First, the free stuff. Discovery, the first book of The Stream trilogy will be free this weekend from 28 April through 30 April 2012. That’s the rest of the month!! Okay, enough marketing hyperbole. I would greatly appreciate anyone’s willingness to read and review the book. Or, even better, if you like it to tell a friend. There are a few things you should know.
First, although the two main characters are twelve in the first book, it is not a kid’s book. There is no inappropriate dialogue, no sexuality, and little to no bad language, but I didn’t target kids when I wrote it. I don’t write in the simple language and sentence structure of a J.K. Rowling. Don’t want to learn; ain’t gonna do it. In addition, while there is plenty of fantasy (dragons that breathe cold and fire, murderous Klowns, and in the subsequent books, more critters than you can shake a stick at), there are also some more adult themes. No, I don’t mean adult as in soft-core porn. I mean spirituality, finding one’s confidence, dealing with bullying behavior, life after death, etc. I think kids would like it, but don’t fear trying it if you’re a grown-up.
At its core, it is a love story. There are more than one interwoven love stories, and I won’t reveal more than that, except to say that love takes many forms, and I explore as many as I can in the three books.
In addition to the main characters and fantastical beings, the books have adult characters, ranging in age from their 30s to their mid-80s. There are also historical references that are central to the plot, and for which I am not convinced kids earlier than high school (or really bright middle-schoolers) will get.
So, whom is the book written for? That’s easy. I wrote it for Parents who loved the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter. My demographic is both male and female, who like strong, flawed, three-dimensional characters, multiple plot lines, witty dialogue, Good vs. Evil themes (where Good is the star), and action. If this doesn’t describe you, these books aren’t for you … but maybe you know someone whom they will be for.
Creepy Marketing Pitch
Marketing, specifically the part where you ask people to do things for you, gives me the heebie-jeebies. Unfortunately, that is the sole purpose of marketing, so it has to be done.
So … Awakening is available, and I think it’s pretty good. Emprise (Book 3, due Winter 2012) is the best of the three. I have had positive reactions from Awakening, but zero reviews. If you are interested in reading and reviewing the book, let me know. I can send you a free electronic copy. Awakening picks up a year after the first book, and although it enriches the story if you’ve read Discovery, it isn’t mandatory. I often pick up series in the middle, and wrote it knowing that others do too.
Reading vs. Writing
I printed out Hard As Roxx for the first time, preparing for my first real read through. Sure, I’ve read it twice while writing and editing, but that isn’t the same as reading. When I’m at my computer, I read only as a writer. Mainly, I’m looking for flow, missing pieces, and trying to spot the myriad extra words hiding in the book.
As a reader, I’m just trying to see if the story is interesting and holds together. Ideally, I’d have someone else do that, but my First Reader has retired from the practice due to life concerns, and I have yet to find the right person. A First Reader should be a literary soulmate, to an extent. I don’t have mine … yet. (This is what happens when you make writers your best friends – you get wonderful, interesting personalities that enrich your writing, and flaky people who zoom in and out, blown like torrents switching from clockwise to counter-clockwise flows as life’s pressures rise and fall. I’m in-between storms at the moment.)
I’ve decided to start writing Jeanne’s story. That’s her name, Jeanne … Jeanne D’Arc by birth, but she goes with Dark. She’s an investigator with an unusual gift, or curse, depending on the circumstance. She has pretty advanced synesthesia, but in a form no one has seen before. Dark will be more suspense than anything else, full of action, and very adult. I wanted to write this as a pretty complex plot, and probably will, but it’s not coming. So, I will sit down this weekend, and write out the basics of a plot. I’ve decided that like Roxx, I will let this one flow naturally from scene to scene. More on that process in my next blog post: Plotting, Pantsing, and In-Between. I’m an In-betweener.
I’ve realized that I have purposely danced away from my gift as a writer – which is language. Other poets shake their heads at me because I routinely make up words when the language doesn’t present the word I need. They shake their heads, spouting all the admonitions they learned in getting their MFAs. I don’t got no emeffing MFA. My response is always the same: one must see language as fluid, mellifluous, dynamic; if there is no word, search within. One must take chances with language. If writers do not, who will?
I cannot tell you how many times I click “add to dictionary” in Word. F*ck Word’s dictionary.
But I digress.
The reason I stayed away from language was two-fold. First of all, the reason I never considered writing fiction is that I never believed I had a good imagination. I was good at modifying info, not creating it. So, when I decided to try writing, I focused on world building, character building, and letting my mind free. Words were secondary. In addition, stupidly, I believed what others said. I convinced myself that my background as a poet and use of language was a hindrance. Then something interesting happened. I read Faulkner. He is quite a bit more masterful than I will ever be, but if there were a school, I am in the Faulkner school. F*ck what other writers say.
I’m going to make my 5th book mine. It will read like I think, flow like my mind flows, and be what I need it to be. This book will decide, once and for all, what kind of writer I am. I know that I am not a hack, but that is not enough. All who have (and most who don’t have) genius will tell you that it cannot be learned. One is born with it, or one is not. I, on the other hand, think that’s nonsense. As one who’s personality changed, and who’s IQ test score has risen 25 points since I left school, I believe any “genius” is nothing more than a Small Matter of Learning. I want to learn to be a great writer. For me.
F*ck what Mensa and Stephen King think.
Die being the best you can. Otherwise, what’s the point of having lived, yo?