Oh my God, he’s switching genres! What the hell! How dare he! Relax, faithful readers, the writing of this book doesn’t represent some crazy departure from what you know me for, it’s actually what I was working on long before all of that actually. And, as genres go, I like to this of my previous books and this one as first cousins of sorts - more closely related to one another than, say, if I announced that I was jumping from Contemporary to writing Science Fiction Murder Mysteries with the occasional dragon as a main character. No sex, minimal cursing, and all romance. A true love story in all the ways you imagine that to mean. That’s the difference, and I think you’ll find it a refreshing one. But you already know what a young adult novel is, right? Why am I even bothering with a dumb description of genre differences that you probably knew way before you started reading this? I don’t know, so I’m gonna stop and do what I really want to do, which is tell you all about this book that took part of me with it when I wrote its last words.
As I said before, Away from Me, which had a three-year working title of “Annalise to be published” on my computer, is something so personal and semi-autobiographical to me that it’s hard to even capture in words. But, then again, that’s kind of what I do, so here goes. The story itself is narrated by a man named Logan Santiago, who’s looking back on one of the most impactful years of his entire life - his senior year of high school when he was a self-described “. . .mixed up mixed kid. . .”, a kid with a Spanish mom and a white dad who’s very much like a lot of teens at that age: confused, a little angry, sarcastic as all hell, hating his way through the last year of school, and desperately hoping to talk to the girl of his dreams (don’t worry, we’ll get to Our Girl shortly). But what’s less common is that Logan is also dealing with the recent divorce of his parents, and the crippling depression and anxiety that’s rendered his mom home bound and not really functional for the last two years. All at once he went from your average teenager to his mom’s seventeen year old caretaker, with all the normal stress to boot, and no one there to help with his new adult responsibilities. Finding himself in a household that no longer seems like the same place he grew up, he years for a relief, something he stands in his bathtub (don’t worry it makes sense in the book...not really, but it’s explained anyhow) and prays for. But it’s at that exact moment that he meets his Goddess (as he likes to call her), a girl he’s had his eye on from afar his entire junior year, and today might be the day he finally talks to her...
Now about me. . .
I, too was a mixed up mixed kid - fake Spanish (as Logan likes to call himself), getting made fun of all the time for my mixed racial and ethnic background, and my general interest in all things comic book related. That’s right, I was a nerd. I am a nerd, I just make it work for me now, and I grew up in a household very much like I describe in the book. Part of the reason I wanted to tell this story through Logan’s eyes is because while there are a lot of books (hundreds probably) that deal with themes of mental illness, or have mentally ill characters, the struggle we read about is always their own. We read about a main character who’s depressed, and how that affects their lives, but less often do we see a story from the perspective of the person being effected by mental illness, and even rarer when that person is the child of the afflicted. That was me. That was my life. And I’ve always wanted to get the challenges of being a young person who was surrounded by mental illness, yet not that way himself, down on paper in a way that makes people understand the challenges of that situation. But hell, doesn’t that sound (no pun) depressing as all hell? Who wants to read that for a whole book? Well, fear not, that’s just the set up; the perspective; the context in which our love story takes place. Enter Annalise - Logan’s Peruvian Goddess - the girl from the wrong side of the tracks who might just save his drowning teenaged soul, if that’s even possible.
Anna’s an interesting human being - she’s Logan’s goddess - the girl he’s built up to almost mythical levels in his mind for a whole year, but when he finally ends of speaking to her after a crazy day at school (and a series of French fries thrown at his face by his best friend ... again, all in the book), he finally gets to see the real Anna, the complex, messed up, wonderful girl whose life is very similar to his own. She’s weird, she’s not the prom queen, and she also comes from a home with no small amount of drama. Together they find solace in one another, and they forge a relationship that changes Logan forever.
