Isn’t sunset beautiful in Arizona? All the pinks and purples and blues…sometimes brilliant oranges or vibrant reds. They’re different from any sunsets I ever saw in Alabama or Ohio.
It makes me think about the future–about what a sunset might look like in the world of Abnormal.
Abnormal’s skies aren’t pretty. They’re dingy and grey and polluted. But what would that do to their sunsets?
I imagine skies afire. I imagine flamelike skylines as the departing sun lights up the atmosphere. I imagine a strange beauty borne of death and destruction.
These are just some of the things I think about when I’m creating the world of Abnormal. What’s the weather like? The atmosphere? What’s the temperature on a sunny summer day? What about winter?
Yeah, the world of Abnormal is bleak and dying. But is it irreparable? That remains to be seen.
World building is not the easiest of things to accomplish. How does one make a world that is believable and familiar, yet far-off and alien?
I’m not gonna lie; it’s hard.
Sometimes I have to go back and reread my work to see if I’m missing anything, some small detail that will have the die-hard readers grumbling. If you haven’t pissed off a fan, have you really written anything?
I’m rambling, I know. I’ve had a bit to drink tonight (the first of four total Thanksgiving celebrations), and I’m tired and still a bit hungry–seeing as how, with my keto diet, I couldn’t eat my usual Thanksgiving fare.
I’ve got more to write on another Abnormalverse story this weekend. I’m about 1/3 of the way through, but I hope I can finish the draft and get it to my co-author to edit by the time the weekend’s done.
Then, hopefully, it’s back to Book 3 for more progress. Hopefully.
Speaking of the Abnormalverse, I’ve created a Facebook group for fans of the series and its offshoots. If you’re interested, or if you’re just a fan of sci-fi and dystopian fiction in general, click here to join the Abnormal Railroad. I’ll be posting memes, sharing articles, and providing updates on any goings-on in sci-fi/dystopia or the Abnormalverse.
It’s just another place for the Abnormalverse to grow and expand. If you’ve read ABNORMAL and enjoyed the story and the characters, join the Abnormal Railroad and see what’s up!
Harper Williams had survived a lot: Abuse at the hands of her favorite uncle, rape and torture inside the camp at Kensington, the loss of her eyesight, and, most important of all, the loss of her lover Clare.
Born Harper Lee Revenant, Harper grew up in the heart of Heaven’s Light. She got her Sniper eyesight from both her parents, but her olive skin, turquoise eyes, and raven hair came from various gene donors, hand-picked at her mother’s insistence. These qualities enticed her pedophile uncle when she was a young girl, and the resulting psychological trauma left her with a hunger that couldn’t be sated. This hunger caused a rift between Harper and her boyfriend Eli, a rift that turned into a painful chasm–until Clare came into their lives.
For Harper, Clare was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise stagnant situation. Exiled from Heaven’s Light as a teenager, Harper found refuge with the roaming camps of Abnormals known as the Dead Cities. There she met Eli, but her nymphomania eventually pushed him away. Clare, a bipoly Abnormal that Eli had rescued from Heaven’s Light after two Gifted assailants nearly killed her, was everything Harper needed: strong and fierce, intelligent and intuitive, bold yet timid, all rolled into one tight, tiny package of sex and love. Through their mutual love of Clare, Harper and Eli’s rift was mended, and the three of them became inseparable.
Inseparable, that is, until they were ripped away from each other at Kensington.
The torture at Kensington was unbearable. The red-hot pokers that took her eyes, the broken bones, the gang rape that seemed unending–Harper wished for death more than anything then. Clare, with that brilliant, powerful mind of hers, found Harper and talked her back from the edge of the abyss. She joined their minds with Eli’s and drifted Harper off into a coma, a blissful nothingness that ended her suffering while Clare figured out a way to escape.
Or so she said.
While Harper slept, Clare–unbeknownst to Eli–struck a bargain with the Devil incarnate, Ezekiel Howard, the head of the Council. She made a dead for Harper and Eli to be healed and released, on one condition: Clare would go with Ezekiel back to Heaven’s Light.
Clare woke Harper from the coma with a kiss, and for a moment Harper thought everything would be okay. She was healed, save for the ocular implants that needed to be calibrated to her body, and Clare was with her.
Then Clare left.
She left. She left Harper alone and frightened, and she left of her own accord.
Harper and Eli were released once their injuries had been repaired, and Eli hurried them back to the Dead City before Ezekiel changed his mind. Eli was distant during this time, his easy-going personality replaced with a hardened, broken man. He stayed with Harper throughout her recovery and helped her adjust to her new way of seeing.
Harper wished he had left her alone. Without Clare, she didn’t much want to go on. She trudged through the days and nights in a haze, daydreaming about her lost love and hoping that she’d return. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and after two months with no word from Clare, Harper gave in to her demons.
Eli found her and took her to a medic, and to Harper’s dismay she woke up very much not dead. She’d been hoping to an end to the pain, but instead she wound up with deep scarring on her wrists that even the medics couldn’t fully repair.
Her dark life was brightened, however, when the medics gave her the happiest news of her life: Harper was pregnant.
Harper didn’t believe in any God; she didn’t believe in angels and Heaven. But one thing she was certain of: this was a miracle.
No longer feeling so alone, Harper threw herself into the pregnancy with a joy that was unsurpassed by anything else in her life–with the exception of Clare. She longed to share the news with Clare, to tell her that she was going to be a stepmother, to let Clare help name the baby girl. Instead, she busied herself with preparing the home she shared with Eli for the new arrival, fixing up the nursery and painting the walls the best she could with her artificial eyesight.
Eli’s mood brightened as well with the news, and he proposed to Harper on her birthday. Harper squealed with joy and threw her arms around Eli’s strong neck as she accepted.
