin cc

photo credit: i k o via photopin cc

First, an apology to anyone who follows me on Twitter. I’m sorry for clogging your feed with #trenchcoatparty hashtags. I’m just irrationally excited for tonight’s event at Made in Bridgeport. Thanks to Robin Gilmore, owner of MIB, it’s the first book event I’ve ever had that wasn’t more or less just a reading and a signing.

It’s a 1940s noir-themed costume party, first and foremost (I know my book isn’t set in the ’40s, but hey, it’s noir.) I’m a sucker for costume parties. I’ve been torn between wearing a ’40s dress and hat and my trenchcoat/pseudo-fedora tonight. I still haven’t decided. It’s going to be tough to rock a trench on the hottest day of a heatwave, but I never was blessed with an abundance of good sense. And also, that’s why the good lord made air conditioning.

Anyhow, there’s also a mystery that needs solving (I have no idea what it is, but you have to look for clues in the MIB store window) and a game to be played, which involves different stereotypes from noir films (you know, like the dirty cop and the stool pigeon) and a cocktail party (I’ve got the wine downstairs, ready to go.)

This is at a store in the Bridgeport Arcade Mall, which is gorgeous, although finding it for the first time is like solving a mystery in itself. From the front you see a continuation of city block, but go through the right set of doors and you end up in this Victorian confection of a two story building with a beautiful glass dome on the top.

While we’re doing that, a concert’s going to be happening down the block at McLevy Green, part of Bridgeport’s Downtown Thursdays program. Tonight a band called Amy Lynn & The Gun Show is playing, which makes me sort of want to sneak out for a few minutes to see what they’re all about.

Here are the details if you want to come: 5-8 p.m. at Made in Bridgeport in the Arcade Mall. Wear a 1940s noir costume or a trenchcoat, and there will probably have to be a reading, but I will make it short. Promise. We’ve got mysteries to solve.

The sequel! (Because guess what? There’s going to be a sequel.)

Beware The Hawk novella

I am so excited to announce that there will be a sequel to Beware the Hawk!

I signed the contract with my publisher, Vagabondage Press, on Sunday and have been working this week on the first round of edits and revisions. I’m super-excited to share this news, and plan to be posting this spring about the process of getting ready for a release.

I’ve been hanging onto this news for a few days. In fact I announced it on my Facebook Page on Sunday, but for various reasons, I didn’t feel like I could post it here until now.

The fact that I found out Sunday morning doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been bubbling over with this news all week. I still can’t quite believe that I published one book. To be on the brink of publishing a second book is beyond my hopes.*

What can I tell you about this new book? Well, not much. The working title is The Eagle and the Arrow. The release date is looking like June. I’ve been working on the first draft of this piece since last March or February, but although it seems like I’ve spent an age on it, it’s still novella-length.

At the moment that’s all I can say, but as I continue to work with my editor over the next few months, I will be able to release more tidbits.

Also, I haven’t forgotten the winner of the naming contest. The protagonist of the last book now has a name, of course. The namer will find out who he/she is when the book is released this summer, and will get a copy of the new book as a prize.

Stay tuned for more. I am so excited to share this journey with you all.

*Literally. My ambition as a kid was always to write a book. I really never thought beyond that first publication. So maybe announcing it on the date of the supposed end of time is appropriate.

January appearance in Colchester, Conn. and other bookish news.

Hello folks. Just a brief post to make a couple of announcements:

First off, I will be appearing in January at Books and Boos, a brand spanking new bookstore in Colchester, Conn. I will be talking more about the appearance as it approaches, but here are the basics – I will be reading on Saturday, Jan. 19 from 12 to 2 p.m. They will also be carrying Beware the Hawk, in case you happen to be in the area when I’m not there.

I will be the second VBP author to be reading there; on Saturday, Dec. 8, Kristi Petersen Schoonover will be there to read from her book, Bad Apple.

In other news, I’ve finished the very first draft of the sequel to Beware the Hawk! This is only the first step in a chain of drafts. I still have a lot of work to do before I can even hand it to my editor, and I can’t guarantee that she will accept it, but if she does, you can bet that the story will go through a lot of changes before it makes it out into the world.

So the big news here is that the draft exists, which is huge for me, because one of my writing fears is that I will fail to imagine a full plot. Now that the plot is in place, I’m free to go back into the story and refine what I have.

That’s it. I hope you’ve all been enjoying the long holiday weekend.

Announcement time: Stamford appearance and reading in Mystic.

