Clare Speaks

Now that I’m mostly free of this cruddy cold that’s had my brain all muddled the past few days, it’s time to update y’all with some news. 🙂

First off, both Arizona and Tucson business licenses have been procured! Yep, I can officially sell my book and bookmarks at Tucson Comic-Con. Now I just need those pesky books to arrive and I’ll be all set.

Secondly, TCC exclusive Abnormal bookmarks have been made! They feature the neuron image from the cover design. 🙂 I’ll have a limited supply, so if you’re planning on stopping by at Tucson Comic-Con, make sure to make Table AA147 one of your first stops. I’ll be near the escalator on the right if you’re facing the concession stand across from the escalators. Here’s a pic:

Thirdly, the character interview of Clare with The Protagonist Speaks went live last week, but because I was in a cough-syrup-induced haze I forgot to post the link! I’m super excited to have Clare’s voice out there in a new place, and I need to get onto all the social media and post it. I mean, I’ve retweeted and stuff, but I gotta post the actual linkage and stuff.

Preparations for Tucson Comic-Con are still underway, but it’s mostly little things. I know I have a receipt book somewhere, just need to find it, and also make sure I have plenty of hand sanitizer and other such things ready to go.

Five more days. Four and a half, really. This is gonna be fun!

Excelling…or am I?

So I thought I was doing pretty well with contacting authors, podcasts, and book bloggers about Abnormal. I mean, I’ve been following along with the Marketing 101 assignments that my publisher has been putting out in the Facebook group, I’ve been researching places to contact, I’ve been documenting my contacts…so why is it that, when I input the contacts I’ve done into an Excel sheet, I’ve only contacted about twenty people/businesses??

I guess reality is not the same as perception sometimes. I’ve got a list of five more book bloggers to contact today, but I’m a little discouraged at how dismal my personal efforts have been. I want Abnormal to succeed, so why am I slacking?

Well, part of it is just life. I get busy (or I get too sleepy in the mornings), and I forget. Or I say I’ll do it after work. Or something. Regardless of the reason for the slackiness, I need to step it up. Get cracking.

My efforts look so much more impressive when they’re scrawled in a composition book or date planner. I guess I write much bigger than I realized. Lol

I just have to tell myself that I can do this. I’ve got a form email saved for sending to places, I’ve got a list started of places to contact, and I am looking every so often for more places. I’m less overwhelmed than I was previously when it comes to finding places to send requests for reviews/interviews to, but I still don’t feel like I’m doing enough.

On the plus side, I got my author copies in this past weekend, and they look great. I mean, I’ve seen the paperbacks when I did my signing at the local bookstore, but it’s cool to have a copy to carry around, and the hardcover looks great, too. 

Ain’t they a beaut? 

I guess I should get off the blog and get to the blogs. Er, book review blogs.

Back in the deep end

Well, after a self-imposed “week off” from serious book promoting, I’m back in deep. I’ve downloaded a few podcast apps to help me narrow down my searches for podcasts to contact to talk about Abnormal. (My Google-fu when it comes to podcasts is dismally unhelpful.) I’ve started contacting podcasts that might be willing to listen to me blather on about Abnormal. I’ve got a list. Lists are always good, right?

Still trying to get over my frustration with finding influencers to market to. I think the podcast-finding apps will help a bit, but I’ll still have to do the “legwork” of searching each podcast, contacting them, and waiting, waiting, waiting. A few have responded with negatories, but at least it’s a response.

Book 2 is in the hands of a couple of alpha readers, hopefully to be returned in the next couple of weeks with notes on where to finesse it before I send it back to RhetAskew in November. I’ll be really glad to get that off to the publisher, because it’s the next step in getting another book published (and it’ll be another big personal accomplishment as well). 

As late as five or six years ago, I thought I’d never have enough “story” in my head to write a whole novel. Whispers of Death started with a series of microfiction that I wrote many, many years ago. I thought hey, I can make this into something.  It went through many alterations and morphed into something completely different, but those microfictions were the brainchild of Whispers. At first I was overambitious and aimed for a trilogy, but in the end I decided to make it a one-shot. Nearly three years ago, that one-shot was self published on Amazon.

Within months of finishing Whispers of Death, I started on Abnormal. It was a strange start to a novel: I came up with the title first, then built from there. Yeah, this new series–and it will be a series–started with a single word bouncing around in my noggin.

So weird. I had a fully-formed concept for Whispers but no title, no character names, nada. Now I have a fuller-formed concept based on a word. Just one. Little. Word.

The moral of this rambling blog post? Don’t give up. It might take you a few years. You might have to revisit your old writing for inspiration. Hell, you might just need the right word or words to pop into your head to get you started. But don’t quit. Whatever you do, don’t quit.

You can do it. I have faith in you. If I can, you can. Just try.

Working off the clock

As I am rapidly discovering, publishing a book is a lot of hard work–even after the book is published.

You don’t just release the book like a dove at a wedding and expect it to fly. You’ve got to keep promoting, keep looking for influential people to read and (hopefully) review it, keep seeking opportunities to speak publicly about the book, keep going, going, going.