Finally, she thought, I get to have a family.
There were still nights where Harper stayed up well past the time Eli retired, where she gazed out the window of the abandoned suburban home where they’d taken up residence and wondered what life would have been like if Clare hadn’t left.
One day, she told herself.
One day, Clare, I’ll find you again. I’ll take you away from there, away from the Light and back into my arms, where you belong.
Four. More. Days. This post originally said five, but somebody may have gotten slightly distracted by her work on Book 2 yesterday and neglected to post that day’s countdown. Or for some reason, it didn’t actually post to the site until this morning. Regardless (barring another snag in posting), it’s four days until Abnormal’s release.
Hey, look, I made it bigger than Sunday! Yay for small victories in figuring out how to post on this new site. Lol
I’d say I’m super excited, but right now it doesn’t feel “real.” I feel like, I don’t know, like four days is forever away. I mean, I’ve got a mostly-full work week, I’ve got Book 2 revisions in full swing, and I’ve got a few pressing embroidery projects that have to get done. It’s so surreal.
This is happening. This is really happening. I’ve written a book, it’s being published, and people who don’t know me want to read it. They want to read it, and they want to read the book I’m working on now.
Six days until this gorgeous book can be in your hands! Whether you preodered through Kindle or whether you requested your physical copy from your local bookstore, Saturday is the day.
I’ve been trying to rev up interest, and all day Saturday I’ll be running a virtual release party from my Facebook page — there will be guest authors, live snippets of my day, potential selfies at bookstores (depends on if I get time to run around and see who has it), and a chance to win an autographed paperback, courtesy of RhetAskew Publishing.
I also found out today that I’ll have access to merchandise soon. Pens and stuff–I don’t exactly know what yet–so I’ll soon have my own giveaways and maybe some grab bags of sorts for whatever. I’ll figure it out.
Today I have a few hours to myself, so I’ll be revising Book 2 according to my mind mapping and whatever else comes to me as I go. I have until November to get Book 2 submitted to my publisher, so I’ve got to get cracking. It’s not all fun and games, kiddos, there’s work to it. Revisions, edits, more revisions based on what you found in the edits, alpha reads, etc etc etc. So it’s nose to the grindstone today. A little alternative music on in the background, not too loud, and some intermittent laundry and kitchen cleanup breaks.
Now, if I could only tear myself away from the Internet for the above listed chores….
Yep, it’s another early morning for me, and now that I’ve been social on most of the medias, it’s time to get cracking on Book 2’s revisions. I’ve got a good idea of where I’m going with them, but it’s a matter of actually sitting down and getting from A to B. Then, once I’ve gotten the manuscript where it needs to be, it’s edit, edit, edit before I send it off for submission. RhetAskew Publishing has given me an early November deadline for submission, so I have some time but not, like, oodles. There’s a lot of life going on in those months…Abnormal‘s release, SCA events about every other weekend or more, book signing, work, more work, new certification for work…Yeah. All that and a bag of chips. Or something. I have no one to blame but myself, really….I asked my Editor-in-Chief when she’d like the manuscript, and she gave me a time frame.
The other day I had a mini major meltdown about Abnormal‘s release. That was fun (not). You see, as I’m revving up and getting ready for the release, I’m also taking a marketing workshop led by my Editor-in-Chief at RhetAskew. This workshop is pretty intense, and it’s left me feeling overwhelmed. There are things I’ve been doing that I guess are no-nos when it comes to marketing, and there are other things I haven’t done yet that are very, very important. I know that since Abnormal is the first in a series I have time to build my audience, but I was feeling an immense sense of urgency and anxiety that I’d never get all the things done before the release. Some part of my bipolar brain decided that I had to do every single workshop assignment ASAP to be ready for release date, and when I realized I was in overload I lost it. I’m talking red-faced, puffy-eyed, snot-nosed ugly crying. I was a hot mess.
I’m better about it now. I think I just needed to get it out of my system. Reached my boiling point, spilled over, and now I’m all good. Mostly…I still feel some anxiety, but nothing like the other day.
Well, guess it’s time to put the blog down and pick up my mind mapping. Gotta stay cool, calm, and collected as the countdown to Abnormal ticks down….9 days now. Single digits.
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.
Ok, folks, here’s the 411 on getting Abnormal to a bookstore near you: Ask for it!
Don’t be shy. Go up to the salesclerk, the store manager, whoever, and tell them you want to buy Abnormal when it comes out September 1. Tell them you want multiple copies. Tell them your second cousin twice removed on your mother’s side wants a copy.
Not sure if you want paperback or hardcover? Ask for both! You can decide which you want when it comes in. Or you can buy both. The choice is yours, but you have to be assertive and request it.
The more demand we create, the more supply stores will order. Simple economics.
So get out there, do your best Veruca Salt impression, and say, “I want it now!” 😉
I’m jealous of my ebook. You see, it’s available for preorder on Amazon Kindle already, but the hardback and paperback aren’t…yet.
Yeah, I know, it’s not fair. You might want me to autograph your book, and how can I do that with an ebook? I mean, I’m not above signing a Kindle (on the back, of course, or if there’s a margin around the screen, sure–never over the words though 😉 ), but a Kindle also doesn’t come with that book smell. You know the one.
It’s only just gone live for preorder, so I know I should be patient, but when it comes to this book I’ve worked too hard to be patient. I’ll be stalking the Rhetoric Askew link all day until the other two versions are live, too, so don’t worry–I’ll let you know.
Here it is, ladies and gents! The cover of Abnormal! The preorder link is going live very, very soon, at Rhetoric Askew … As soon as Amazon puts it up for preorder, that is. I’m waiting and draining my phone battery in an effort to notify people as soon as it’s active.
I’m extremely excited, and I can’t wait to get a few copies in my grubby little mitts.