Those are the broad strokes of course. There’s more. A lot more. More characters, more scenes, and, of course, a whole story, but that will have to wait for April. In the meantime I wanted to give you a little of the book’s history, which is a story all its own. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said it’s been three years. It was actually a work I abandoned for three reasons that in hindsight seem really silly: first, I had never published a book before and I was both ignorant of the process and insecure that anyone would care. Second, it was emotionally exhausting to write, mostly because of some of the very personal emotions and experiences I had to revisit to capture certain scenes in an authentic way. And, lastly, I started publishing my contemporary books. The last one is interesting because, at first, that became my excuse to put Away From Here (or ‘Annalise’) to the side, and it made perfect sense. But after I build a following (I hope....Jesus, what if no one’s even reading this!), I realized that I should pick up that book again, and give it the attention I always knew it deserved. This is a story that I needed to tell, no matter what else anyone thinks of it, and I’m proud to have it be a work of mine. When I say that I poured more time, effort, self-editing, and thought into this one I’m not exaggerating at all. This one took something out of me to finish. But, then again, anything of value should do just that. Hopefully it gives more that it took.
Those are the specifics of the story (sort of), but like any creative work, I hit upon themes that are absolutely universal to anyone reading, whether they can relate to the life experiences of the characters or not. Belonging, parent-child relationships and their complexities, first loves, adolescence, uncertainty about the future, finding salvation in another human being, experiencing the pain of loss – these are all thing that are a part of our lives – books just reflect those themes.
As far as the practicalities (when is it out? Where can I get it?), Amazon has finally decided to end my yearlong banishment from pre-orders, so I will be able to upload the file for pre-order as of March 24th. Before that I’ll be releasing Noah, the 4th book in the New York City’s Finest series. And then my focus will be 100 percent on getting Away From Here in front of people’s eyes - giveaways, samples, buzz, merch - the whole nine yards (and those coming to the Gettysburg signing might have an early surprise...). It’ll be available on Amazon, as always, and the release date will be Tuesday, April 24th. I can’t wait, and I don’t say that often.
So I hope I’ve captured your attention, and at the very least whet your appetite for a book that I can easily say is different from everything else I’ve ever written. I love my usual books, and contemporary romance in general, and I have many releases planned for this year, but it’s nice to step out every once and a while and do something truly different; something special; something I think people will love as much as I do. I hope that you take that journey with me, and encourage others to do the same. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
More to come. . .but I think it would be better to hear from Logan instead of me. He’s a cool guy, and he’s more equipped to talk about all this than me, of course. I just write down what he says. I’ll text him but he’s hard to get in touch with – he’s always writing. But I’m sure you’ll meet him soon enough.
*Check out the first trailer by the always amazing Jessica Hildreth below - more to come!
I wanted to make this one different. If you’ve read my other work you know that I typically use prologues to set up a scene between the main characters, one that never actually appears in the text itself. I wanted to mix it up a little bit, so for this one I started with some action - a shooting - and our main character near mortally shot, lying in a pool of his own blood while thinking of the woman he loves. First I thought it might be a grim opening, but after reading it over I’m happy with how it came out.
For this whole series I’ve been trying to tease readers with an introductory chapter of the next book at the end of the current one (so, in this case, Quinn’s first chapter appeared at the end of Jesse, which is book 2). But typically that opening chapter goes through some major edits by the time I publish as a chapter 1 in the actual book. I did it with Jesse first, Quinn next, and I’m sure I’ll edit the Noah chapter that comes at the end of Quinn. But for today I wanted to talk about writing that chapter.
I knew a few things before I started: I knew that Quinn was going to be the strong silent type, but that I needed to break away from the same NYPD detective story as I told in the first two books, even though they were very different stories. I didn’t want to do a ‘criminal of the week’ kind of motif where each book was a different type of bad guy. Instead, as I was writing Quinn, I decided to create a villain that wasn’t one person, but an organization known as The Network. I knew that creation would drive much of the story into the next book at least, and that it was something I could build a backstory around. That’s where the Internal Memo page comes from, and it’s a brief introduction to the Network.