It’s on the Internets, so I feel like it’s probably time to announce this here:

  • I will be the featured reader at the Stamford Town Center’s Barnes & Noble Poetry Night on Monday, August 13. The event starts at 8 p.m. There will be other readers before me and after me, but I will be reading and I will have books with me. Need more info? Here’s the announcement.

It feels weird to be announcing an appearance in Stamford, when I live so close, because I make “appearances” in Stamford fairly often. Some of my recent “appearances” include a) picking up a new battery at the Apple Store b) that time when I sleepily and mistakenly got off the train from NYC at the wrong stop and c) once when we met some cousins for dinner.

But it’s also really cool to be appearing in Stamford because that’s my old coverage area. (For the uninitiated, “coverage area” is  reporter-speak for “the town in which I used to cover board of education committee meetings.”) I used to spend a lot of time in Stamford. I even covered the work of local authors there, so it’s pretty cool to be headed there for a reading myself.

I totally have to thank my MFA colleague Nick Miele for setting this up for me. He’s a poet and he will also be reading.

  • Speaking of the MFA…. I will be reading on Thursday, July 19 in Mystic, at my MFA program’s  Alumni Day. I will post something separate about this, but the readings will run from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Chapel at Enders. I will be reading with David Fitzpatrick, Deb Henry and Annabelle Moseley. It’s auspicious company, to say the absolute least. I will blog more about this later in the week, because oh my god. All three of these colleagues have reached insane career heights in the last year and you need to know more about them.

Lastly, you all have three days to get name suggestions for my main character to me. Then the voting begins.

Name my protagonist!

I’m looking for a little help from my readers. And as usual, it will take the form of a contest.

My book, Beware the Hawk, features an unnamed protagonist, because I really love not naming first-person narrators. Which works well sometimes but not always.  It worked well for the original novella, but what if the character were to appear in other stories? She won’t be able to get through another storyline unnamed. I’ve been calling her Pink in private, but that’s not a real name. You know, like Jane, or Bob, or Ponyboy.

That, dear readers, is where you come in.

I want you to name my protagonist.

I already have some suggestions on my Facebook page, and I got one via text message this morning, but I need so much more than three suggestions.

Here’s how it will work.

Beware The Hawk novella

Faceless and nameless. For now.

I will be taking name suggestions (I’m looking for both first name and last name) via email, comment section, tweet and the aforementioned Facebook page. Also,  if you happen to see me in person, you can slip me a note with a name written on it. The virtual suggestion box will be open until I appear on Enders Island in Mystic, Conn. to read from the book on Thursday, July 19.

I will then pick a handful of the best names and post them, along with the names of those who suggested them. There will follow a week of  voting both on Facebook and here. I will however, announce the winner in private to the finalists, because I want the general readership to be surprised. (Although anyone capable of basic math and reading of poll results will probably be able to figure it out.)

The winner will have named Pink. Any other stories she appears in, she will bear the name you gave her. And you will get a free, signed copy of the very first new work she appears in.

The fine print (You should definitely read this.)

Ahem… The winner will not be entitled to royalties or other earnings. Just naming rights. And I do get some creative wiggle room, such as spelling or adding a middle name if necessary, because I am the author. Also, I can’t promise that just because I write a new Beware the Hawk book/story/screeenplay/graphic novel that anyone will want to publish it or that they will publish it in what you or I would consider to be a timely fashion. (Read: pronto.)

UPDATE: One name per entrant please! Pink’s only one woman!

So, what are you waiting for?

Send me some names!

Last night’s author event at the Watertown Library.

Photo taken by my husband during a smoke break.

Wow. I’m still a little overwhelmed by last night’s reading at the Watertown Library. Going into the event, I was having nightmares that I’d walk in to see hundreds of folding chairs and that only a few would be filled by my family and by the folks who work at the library.

In reality I walked into a room decorated with balloons bearing the world “e-book.” There were just barely enough seats for the people who came out to hear the lecture and reading. And those people included my friends’ parents and siblings, my neighbors when I was growing up, the people who employed me when I was a teenager, a high school teacher and his wife, and of course my family.*

I was kind of nervous, even with all the familiar faces. I’ve done readings before – but always as part of a group. This was just me, and part of the event was a lecture about e-books. I’ve been doing a lot of research about e-books lately and I had note cards and everything, but there was this one dreadful moment when everything I knew just disappeared and I accidentally entered that blank-slate state of mind that I’ve been trying – and failing – to cultivate during meditation. Holy horrible timing, Batman. But then the moment passed, and everything from that point on went smoothly.

