E-book at Amazon: The Angry Woman Suite

Hello, and finally! To all who’ve been following this blog—first, thank you!—and to friends and family who’ve asked, here it is, the first announcement:

The e-version of the novel, The Angry Woman Suite (about greed, murder, love gone bad, and imbalance in every single neurotic form there is—and who doesn’t love somebody else’s problems?) IS finally out as an e-book, yahoo! No, double yahoo!

The Angry Woman Suite e-book is now available from Amazon (and soon to be available for the Nook and ipad, too).

Here’s the link to my Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/leefullbright

If you’re partial to print books (who doesn’t love print?), the print version of The Angry Woman Suite (the novel is also about redemption and love gone good—in fact, very good love, and who doesn’t love good love?—and check out the super Kirkus review link over in the right column on this page) will be in the Ingram distribution channel in about a week, and available via both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites shortly thereafter—I’ll shout “when” as soon as I hear.  

And then I will be eternally grateful to each of you (forever) who posts a review or comment to my Amazon listing, and to Goodreads if you’re signed up with them, and to my Facebook page for The Angry Woman Suite, which is www.facebook.com/fullbrightlee

I know it’s a lot, but reviews and comments (especially at Amazon, leader of the free world) are what can set The Angry Woman Suite apart from the—yikes!—1,800,000+++ other books listed at Amazon! It’s truly going to be an uphill battle (and writers never use clichés?). Simply put, I need Y-O-U. 

I’ve just seen the completed back cover text for the print version of The Angry Woman Suite and it goes something like this . . . actually, it goes exactly like this:

A superb debut that exposes the consequences of the choices we make and legacy’s sometimes excruciating embrace.—Kirkus Reviews 

When overbearing former big band star Francis Grayson mentions the “murdering bitches” who supposedly ruined his life, his resentful stepdaughter Elyse—always on the lookout for simple dirt on Francis—takes note. Intertwining narrative with Francis, Elyse stumbles across glimmers of big murder instead of simple dirt, while Francis moves perspective of his “bitches” back to the 1930s, to his childhood in Pennsylvania. His coming-of-age story centers on a mysterious painting and search for the artist who he believes can fix his feuding family. Aiding him in his quest is his mother’s lover, Aidan Madsen, who not only mentors Francis’ music career, but knows everything about two murders implicating the women in Francis’ family. The three narrators of The Angry Woman Suite—Elyse, Francis, and Aidan—weave together a picture of two disturbed families who meet their match in the young, determined to survive Elyse Grayson, and the human to a fault hero, Aidan Madsen.

 

    Thanks for stopping by!

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Publishing Revolution and Lazarus

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“There’s a revolution going on and we’re watching it happen.”

“You sure?” I ask.

“The old paradigm has already vanished.”

This was my thousandth back-and-forth with Josh, a well-known non-fiction writer who’d prodded me—and, no, prodded is not too strong a word—into taking the digital/indie route with my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, after my agent made a career switch. He’d convinced me that digital/indie publishing is the future. But he’d yet to reassure me that I’m prime revolutionary material.

Not to say printed books are going to vanish, or that a revolution needs me to thrive.

Just like many of us online news readers still read newspapers too (albeit skinnier ones), there will always be print books via Amazon (I hope!)—also, hopefully, Costco will keep its little book section going—otherwise, I’m just gonna have to plop myself down in an aisle and cry. And, yes, I do have a Kindle and am currently salivating over the Amazon Fire (to be released 11/15), Amazon’s answer to Apple’s ipad—

—BUT I do love the feel and smell of paper and binding—love, love, love. There is almost nothing better than a paper book, Baby Rae, and a muffin on a rainy day, all together on my bed.

Now Josh has many fine qualities, but none are patience, especially when I keep repeating the same thing over and over about going indie: “Am I doing the right thing?”

He read the opening of Mark Levine’s The Fine Print to me, over eggs and hash last Sunday morning:

“Amazon’s rolled over onto B&N and is now the largest book retailer in the land . . . Borders laid off 900 people in 2009 . . . in 2010 Borders announced the closing of 185 WaldenBooks, and Borders stores . . . Barnes and Noble closed the remaining B. Dalton bookstores . . . by the summer of 2010, B&N announced it was up for sale.”

Levine had also written, “Toss in the brewing ebook turf war between Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and wow—this industry is changing fast.”    

“So there you have it,” Josh said, also for the thousandth time, turning off his ereader. “You pacified for the next 15 minutes? Also, don’t forget, in one year alone, ebook sales went up 213% . . . what’s that tell you?”