If you’ve read Jesse you know that I started the original Quinn Chapter 1 with him yelling at his boss, but I decided in the rewrite to add a little characterization to him that lead up to that scene, which is the text up to him screaming at his boss in the opening pages. And it was actually in mid-write that I settled on a cover model/image for the book. Once I saw that the focus of the cover would be the fact that the guy has two full sleeves, I decided to make Quinn tattooed, and open the story with that. In addition I wanted to reinforce the idea that his military background would be the cornerstone of his character, which is a theme that comes up throughout the book.
I also knew that I needed him out of the NYPD right away, so that I could get to the story of him opening up his own private investigation business, so I didn’t want to take that much past the first chapter. I wasn’t interested in telling a whole political backstory of his problems with the department, so I just kind of get to the action instead. I wanted his outburst to be a little out of character, yet something that would have him walking away and never returning formally to the department, so a screaming match with a shitty boss seemed appropriate. From there it was onto introducing Jen. . .
Here's another one inspired by Tim Ferris (@tferriss) - or, rather, one that Tim wrote about in his best selling book, the 4 Hour Work Week- https://www.amazon.com/4-Hour-Workweek-Escape-Live-Anywhere/dp/0307465357) What I'm going to do is add to what Ferris did, by applying the principle to writing and other aspects of my life. If you'd like to read about this at length, I suggest https://www.amazon.com/80-20-Principle-Secret-Achieving/dp/0385491743
Now on to how I've begun to make this actionable. But first, a brief explanation of the ratio.
If you're not familiar with the theory known as the Pareto Principle (often called the 80/20 analysis), Pareto was an economist who noticed an overall societal trend whereby 80% of the wealth of a society was concentrated in the hands of 20% of the population. This is a gross oversimplification, but because this isn't an economics lesson I'm choosing to give the broad strokes of the theory - if you'd like to know more there are countless books/articles besides those I've linked, including the Professor of all America - Wikipedia! Or just Google "Pareto principle" or "80/20 rule".
The beauty of this principle, like all actionable theories, is that it extends past a lesson in college Econ. and can be utilized on our lives. To being with an example Tim Ferris has discussed and written about numerous times, he would ask himself, 'What 20 percent of customers are responsible for 80 percent of my purchases" - or some similar analysis (the ratio works in both directions). Here's how I've used it as an author, which will help explain the founding of my Facebook group, Harlan's Readers, which you can join here:
80/20 as an Author
So, because I'm a skeptic by nature and like to test the validity of any advice/self-help, when I read about the 80/20 rule (which is sometimes skewed to 90/10) I decided to just do a casual analysis of things in my life to which it might be applicable, specifically my burgeoning career as an author. So when I do giveaways, or post blogs like these, or host an event (like my cover reveal or release party for Impressions of You), or even ask people to sign up on my newsletter, I notice that it's largely a very small sub-set of my general "Facebook Friends" (upwards of 4,000 +, the overwhelming majority of which I've never interacted with in any way). When I started to do the (very) rough math in my head, applying Pareto's Principle to my readership (which I'm defining as both actual people who've purchased the book, but also those who just generally interact and seem supportive of me as an author) I started to see about a 90/10 split relative to all the "friends" on Facebook. But it's from this 10% that Harlans Readers was (and continues to be) formed. Rather than appealing to 4,000 people, I'm attempting to make 10% the focus of my attention, and in doing so (as many of you reading this may be members), I hope to grow my readers through your support, reviews, and reccomendatipns, which you've all been very generous with so far.
How to Apply in Your Own Life
So there's a little analysis that can be applied to your own life, whether you're an author or not (e.g., what 20% of people in your life are causing 80% of your stress, what 10% of activities you engage in bring you 90% of your happiness and fulfillment, and so forth.) In a more complex sense, let's say there are a list of problems you're facing (I did this analysis myself recently), what 10% is causing the 90% of problems? States a different way, let's say you made a list of 10 things you wanted to address in your life, what 1 of those things could make most (or all) of the other 9 things less severe? This could be as simple as "get more sleep" - that one thing could be impacting the other negative things in your life, or it could be "save more money", or whatever. Just a little New Years advice from something I've found very valuable, and thank you all for being my 10%
This is one of many quotable passages from Tim Ferris' excellent new book, Tools of Titans (not a plug, I don't know Tim - wish I did 😄, but the book happens to be excellent and actionable on many levels). I'm not going to write about the book, which is essentially an accumulation of all of his interviews from The Tim Ferris Show (his #1 rated podcast on iTunes), and instread I'm going to take those passages, excerpts, and pieces of advice from all of his guests and try to relate them to something in my own writing process, or life in general, for whatever value it may bring to you or I.
