Tuesday, May 31, 2011

June Gloom, The Opposite Of

From the Department of Self-Promotion: June 2011 is shaping up nicely.

On June 5th, I'll be discussing SHADOW POINT with the Portland Lesbian Book Salon.

On June 11th, I'll be doing a reading at the Golden Crown Literary Society's annual conference in Orlando. (and otherwise enjoying meeting lots of readers and writers at my first GCLS) The sub-department of SHAMELESS Self-Promotion wishes to mention that SHADOW POINT is a finalist for a Goldie award in 2 categories - yippie-ki-yay!

On June 16th, I'll be on Lara Zielinsky's blogtalkradio show at 7:30 pm PST. (http://blogtalkradio.com/lara-zielinsky) Start thinking of a fabulous question to call in with now... preferably nothing involving geography or history...

Check, Please!

May 2011 brought this first-time author her first check from the publisher! It's very exciting to get paid (even a small amount) for something I just made up. Not ready to buy the private island yet, but every little bit helps.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"Across the pale parabola of joy..."

P. G. Wodehouse

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757
05-18-11: 10020
05-25-11: 10560 (not in The Swamp - just reconfiguring a bit...)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"I Think He Meant Peep"

I recently did my very first public reading. Yay! Clearly, I am now an expert on the subject.

Okay, not. But I used to work as a corporate trainer, so I've had a lot of public speaking experience, to groups large and small. Hopefully, that experience prepared me to go forth as Author Amy and do things like: thank the folks who invited me, speak clearly and loudly enough, make occasional eye contact with the audience, smile and otherwise appropriately emote, read the material at an acceptable pace and overall, make the reading an enjoyable experience for the audience and myself. And by enjoyable, I mean brainwash those people into buying my book.

I was thrilled to get the opportunity to do this reading (thanks again, Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans!!!) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It went well - people laughed at the funny bits and did not laugh at the unfunny bits. (both equally important) The audience was engaged and attentive - thank you, room o' literate strangers!

Although this was my first time reading from my novel, I have heard other authors read from their works over the years. A few were famous, big-time writers (Robert B. Parker and John Irving) who were speaking to enormous crowds of avid fans. Some were well-known within their genre, speaking to much smaller audiences. Most were obscure new authors like myself, who brought varying degrees of charm, wit and clarity to their presentations, and were speaking to teeny tiny groups. Some of these writers were shining examples of How To Do A Public Reading. I applaud you and aspire to emulate you. Some - equally educational, if not more so - were just flat out awful. This blog post is dedicated to that latter group.

The Author You DON'T Want To Be When You're Reading In Public:

Speed Racer Author:
Speed kills. S - l - o - w it down, buddy and take a breath. Oxygen is a requirement, not an option.

Terrified Author: The quavering voice, the shaking hand, the trembling knees. Huge, unblinking eyes in a pale, sweaty face. Wow, you are dead meat up there. We, your audience, feel really bad for you and urge you to consider Toastmasters. And/or pharmaceuticals.

Overly Dramatic Author: You are not Hermione Gingold in "The Music Man." ("A Grecian urn...") (why my brain conjured up Hermione out of all the actors I could have chosen, I'm not sure, but wow, that was an awesome totally-obscure-pop-culture reference!) Less drama, please, Oscar - tweak it back to, say, local Emmy level.

I Am Drunk At 10:00 In The Morning And Adorable Author: Yes, you are. And no, you're not. If you can't do it sober, then please just stay in your hotel room. We'll have room service bring up some more mimosas for you.

3 More (Often Simultaneous) You Don't Want To Be: The Low Talker, Monotone Molly, Zero Eye Contact Author.

I can't wait to do my next reading! Maybe you'll be there, Dear Reader. If it turns out I'm delusional and I actually suck at reading in public, don't tell me, all right? Just leave an anonymous voicemail on my hotel room phone, identifying yourself as Hermione Gingold.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"Short people are just the same as you and I."

Randy Newman

Series-ously?

One of my favorite authors is Sue Grafton, who is best known for her Alphabet Mysteries, starting with A IS FOR ALIBI and currently at U IS FOR UNDERTOW. She is an enormously successful mystery writer and obviously has a good thing going with her long-running Kinsey Millhone series. Before she wrote A IS FOR ALIBI, however, she did write some other books that have nothing to do with the series.

I realize from your perspective, Dear Reader, that I've written one book. Uno. That's all. (in which case, you may also be thinking I've got a hell of a nerve to be blogging about writing like I actually know something! Well, you're right. I do have a hell of a nerve.)

But from my perspective, it's more like four:
• SHADOW POINT was published in December 2010.
• ROMEO FAILS is coming in February 2012.
• HEAVENLY MOVES is complete and why I am waiting until June to submit it to the publisher is
something not even my own brain completely understands.
• Now I'm working on THE BOOK OF KELL. (although said brain is still fighting with itself - not
mano a mano, of course - lobe-o a lobe-o? - over whether this should be the title...)

But these four books are not a series. Far from it. SHADOW POINT is a ghost story, ROMEO FAILS is a Midwestern tale of three women whose lives intertwine, HEAVENLY MOVES is a 1982 rock'n'roll murder mystery and THE BOOK OF KELL is a post-apocalyptic YA story.

