It’s been a while, I know. Here you sit, all alone, drink in hand while the band plays a sorrowful refrain. I’ve even left you right up front at the table next to the window, with only a half-eaten appetizer and a wan smile from the server to keep you company. I’ve been a crappy date, I realize. But here’s why.
I wrote a book. Not terribly recently, mind you, but over the last few years. I did it on a lark, when I noticed that a college acquaintance of mine had broken out as a romance novelist in the midst of a successful career as a college professor and all-around Giant Brain. As I sat at home reading about her in my college magazine, I recalled that I had, in fact, been a peer tutor of writing at that same institution, had been complimented rather highly on my work, and all in all, didn’t completely suck at writing.
“So, self,” I muttered upon checking out my classmate’s goods, “I think we can actually do this respectably well. Let’s give it a whack.” I pulled out my iPhone (yep) and put down a chapter. I went for something fun, something twangy but not painful, something that would be a kick for me to write, and therefore, would flow pretty well. At the time, I was digging stuff like The Vampire Diaries and Twilight, having been a fan of the whole vampire genre since before Gary Oldman’s knee-melting “oceans of time” line from Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Incidentally, if you are not familiar, see that movie now. Now–go. You can finish reading this post later. Shoo. If nothing else, see it for Oldman’s fantastic performance and the absolute perfection of that one line. It really is that good.
But I digress. I chose the genre of urban fantasy for the bursting of my long-form literary cherry. For those who may be unfamiliar with the term (though I’ll betcha not with the genre itself), urban fantasy incorporates elements of the surreal into real-life, contemporary settings. I didn’t really know this was a specific and defined thing at first–I just knew that the concept of the fantastic in the real world was intriguing to me, from classics like Allende’s Casa de Los Espíritus to the X-Men franchise to Harry Potter.
I also knew, sentimental gal that I am, that I wanted my book to include a classic romance, complete with chemistry and tension and a few metaphorical thai chiles thrown in there for good measure. Finally, I wanted to laugh. I wanted my work to make me laugh often, with snark and satire and good, old-fashioned wit–in other words, fewer bare-chested werewolves and more Prince lyric references than you see in the average urban fantasy novel. I’d just finished a few HP Mallory books, and it seemed to me that my writing style could fit into her niche of urban fantasy / paranormal romance with a heaping dollop of humor. So away I went, phone in hand, thumbs flying.
Over the next several months I whipped it out wherever I could (the iPhone of course, you sick twist)–on planes, in hotels, on buses like the one in Japan I referenced in Gorilla, and before I knew it, by Jeeves, there was a dang book in there. About 180 pages, so a short book, to be fair, but it was there all the same. I finished it in classic writer style–in Paris, sitting at a sidewalk cafe table, drinking a glass of red wine and eating a Croque Monsieur. Pretty cool.
Internal experiment now complete, it was time to see what people thought–people who weren’t me, that is. After a very self-conscious reveal to my sister-in-law (she has a Big Brain too), I had both a positive response that powered me forward and a lot of very good notes for revision. I finally self-published Overture in 2014, and huzzah!–people liked it. There was no real campaigning–I did the cover (using stock art by an artist named Pakmor), the formatting, the giveaways, the tweets and all the rest of the marketing, if you could even call it that, but it was still well-received overall. Overture got a 4.14 rating on Goodreads, some lovely and reinforcing comments from R2R participants and other readers not related to me, and some additional excellent notes to action related to anything from plot twists to level of detail to the brevity of the book itself.
Cut to today. I’m running breathlessly into the restaurant with a parcel under my arm, apologizing as I wrestle out of my coat and join you at the table. I’m handing over to you my updated book, which is revised and expanded from the original, and now features a gorgeous new cover designed by artist Diana Buidoso. I’m beseeching you to take it as a peace offering, to understand why I didn’t call, or write…or blog. It’s right here–evidence of hours spent drafting and crafting between conference calls and meetings, before midnight on a work night and after the Folding of the Laundry on a Saturday afternoon. I’m offering this book, my book, to you and asking you for your input (and also a slug of your wine).
Here, my dear, neglected readers, is my shameless plug. Overture, the first of four books (or Movements) in a series of the same name, is available on Amazon.com in both Kindle and paperback format. If you are a member of Kindle Unlimited, your download is free. Give it a whirl. Download the sample. I would love to know what you think, and if you like what you read, would love to have your backing: http://amzn.to/2exGru8
So, what do you say? Want to have a go (wink, wink)? Let me pour you some more wine.