So to begin with the above quote, credited to Seth Godin (NY Times bestselling author of over 17 books), I must confess that writing book 2 is much more of a challenge than writing book 1. This is due to a few factors, some of which are personal to my own life situation as a father of 2 small children, a doctoral candidate, and a full time teacher. But some of it, I have to imagine, is somewhat 'universal' to the writing process in some way, whether it's a specific book 2 issue or not. For me, having the summer off, paired with the excitement of seeing whether or not I could actually go through this process and make my dream into reality, was enough of a push to get it written, edited, and published within a window of 2 months or so.
To fast forward to now, it's a much , much slower process. Some of that's just the practicality of not having much time, and figuring out how to make space to write within a life filled with responsibilities. But I'm hardly the only indie author with such a balance. Larger than that, I made the mistake of using that nebulous term that appears in the quote above, whenever I'd find myself (which is often) staring at a blank notepad, or struggling for ideas, or just straight up being inactive for days on end. "Damn, I must have writer's block.", I'd lie to myself, as though there were such a thing; as though 'writers block' wasn't just a name given (by writers btw) to a generalized feeling of being stuck in No Ideas Land. By then I read the above quote and realized how true it rang. So-called "writer's Block" isn't a cognitive disorder; it isn't neurological, it can't be prescribed medicine by a doctor. What it is is inaction- a sort of paralysis that can be caused largely by psychological factors that impact us all in our lives: pressure, insecurity, fear of failure, inability to concentrate, feelings of being overwhelmed, poor time mangagement, and so forth. So I decided to not just capture quotes that I find interesting or intriguing, but to make them somehow actionable in my own life, to some degree. Without that the quotes are meaningless; a mental handful of popcorn that tastes great for a few seconds and then is gone. So in this case I've decided to stop labeling a thing to take away its power, and instead find strategies to combat the actual things (listed above) that we choose to call 'writer's block'. Some strategies I've employed over the last week include:
a.) creating free space - even if it's as short as 20'minutes.
b.) 2 crappy pages a day - this is directly from Tools of Titans. The idea here is getting out of a psychological rabbit hole of frustration and inaction - editing exists for a reason, so rather than setting goals that are difficult to reach (e.g., 3,000 words a day, every day), set the bar for success lower as a way to get unstuck (or, if you prefer, unblocked). This way you can produce every day, and accumulate pages in a way that (while in need of major edits) certainly won't make you feel 'blocked' - and if you can do more, then do so!
for more on this, there's a short, 10 minute video just published on Big Think (which I subscribe to on YouTube), in which Ferris himself discusses this regarding many avenues of life (e.g., losing weight, being more productive, etc.). You can find that video, if interested, here- and in the meantime I'm off to go write 2 crappy pages.: https://youtu.be/4a9GTtTUsIc
.So this is a follow up to a Facebook post I made in my readers group the other day. Not so much a follow up as an elaboration of the sentiment that can't quite be encapsulated in a Facebook (or any social media) post. This isn't me gushing, or pandering, or writing words that people want to hear, but rather a genuine feeling that begs to be expressed. So after that build up, here we go.
It's a strange thing to have "readers." It isn't strange that people are reading, mind you, but endlessly weird that they're reading a book that I wrote. I was thinking about this the other night while shopping Amazon for books that interested me. I put about 20 in my cart and then promptly realized that I was crazy (and not rich), and therefore had to hit the "Save for later" button about 18 times. But in that process of one-clicking I took time to read reviews, check out author bios, look over numbers of stars, and all the things conscientiousness readers so before spending hard-earned money. And then it occurred to me in all my dissociative bliss: people had gone through that process with a book I wrote! I was, for my readers, on the other side of that exchange I had engaged in since before I can remember. In other words, I was the author, and they were considering the words in my mind and heart to fill the digital pages of their Kindles and iPhones.