One of the most thrilling things about last night: there were people I don’t know in the audience, including a 13-year-old writer who wants to have his own book published someday. I used to be the 13-year-old going to readings with my parents. I don’t think he could possibly know how much it meant to me to sign his copy of Beware the Hawk (even though I told him to wait a few years before reading it.) It’s the circle of life, people.

Speaking of circling, I read with my back to a huge window, and I’m told that a hawk was flying around on the other side of the glass during the reading. As I posted on my Facebook author page last night, I want to try to duplicate this experience by naming future titles after animals that might appear outside of a library window. I’ll name the next one Beware the Squirrel. Or something. There is an interesting discussion about possible common-animal book titles going on over there right now.

Thank you so much, Watertown Library, Friends of the Watertown Library, and people of Oakville and Watertown. You’ve made me so happy.

*My father took scads of photos last night. I will post them when I get them.

 

 

Scavenger Hunt winners: The battle for supremacy.

Remember yesterday, when I posted the scavenger hunt winners? I posted a list of all the people who participated, and the number of missions in which they participated. This list  (which shall from this point on be referred to “The Leaderboard,” to make it seem cooler than it really is) looked like this at 11:30 yesterday:

Ally :4

Mary-Jo :4

Alena :4

E.S. : 3

Heidi: 1

Tamela : 1

Linsey : 1

As you can see, there was a three-way tie between Ally, Mary-Jo and Alena. I issued this challenge to the three front-runners: If one of you pulls ahead of the pack in the next 24 hours by submitting just one more entry, you may have the tee shirt of your choice from my store.

Then some of the participants read the post and things got real.

Except that I didn’t know how real things had gotten because this morning, my iPhone decided that I didn’t need to be notified when something was tweeted to me. I came home from work to find that three participants had attempted to submit/submitted new material and that two of the three had declared themselves “in it to win it.” One of the three was talking smack like a wrestler standing in front of WWE ringside camera.

It was awesome. And I missed most of  it. So now, I would like to post a summary of the Scavenger Hunt Battle for Supremacy. Cue the American Gladiator theme music.

Last night  – I posted the winners.

Last night – Mary-Jo has trouble uploading a tattoo photo but leaves this intriguing comment on my Facebook page:

“Mary-Jo Bates I’m having issues uploading the tatt pic, but I was impressed by Danno’s translation of my mental image into my cross tatt. Woohoo! I cannot wait to put that on my precious books’ shelf :)”

If you ever get that photo uploaded, Moj, I want to see it.

Last night –  E.S. Cameron submits a pink hair photo. I update the blog and go to sleep.

Then I wake up and this happens:

8:10 a.m  – Ally posts a photo of her tattoo. 8:44 a.m. – Ally posts a Craigslist ad, which is safe for work.

8:45 a.m. – Ally ups the ante, posting another Craigslist ad, which is probably not safe for work.

9:10 a.m.  – Alena strikes back with a twofor. Declares self “in it to win it.”

10:57 a.m. – You should not say such things to Ally, who has somehow found an actual purple shamrock and who is backing that up with a purple drawing of a shamrock, just in case I didn’t think the shamrock was purple enough. Her tweet contains the word “dammit.”

10:57 a.m.  -Ally takes some time out to taunt Tamela for making excuses.

11:00 a.m.  – Ally visits my Facebook page and tells us about an injury she’s had:

For the scavenger hunt, a more detailed account of my Toronto Chinatown injury: I was 11 years old, and we were going to visit my great-grandmother in Toronto. The first day we were there I fell down a flight of stairs in her apartment complex and sprained my ankle. I was on crutches the rest of the trip, and somewhere my mom has a picture of me at the Chinatown arch with my crutches and Ace bandage.

9:40 p.m. – After what I perceive as a long silence, Ally begs to be let off haiku-writing.

10:32 p.m. – The haiku is submitted. The other contenders are pretty much dead silent at this point.

10:39 p.m.  – She tweets this for the seedy bar category, which isn’t strictly speaking, what I asked for, but which counts.

Let’s take a look at The Leaderboard now.

Ally :10

Mary-Jo :4

Alena :5

E.S. : 3

Heidi: 1

Tamela : 1

Linsey : 1

Ally is the clear and undisputed winner. She wins either the tee of her choice from my store or the iPhone case.

Thank you for playing, ladies. And winners, get those snail mail addresses in to me so I can send you your prizes!