I’m am eternally grateful for the time and attention that RhetAskew Publishing gives to its authors. I’d be floundering without a clue if they weren’t willing to listen to my frustrations and explain things to me, and even on occasion provide a bit of help. Don’t get me wrong: they don’t do all the work for me. I’ve got to take responsibility in getting this ship off the ground.

So far I’ve contacted probably ten or twelve different authors, bloggers, podcasts, and others to offer them copies of the book to read or offer an interview about the book or what have you. Not many bites, but that’s okay. I’m a no-name author at the moment; my fifteen minutes hasn’t come up yet. That’s okay, though. As the meme says,

Yep, that’s my master plan. Sell the books, become famous, and live a life of luxury.

Ha! Just kidding. I just want my story read. The fame and (ideally) fortune are just pleasant side effects of that story being read.

One five-star review on Amazon so far, with another one pending (Amazon takes a couple days to approve reviews, but this person sought me out to tell me they posted a review). Not too terribly shabby.

Yeah, the bad reviews will inevitably come as well. It happens. But I will just hold my head high, chalk it up to differences in taste, and keep on truckin’.

And keep on searching for influencers, and keep on contacting them, and keep on offering copies, and keep on suggesting interviews, and….

Well, back to work!

Battle royale

It’s been a while since I’ve had a legitimate bipolar breakdown, so I guess yesterday’s little panic attack was overdue. Still, it would be nice not to have to go through that at all.
So the marketing process for Abnormal combined with the marketing workshop that my publisher is running on Facebook combined with general anxiety about the projected success or failure of said book all are working together to create that perfect environment for a bipolar freak-out. Last night was the first of what I hope is a minimal number of said freak-outs.
It all started with the sudden realization that the workshop assignments were leading up to us authors identifying and contacting our top genre influencers about our works.
Wait…I have to find out who the top sci-fi/dystopian/LGBTQ bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, journalists, etc, are, then I have to write out emails asking them to read and review my book or do an interview with me, then I have to send out those same emails? Like, actually send them? To people who have thousands and thousands of followers, who probably already lead busy lives and already get gobs of junk emails with the same type of requests? But–but–but…what if I’m bothering them?
Ah, yeah, there’s that irrationality. There’s the anxiety rearing its ugly head.
Fuck you, anxiety. You ruined my evening yesterday.
Fighting with this type of anxiety is a tough one. I can always go to friends or family or to my husband or my publishers with my unfounded concerns, but I can’t always take their logical, rational advice and apply it to the very much illogical and irrational fear I’m experiencing. The irrational fear eats logic for breakfast, chews it up, and spits it out in a sloppy wet wad on the carpet. I always end up stepping square in that wad. I hate stepping on anything wet, literally or metaphorically.
Why is it so horrifying to have to send out some nice, polite emails requesting consideration for myself and my book? I don’t know. Again, it’s an irrational fear. And no, it’s not the fear of them ignoring my emails or sending rejections–it’s the fear of being a bother. A nuisance. An annoyance.
It was difficult to send email requests to some of my favorite authors asking if they’d be interested in having an Advanced Reader Copy of Abnormal to peruse and maybe write a blurb on. I was terrified of annoying them. Of being viewed as spam–even if it was potentially some random assistant who was handling that day’s particular emails. That is what had me paralyzed yesterday. It’s still got me shaken up a bit, but so far this morning no fountains of tears. So that’s progress, right?
Another stressor to add onto these imaginary stressors is the feeling that I have to get all my marketing done before the September 1 release date–which is now ten days away. Ten. Short. Days. My publisher assures me that’s not the case, that I have the entirety of the series to build upon and market to my fanbase, but the timing of the marketing workshop is not helping. Don’t get me wrong–I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have such a workshop. It’s just giving me a minor heart attack thinking about all the assignments that are being given with “just ten days” in which to complete the assignments.
Ten days…I’m almost in the single digits.
I had my freak-out. I talked with close friends, with my publisher, with my husband. I whined and moaned and misunderstood the assignments and cried and sobbed and overreacted. I did all the things except stay calm and look at it from a logical standpoint. Logically, the bloggers and vloggers and podcasters and journalists are there to build on their own fanbase, and they (theoretically) welcome the opportunity to read and review something that their fanbase might enjoy. Illogically, they’re going to view me as an overeager spammer nobody who needs to leave them alone.
I’m going to get past this. I’m going to finish this post, search for my genre’s “influencers,” and get started on a template to share in the workshop to eventually turn into emails to said influencers.
It may not be within the next ten days. But I have a whole series to get this done in.
Still, better now than never.
Off I go.
Kicking and screaming, but off I go.