And then I had two feelings rush over me simultaneously: a tremendous sense of responsibility to make sure I was putting out the best product I could; and a feeling of gratitude like I had never quite felt before. Sometimes writers can get so caught up in the sacrifice and demands of writing that we think someone owes us something - almost as if we've borrowed against our own time and effort, and now it's our readers who must repay that creative debt (with interest) in order to make our time worth it. But it doesn't work like that; not even a little bit. I realized that to write well I had to accept (and almost anticipate) that no one would read what I wrote. That isn't the same as being pessimistic or planning to fail. What I mean to say is that I had to write what I had to write, and not try to please anyone in particular, hoping to pander to an audience to make money off of them. And once I did that, at least so far, I've found my own form of success. I want to reach more people, and I plan to do so as the months and years roll along, and as more and more book covers bear my name, but until then I say this to my current readers: thank you so very much for making this possible.
The tattoo is on my left inner arm - each puzzle piece representing a different student who left a particular impact on me. I worked in the world of Autism just as it was gaining the traction of awareness it has in our culture now - I remember reading Temple Grandin's books before Claire Danes won an award for playing her in an HBO film; and I recall when the Autism puzzle ribbon was so uncommon that an elderly man approached my car in a parking lot to ask where he could get one just like the one that sat magnetized to my bumper. I had an extra one in my glove box, and I remember how happy he looked when I handed it to him. I sound like I’m 100, don’t I? I’m only 35, but that’s how quickly Autism has gone from fringe disorder to one of national awareness.
I’ve been lucky enough to do a few author interviews on promotional websites and/or the blogs of people I’ve met online.
The questions in those interviews (as well as those from individual people who have contact me) always pertain to the degree to which Impressions of You was based on any personal experience. I like to joke that, yes, I looked in the mirror and saw Wesley, and just started typing. That’s a lie, of course, but there were aspects of the book based on myth personal experiences. Those who’ve read the blurb (or the book itself – thank you bloggers!) know that Mia is a special needs teacher who works with low functioning, special needs children. The inspiration for that came directly from my own experience, although I was never a teacher. As some may know, I worked in the exact same type of school that I describe Mia working in – a small, private school on Long Island, New York, for speech and language impaired children. Although on paper the school was for any students with speech-language deficits, in reality the vast majority of the population (at least at that time) was children on the autistic spectrum. I worked in classes of non-verbal, aggressive, severely autistic students as a TA and a 1:1 aid for seven years.
In my time doing that work (which I never considered work) I was bitten (like Mia) stabbed numerous times with pencils, scratched almost daily, hit in just about every part of my body with fists, head-buts, and spit at on multiple occasions. Even dealing with all of that, I can honestly say that it was the best job I’ve ever had.
We weren’t there to teach math as much as we were there to teach how to sit at the math table for more than 3 minutes. We had book reading circle time, but the book was secondary to the kids not attacking on another. In short, we had the most hazardous and most rewarding jobs simultaneously, and I saw many people come and go, for all the reasons I allude to in the book. Girls (mostly) coming out of college programs would spend a single afternoon in our class and quit their jobs; those who did come back usually reported sitting in their car and crying after their first day because of the stress. It was the most wild, rewarding, fun, and amazing job I’ve ever had, and I knew that I wanted to make the experience a part of my main character. At the same time I didn’t want to write about special needs at length – it’s a romance novel, after all – so instead I wanted to give only glimpses into the stress of that world, and ascribe Mia those characteristics that I witnessed in so many great women who I got to work with over the years.
What I describe in the book, based on my personal experience, is very specific. It’s called “Autism Spectrum Disorder” for a reason, and my experience was very small and very specific, and what I write is in no way meant to be generalized, but I’m thankful every day for spending my days with those kids, so many years ago now. It was nice to revisit them as I wrote Impressions of You.