His tone told me I was on his last nerve—but I was needing something else before my first jump off the high dive; maybe another sign?

That sign presented itself.

It arrived in the form of someone I hadn’t seen for a very long time—a Lazarus, so to speak; rising from the “dead,” back into my life. He wants to remain anonymous for now, so Lazarus will be his spy name.  

Lazarus and I met my last year of high school, when he was in his third year at SDSU. I was ushering at a theater—my first night on the job—and he was parking cars at the same theater. I saw Lazarus before we actually met, walking toward the theater, and thought—well, let’s just say it was a good first impression—and then I forgot him until intermission when he came looking for me.

Lazarus was going to become a commercial pilot—and everybody thought we’d eventually marry—and I was going to become a teacher.

But we went our separate ways, and I eventually married DDF (best decision of my life). I’d no idea what became of Lazarus, but when I did think of him, I imagined him flying off to Paris and Singapore and what-have-you. As time went on, Lazarus faded in importance, even in memory, part of another time, another me, long gone. 

Until I was standing on my metaphorical diving board, looking down into the scary waters of indie publishing (or, better, the scary waters of marketing), and Josh said to me—still over eggs and hash—

“Lazarus Bening is signing at Mysterious Galaxy (one of our remaining book stores)—you interested?”

I knew who the author Lazarus Bening was, but in a very murky, corner-of-my-brain kind of way—so murky I couldn’t come up with the title of his latest bestseller if Baby Rae’s next meal had depended on it. Bening’s niche is fast-paced adventure thrillers, and I mostly read slow, character-driven literary, so Bening wasn’t in my stack of books to read before I die. But he was Josh’s top pick, and apparently every other red-blooded American male’s as well.

And that’s when it hit me: Lazarus Bening.

Could it be? No, it couldn’t be . . . but, maybe—but how could that have happened, Lazarus and I both ending up fiction writers when he was supposed to be piloting a plane to Singapore?  

I’m running late for the office, but I’ll pick this up next time out . . . next post: more about Lazarus and Telemachus Press and Mr. Wonderful. . . .

I post on Mondays and Thursdays, and sometimes more, but sometimes less. Thanks for coming by.

A Million Good Words

Finishing my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, was bittersweet (the sweetness was crossing a finish line—and the bitter was actually about finishing too, as in now what?), but solidifying an agreement with a literary agent was a total woo-hoo. Big-time woo-hoo. Huge. I’d made it. Parteeee. . . .

But—and there’re a hundred but’s in any story—subsequently learning my agent was about to change career paths entirely, just as we were revving our engines and doing well, was the anti woo-hoo.

A big timewaste hiccup on the road to traditional publication. It was back to now what?

Dang. See, I really like The Angry Woman Suite. And not just because I wrote it. I’ve written plenty of crap, so trust me: I recognize crap.

A million good words . . .

If losing an agent is the anti woo-hoo, The Angry Woman Suite is the anti-crap (now that sounds a little Eddie Haskell-ish, ugh)—but (I know, another but) as a story about family and misplaced trust, and losing and winning freedom, The Angry Woman Suite has my heart because it’s the kind of meaty novel I’m always looking to read, like The Great Santini, A Prayer for Owen Meany, or A Thousand Acres—my favorites. Plus it got a million good words from Kirkus Reviews (and they’re tough), who deemed it “exemplary” and “a superb debut.”

It’s a story that spans the early 1900s to the 1960s, in Pennsylvania, and I want it out there—but not just because it’s mine. You know how it is when you meet a new person, and this new person is so interesting you can’t wait to introduce him or her to your inner circle?

It’s like that.

I love this novel’s characters—I love the young Elyse Grayson. She is strong and complex, but resentful (she has good reason, but anger could be her undoing). Her inner journey has been shaped by three men: a wise immigrant grandfather; a troubled stepfather, Francis—and, yes, I love Francis, too. Even when I wanted to bean him, I loved him, because there’s a reason Francis can be so dang weird. And the third is commitment-phobe Aidan Madsen, who knows everybody’s secrets, including the ones about murder.        

They’re all interesting people. So I want to share them. I want to talk about them.

I thought about Query Hell; of again shopping myself and The Angry Woman Suite to agents —oh, don’t make me, my inner put-upon self wailed. Ever see a movie about dancers/singers/actors hitting the pavement (who hasn’t?), going to audition after audition, putting it out there, and often “it” is very good, only to be told, “We’ll let you know”—though maybe no one even made eye contact, and maybe everyone talked during the audition, or worse (I imagine), took phone calls? Oooh, ouch.

It’s not the same in the book world, but it feels like it.     