Five days. Just five little days to the cover reveal for Abnormal. Five days til the preorder link goes live. Nineteen days to the book release.
Not that I’m counting down or anything.
The excitement is getting to me just a little bit. A lot. I can’t have a cover reveal party because I didn’t find out the date for the reveal until after I’d made plans for that day, but I’m hoping my husband will let me have a few friends over on the day the book releases. A few friends and some alcohol. And books. They’d better have books. Lol
Ooh, I need pens! Lots of different colors! Or Sharpies. I’ve seen authors use big, bold Sharpies to sign books. Back to school sales are still going on, right? Maybe I’ll find a sweet deal Friday. Because autographs are a thing.
I’ve nudged the local bookstore to see if they have a date when they’d want me there for an event/signing. I need to step up my game though. There’s radio stations, newspapers, TV stations, libraries–I have to get all the things done, and I’m running out of time. Man, it really snuck up on me. Five days, dude. Less than a week until the world sees what Abnormal will look like. Less than a week until they can place orders for Abnormal. Wow.
My mind is continually being blown here. It’s a whirlwind of dates and things. I’ve got X due for the SCA on this day, Y to do for Abnormal on the next, then work and work and work and Z for Abnormal and…. Well, you get the drift.
So. Bloody. Exciting. And Book 2 is still well underway, so we’ll see what I can come up with for that. I’m looking over it again after some “time off” from it to get a fresh look. Seems like solid writing, but I know I need to add more to it. The word count isn’t quite up to par yet, so I have some work to do there as well. I need to tweak and fidget and adjust until it’s ready for submission.
Shit. I have to do an outline. And a query letter. And a synopsis. And…and…and…Oh, hell. I forgot about that part of the process. Well, better get to it.

Author Birthday Q&A

Hey, everyone! It’s my 39th birthday, and I thought I’d give you a chance to ask author/book-related questions about me! All day today, comment, tweet, direct message, whatever, and I’ll do my best (in between birthday celebrations) to answer your questions! Ask about my inspirations, writing process, characters, the world of Abnormal, etc.
21 days until Abnormal is released in stores and on Amazon!!!


Well, due to technical difficulties, last night was a cluster. I set up in the spare bedroom with the door closed to read, phone in hand to live record me. The phone said I was live.
The phone lied.
Another RhetAskew author jumped into the Facebook event I created and took over while I sat there dutifully reading to an empty room. About halfway through I started getting messages from my Editor-in-Chief and the other author asking where the heck I was. Turns out, I wasn’t live in the event as I had thought I was. I was live…somewhere? Maybe? But it didn’t show up anywhere. Rather than fumble and scramble to type responses I kept reading. I finished my “performance” and hit send.
The “live” recording did not send to the event. No, to make matters worse, it sent to my Facebook author page. So I had to go, find where the recording ended up, and share it to the event from there.
And I still haven’t been able to find the other author’s reading. I know it exists because other people saw it, but….yeah. That was my life yesterday evening.
The afternoon was not without its own hitches, either. No one asked me any questions for my Q&A, and even after going live on Twitter and then Facebook I got zilch. After nearly an hour I gave up and went to take a nap.
I’m not losing hope though. Gotta keep promoting, keep getting word out there.
Whether I’m live or not.

Blog tour, anyone?

So I’ve been encouraged/instructed to start a blog tour. As often as I blog, I still had to google what the heck a blog tour was. Is. Anywho, I need to do some blogging on other blogs besides my own. So….any takers?
If you’ve got a book blog or a sci-fi blog or a dystopian blog or a fanblog or…well, anything reading-related, I’d be willing to do a guest post for your readers. I’ll answer questions about writing, about Abnormal, about my life (within reason)…whatever. You ask, I answer, or maybe I’ll just babble on for a few paragraphs. Whatever you–or your readers–need.
You can contact me by commenting here, or you can contact Rhetoric Askew through the email link at the bottom of their page and request an “appearance.” Want to interview me about Abnormal? Ask the Askew team.
Twenty-seven days and counting. Are you ready for Abnormal?

Upcoming ups and comings

Q&A is set for next Wednesday, 2pm PST! 🙂 I’ll go live on Twitter to answer questions about Abnormal, but you can send me questions ahead of time or send them to RhetAskew Publishing by using the email link at the bottom of their page. More questions means more answers…but no spoilers! 😉
Also next week (Monday afternoon or evening): Shy little ol’ me is going to try to do either a video recording of me reading an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Abnormal or maybe–maybe–a live reading. It depends on my courage at the time. I’ve gotta get used to being on-camera for interviews and what have you, but I want to dip my toes first. So, either live or recorded, I’ll be reading from Abnormal next Monday afternoon. Probably around….Well, it depends on my courage. Two-ish PST if I’m live, a little later if I choke and record it.
I’ll also be setting up interviews and blog tours (that’s a thing I heard of, but don’t ask me how they work just yet–the Askew team will be helping me) and some other stuff along the way. I’m getting busier and busier as September 1st approaches, and that will be far from the end of it. I have to contact bookstores and libraries about potential events/book signings/readings/etc. I have to get in touch with radio stations and newspapers and all that jazz. It’s going to be hard work, but it will be worthy work.
Don’t forget Tucson Comic Con, either! I’ll be there, fair and square, Friday through Sunday! November 2-4, 2018. If you’re anywhere near Tucson, AZ, head on down!