A New York Times article that caught my attention long before I started the Impressions Series is titled “Tapping Your Inner Wolf” http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/06/opinion/tapping-your-inner-wolf.html?_r=0 The article caught my attention immediately because of sentences like those below:
“The main characteristic of an alpha male wolf,” the veteran wolf researcher Rick McIntyre told me as we were watching gray wolves, “is a quiet confidence, quiet self-assurance. You know what you need to do; you know what’s best for your pack. You lead by example. You’re very comfortable with that. You have a calming effect.” The point is, alpha males are not aggressive. They don’t need to be.
I’m a huge fan of anything that questions the norm; and in this case it seemed to me that almost everyone who described the so-called ‘alpha’ male was literally describing the last person that would ever inspire any sort of following. When I read the article it interested me that the author captured the true essence of alpha qualities. After all, the very name ‘alpha’ would indicate a ranking; a place atop a hierarchy, as in the alpha of a pack of wolves. In pop culture, however, somehow the expression became coopted to mean the dominant, aggressive male monkey whose walking around with a bad attitude and a puffed out chest, ready to strike fear into anyone who stood in his way. Now, let’s transition to the writing of Impressions of You. . .
So when I set out to write the book, I knew that having a male character that women would want to read about was crucial to being successful. After all, it’s a romance novel! If the male character comes off as too abrasive, or too aggressive, or otherwise unattractive, all the well strung together sentences in the world won’t save your book. So I knew that who Wesley was would be key to the telling of the entire story, even though that story is seen through Mia’s eyes. So how did I go about crafting Wesley Marsden from scratch?
I knew that I wanted to keep him mysterious and that the mystery surrounding him would unfold as the story unfolded; and I of course wanted him to be physically attractive.
But then came this whole alpha male thing. . . although there are some great books that follow this model, I really had no interest in writing about a dominant asshole who was hyper sexual towards the main character the second he laid eyes on her. I wanted instant attraction, and I wanted to a strong connection, but I didn’t want to write 300 pages of a good looking douche. A handsome asshole is still an asshole at the end of the day, and more than anything I wanted to write a good man who was living with a few things that haunted him. At the same time, I wanted him to fight tooth and nail to confront those demons for the woman he ends up loving – Mia Careri. In writing, as in life, there’s a balance. The connection between characters, the sex, the banter, the drama of the story – all things must be balanced, and more than anything I tried to add complexity to the characters without devolving into too dark or too over-sexualized a story. That word – story – it always comes first. And I wanted a story of a guy I could relate to – not the guy who’d steal your girlfriend in high school and break her heart. Even with a six pack and chiseled face, that guy will always be a dick, and I wanted to write my alpha – the real thing – a guy who can be confident, caring, and most importantly puts the needs of those he loves above his own. Wesley is the most non-alpha-alpha I could write – and I wouldn’t have him any other way.
An excerpt from Impressions of You –
Seeing him sitting there, the man makes me think of sex the minute I lay eyes on him. Hot sex. Me-pressed-up-against-the-wall-screaming-his-name sex. I can’t help it, it’s like an involuntary response my whole body has when I see him. I can’t help but have the dirtiest thoughts when he gives me those eyes and says my name in his deep voice. Is he the dominant type, or would he let me take control? I can see him, holding me down, my face in the pillow and my hair bunched in his strong hands, pulling my whole neck backwards as he takes me hard from behind. Snap out of it, Mia, you’re here to talk, not to undress him with your eyes. But I can’t help it, he’s gorgeous, I can’t stop thinking about my naked body on top of his, riding his hard cock until his eyes roll back in his head.
It’s not just me, either, I know the other women in the park are thinking the same thing I am, there’s no way they couldn’t be. There was something about him that has nothing to do with his words, something almost primal that I felt when I’m around him.