Writers don’t have to get up on a stage and sing and dance—yet. But debut novelists do face daunting hurdles. Plus, as everyone knows, the publishing industry has changed. Like the weakening of our once healthy newspaper industry, the weakening of traditional book publishing didn’t happen overnight either (and for those who already know where I’m heading with this: Yes, Amazon is actually the leader of the free world). *smile*

I know what I don’t want to know. . . .    

When I was writing The Angry Woman Suite, I didn’t want to know about changes in book publishing, not really. I just wanted to write. So that’s what I did: I wrote and revised for eight years. And when I finished The Angry Woman Suite, a whole different pulled-together world of publishing was looking at me—and I turned away from it. The indie publishing world wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted my original goal: traditional publishing.

I wanted the stamp of approval that going “trad” meant to me. I wanted to be wanted, accepted, and told my work is good. Who doesn’t?

So, when my agent left the business, I dinked around wondering which direction to go next—the old way (wasted time) versus a new way (but I’d no clue where the road to a new way actually started, let alone how to navigate it if I found it).

Then something happened. A friend—probably sick of my whining—recommended I have lunch with a writer he knew, and even set up the blind lunch date for us.  

I’ll call this writer Josh—

Josh is a can’t-sit-still, potty-mouthed traditionally published (and successful) non-fiction writer. 

Over Mexican, Josh told me point blank that the publishing industry’s glory days had ended. As in ENDED.

“You know it’s true,” he said, wiggling all over the place. “You can believe what you want to believe, but fact is that agents—like yours did—are looking for greener pastures. Oh, there’re still those banging the drum of trad is the right way, the only way, and that if you don’t do the so-called right, the only, your finished product will reflect badly and you’ll end up in some ditch with a big ol’ stupid loser tattooed on your forehead. No—wait, make that f’ing stupid loser. But, look, there are always diehards in anything—like what happened in the music industry when that whole world shifted—diehards right and left there too, even after all was said and done.”

Established authors, Josh reminded me, have stuck their feet in indie waters as well. Stephen King’s done it; also Steig Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, and Michael Connelly.

And everybody knows what indie writer Amanda Hocking did, and then indie author John Locke, selling one million books through Kindle, Amazon’s ebook distributor.

Can every author do that? Whoa—can everybody do everything?

Uh, I don’t think so. The point is, the Internet and the indie mega sellers made the trads sit up and take a look back at their rear flanks, at the indies closing in.    

“And why wouldn’t authors want to call their own shots?” Josh went on. “I’d do indie, except I write for a company that’s not interested in rocking our publisher. See, going indie, authors get the lion’s share, instead of the smallest share of profit, for their work—makes sense.”    

I hadn’t said a word, my mind’s eye too busy watching a lifelong dream flushing itself down the john.

“So,” Josh summed it up, making it sound easy-peasy, “you need to be part of the indie world, Lee—it’s now, and it’s the future. And then you promote your book via social media—start a blog, for one.”

Really, do I hafta?

That lunch was probably the time to tell Josh he was scaring the shit out of me, and that one of my most humiliating childhood memories was of being afraid to sell Girl Scout cookies—too agonizingly shy. So how’s a shy kid supposed to promote anything when it just feels so ick?

Oh, grow up.

But I wanted to go home and pull the covers over my head and commence bemoaning the apparent fact I’d been born in changing times (as if there’s ever been anything else).  

Besides, I’d no idea how to go indie—is it like going native?   

And then I remembered Kirkus Reviews.

“Okay,” I said to Josh, feeling my way through my brain clutter—actually, what I was about to say, “I hear you, and here’s what I’m thinking,” was a stalling tactic.

I’d read that Kirkus Reviews—the premier book critiquing company since the 1930’s—was now making reviews available to indie authors (I’ve recently read that Publishers Weekly also is, or will shortly).

“I’m going to Kirkus,” I told Josh. “I’m going to send The Angry Woman Suite to them. And if there’s even just one teensy positive word in their review, just anything at all, something I can use on a cover, I’ll consider it a sign. . . . ”

To be continued . . .

Okay, this is getting way too long, and it’s late, so I’ll wrap things for now—but please stay tuned. I have so much I want to say about this journey I’m embarking on (as in, help!), but I’m just getting started (and the story’s going to take longer than one post anyway). More than that, I really, really want company on this trip.

Next post I’ll tell you about the surprise, and building the blog, and the search for the best “author service” company out there—but in the meantime I’d love any feedback—thank you!  

I post on Mondays and Thursdays or thereabouts; and sometimes more, but sometimes less.