Am I a literary flake who can't commit to a series? Flitting from one unrelated (or are they?) one-off to the next? Should I commit?

SHADOW POINT could definitely be the first in a series. HEAVENLY MOVES could definitely be the first in another series. I even have some rudimentary notes sketched out for books 2 & 3 with Madison and Pipe, and thoughts for more Heavenly Wilcox novels as well. It is a big commitment to just stick with one protagonist for a whole series of books, though. I mean, if it takes me roughly one year (maybe longer) to write just one novel, think of the time commitment involved with an entire series. As an author, you'd better REALLY love your protagonist and her world if you're going to live there for many, many years. I wonder if Sue Grafton ever found it daunting and overwhelming to think she had to stick with what she'd started in A and keep it going through B, C, D, E...

On the other hand, if someone told me I'd make a million bucks for every sequel I wrote to SHADOW POINT, I'd be all over it!!! Heck, if I could make even a modest living from writing a series, I'd commit in a heartbeat.

I'm not reluctant to write a series, actually. (Nor do I want anyone to think I suffer from fear of commitment. I'm highly committable.) It's just that I have all these other ideas bouncing around in my skull, clamoring to be written next before I revisit Madison McPeake. And the fact is SHADOW POINT's only been out in the world for six months. People seem to like it. Not everybody, of course! Not everyone has such good taste as you and I, Dear Reader!

So, do I plan to write a sequel to SHADOW POINT? Absolutely! Should I be working on that now instead of another one-off, THE BOOK OF KELL? Well... It's unlikely that I'll ever get rich from writing the books I write. That's just reality. A silver lining of that reality is I'm pretty darn free to write whatever I want. Which is not a license to bore. I write books that I would like to read. Entertaining, sometimes amusing, slightly thought-provoking commercial fiction. Other people may have important things to say - not me! What a relief, to not have to worry about that!

As a reader, I love a good series. (emphasis on good) As a writer, I see lots of different challenges associated with writing a series. As a blogger, I'm wondering if this blog is too damn boring.

More graphics?

Blistering, unvarnished honesty??

Snacks???

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757
05-18-11: 10020

Monday, May 16, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

(on a Monday, after getting home at 1:00 am after a trip)

"There's no place like home."

Dorothy Gale

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528
05-11-11: 7757

Sunday, May 8, 2011

So Wear Your Good Underwear For Me To Picture You In

I'm very excited to announce my first public reading of (a few pages of) SHADOW POINT. The fine folks at the Saints & Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans have invited me to participate. I'm thrilled and honored to do so! This Saturday, May 14, 2011, I'll be one of several authors reading from their works at the festival. I will also be on a panel discussing the evolving nature of the women's literary community. Should be a blast! I'm looking forward to meeting lots of readers and writers. And my flight has a brief stopover in San Diego, where SHADOW POINT takes place - which means a gorgeous aerial view of Point Loma, the "real" Shadow Point and my childhood home. How's that for pre-conference inspiration? Yahoo! Not totally sure what I'm going to wear yet for My Big Debut, but the outfit will probably involve the word "converse." If this were a cold weather event, I could throw a blazer on top of jeans, t-shirt & converse and pretend to be fancy. I am not fancy. And it won't be cold in New Orleans in May - more like steamy, hot, humid and awesome! I am EXCITED, Dear Reader!!! I get to read my novel out loud in front of people!!! FABULOUS.


Now, what to wear...



Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday Quote-O-Rama!

"Tsch."

Cesar Millan

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mona Leases A Chevrolet

A fellow author posed the question awhile back: can a car be a character in a book? I say YES! (For you Dear Readers of a certain age, I have four words: My Mother The Car.)

In my 3rd novel, HEAVENLY MOVES, a major character is a young woman named Mona. The story is set in 1982. Let's meet her car:

"Mona picked me up around 7:00 p.m. in her car. Originally purchased by her grandmother in 1963, it was a very large American vehicle of unknown pedigree. The nameplates identifying the make and model had long ago fallen off. We called it the Monamobile. The original bright lemon-colored paint job had faded to the palest of yellows, almost white, with patches of rust throughout, except for one replaced side panel in a dark and disturbing shade of green found nowhere in nature. As always, the back seat was a mess, littered with fast food debris, candy wrappers, soda cans, miscellaneous papers, broken bass strings, picks, a few random articles of clothing, bottles of motor oil, a naked plastic baby doll without the head (don't ask) and who knows what else. Mona tended to throw trash over her shoulder into the back and only clean it up about once a month or so. With the trash, the duct-taped seats, a big crack in the windshield and mismatched, rusted exterior, it was a vehicle only an owner could love. Someone had once told Mona it looked like the car of a serial killer. She loved it."
copyright Amy Briant 2011


I have a vivid picture in my mind of the Monamobile, but have not yet found a picture that captures all her magnificence. As noted above, by 1982, she's rusty and beat up, but still a stalwart steed. As to her mysterious make and model, she looks a little like this:


Or this:


Or maybe one of these:


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Word Count Wednesday!

Untitled Post-Apocalyptic YA Novel
Goal: 60,000 words (at least)

04-01-11: 0
04-27-11: 2774
05-04-11: 5528