“You look amazing,” he tells me as I approach him. He stands up like a true gentleman, and when he does, the contrast of our heights is way more obvious than it was at The Drip. He stands over me, and I have to angle my head up to look into those baby blues. His eyes don’t look at me, they penetrate me. It’s like he’s looking inside of me with such intensity that it’s hard to look back for too long without getting overwhelmed. He looks at me like he’s studying me, as though every word and every move I make is the most interesting thing he’s ever seen or heard. It makes me feel like maybe I’m not just Mia; I’m his Mia. What the hell are you doing, you don’t even know him yet! He must get beautiful women talking to him all the time. I mean, look at him! What woman in her right mind wouldn’t wanna jump all over him the second she saw him?
He’s wearing another fitted shirt, and it grips his chest muscles underneath, hiding and showing them off simultaneously, and I want to rip his shirt off right then and there.
“Wow. There’s that expression again, you’ve used it twice now.”
“I wouldn’t waste your time counting, I’m certain it’s going to come out of my mouth a lot when it comes to you, I hope you don’t mind.” Did I mind? No, my sexy coffee-house man, tell me I look amazing as often as your heart desires.
“I don’t mind at all, it doesn’t happen that much, so I’ll take what I can get.”
“I can’t believe that. No way. I assumed I was being unoriginal.” He’s so sweet.
I’ve never known how to react to compliments. Whenever a guy tries to be sweet with me like this my face contorts into this awkward smile I can’t seem to control, followed by my indifferent declarations of “oh, okay.” I’ve offended my share of suitors with my inability to just politely take a compliment and believe whatever nice thing they were trying to say to me. I guess I never really see what they see, but I believe it when Wesley says it, and I don’t feel awkward at all when he compliments me.
“You’re doing just fine, don’t worry,” I assure him. “Your words are very flattering, trust me.”
“Thank you,” he says, “but I can do better. I will do better.”
So let's be clear from the start, Dear Reader (sorry, Stephen King), I'm no blogger. Let's face it, the stress and rigor of writing a first book, let alone getting it ready for publication and promoting it doesn't leave much time for daily (or even weekly blogging), but like so much of this, I figured 'why the hell not?"
So why do this now?
It's simple: this is my interview with all of you.
I don't have a degree in marketing. I don't know much more about it other than what's intuitive to me, or the information that an exhaustive Google search can produce. I don't like to think of myself as a marketer any more than I'd classify myself a 'blogger' because I'm writing these words. Nor do I think of informing people about my book as 'self-promotion.' Instead, I like to think of myself as a conveyer of ideas - both in my books and in the description of my books -and it's those ideas that I hope will connect with my readers. This whole process is a wonderfully strange form of job interview, and you, my readers, are on the hiring committee.
I'm a reader first and a writer second - so, the author pitch of 'I have the most brilliant idea ever, you have to buy my stuff' falls flat for me as a reader. Instead, I prefer authors with humility, grace, and confidence in their book's ability to speak for itself, and those who allow their success or failure to be the decision of their readers. So, in that spirit, that's the type of author I want to be. This blog is just to help that process along.
And that, in brief, is why you're reading this now - man, I hope someone is actually reading this, otherwise my whole job interview metaphor is dying a slow and painful death :-)
But to be serious, in the following days and weeks leading up to the November 1st release of my first contemporary romance novel, Impressions of You, I'll be blogging on different aspects of the book. I have no illusions of taking the 'blogosphere' (damn we need a new word) by storm. Instead I have a more modest goal - to enter into a dialogue with you, my potential reader, on all things related to the book: my writing process, my inspirations, my challenges, and other topics of interest.
When I was a kid, self-publishing was the realm of literary outcasts – those not deemed good enough to be accepted by traditional publishers (then just called ‘publishers’) – I’m only 35, but in my life I’ve seen the world of art – whether writing, podcasting, or making music – become democratized. We the artists don’t need to wait around to be accepted by guys in suits looking to move product. And you the audience are exposed to an even more open marketplace of ideas. Win-Win. I'm proud to soon call myself a published author, and part of the fun of this thing is connecting with you, the readers.
Not so bad for my first blog - let the interview begin, ask me anything.