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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Anti-laments and The Angry Woman Suite Book Cover

I read a lot of blogs most mornings, and this morning (the day after the day after) I’m reading a lot of Christmas “laments.” You know, like it’s over, dregs everywhere, and what was it all about, Alfie? (Yes, I realize the Alfie thing dates me to pre-historic.)

So, this is the anti-lament. But, first, yes, it is over. Time to assimilate.

Separate the wheat from the chaff. Events and people are not perfect—though all dogs and some moments are. *smile* So, keep the perfect moments out, like accessories, and put the imperfect ones in a box, to be packed away—who needs to keep pulling them out to obsess over anyway?   

Christmas, 2011, is history. And mine was nice—at least the season was. The actual day was defined by a nasty head cold (mine) and seizures (my husband’s). We—he and I—know what to do about seizures by now; we’re experts. And we all know what to do about head colds (not a damn thing—the upside of a cold, though, was the perfect excuse for planting myself in the lawn swing with Baby Rae and playing with my new Kindle Fire, which I totally love).

The San Diego weather has been, and remains, a balmy 72+ degrees (that’s perfection). Now, there are some who argue that Christmas isn’t Christmas without snow, just as there are some who argue that Christmas is over-hyped and over-commercialized, and over-everything, BUT— 

That’s silly.

We all choose how much to participate, easy as that. I don’t have to go to the mall, or listen to carolers, or eat all that yummy holiday food—nobody does (except it’s fun: the music, merry-making, prezzies, and food, all of it). Point is, I see no need for making minor things, like commercialization and letdowns, federal cases, unless making things federal cases is your claim to fame (and, personally, I wouldn’t touch that one).   

As for snow at Christmas—ahem: my husband and I’ve shared many a snowy Christmas. We used to be skiers, until he got sick. We spent a dozen Christmases at Snow Summit in Big Bear, CA, and sometimes in Park City, Utah.

My husband and stepsons thought all that snow and ice and skiing = bliss. Hog heaven every Christmas.  

Here’s what I thought: lovely to look at but damn cold. Uber cold. Way too many layers of clothing required for taking the trash out (and, hey, why weren’t those blissful guys taking it out?? Short answer: something to do with my guys not seeing trash as, well. . . trash).

And ice is slippery.

Let me repeat: ice is slippery. If I had a free lift ticket for every time I ended up on my ass taking the dang trash out, I’d still be skiing. 

I’m way happier with the simpler 72-degree San Diego life. Barefoot and sipping a cold one by the pool, with a new Christmas book in hand. Ahhhh. Not 20 layers of clothing and big honking parkas, and hats that make my hair go smooshed, or reading a Christmas book under an electric blanket—oh, and water heaters that run out of hot water because, hey, I just happen to be the last one to shower because I was cooking everybody’s dinner and cleaning up (after a full day of skiing, too) while my three guys warmed their oh-so-sore muscles under steaming 20-minute hot showers, poor babies.

It’s okay; the foregoing is the stuff of family lore and giggles.

But back to the best parts: this simple weather and those Christmas books = the anti-lament.

Since I can remember, the best part of Christmas, besides food and music and lights, has been books. New books! Meaning, when I was a kid and my grandparents had packed up and left and the tree came down, the books remained, and so I never felt blue after the Christmas hoopla. In fact, I barely noticed a lack of hoopla, I was so engrossed with the worlds my new books offered.  

And my husband always gave me books, too. Books to read under electric blankets or at the pool, it didn’t really matter.

I didn’t get many print books this year. I resisted my first e-reader (2 years ago), but I am totally into my new Kindle Fire. I’m not giving up print books, but I’m here to tell you: the Fire is pretty cool.

Now, here’s where I am with my own soon-to-be-available novel, The Angry Woman Suite:

The cover is done, ta-da! Loooooooooooooooooove it! Artist Laurie Fuller did a magnificent job capturing Magdalene Grayson’s mystique (above). Kirkus Reviews posted the cover to their website, and took The Angry Woman Suite review public (although the book will not be available 1/1/12, which is how it’s listed at Kirkus—we’re running a bit behind. Looks more like 2/1 now—of course I’ll keep you posted!).

Happy New Year everyone! Be safe in 2012, and be happy. Love deeply, work hard, read voraciously, laugh often, get a dog (and you will laugh often), and get as healthy as you can. I’ll resume regular blog posts after the holidays (in-between reading all my lovely new downloads).

Heaven’s Not A Colon

Hi all, I’ve been hunched (and I do mean hunched) over a computer for 12+ hours a day, for a week, between clinic (day job) and last minute edits to my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, sent over from the editor at TP. 

And what I have to show for all this hunching and sitting? A spasm-y shoulder, red eyes, and a butt that’s spread another six inches.

Is it worth it?

Would you think me too weird if I were to say my idea of heaven is replacing colons with semi-colons and dashes with ellipses points? That I’m totally in my element hunting down slippery paragraph and page breaks?   

I’ll be wrapping up this proof in a couple of days, then the manuscript will be formatted again by Telemachus and downloaded to my Kindle, where I get to read the whole bleeping thing yet one more time, rechecking formatting for Kindle readers.  

Then The Angry Woman Suite goes to Smashwords for setup for the ipad, Nook, Sony e-reader, and all the rest (more on the print version next post). 

 

E-book trivia:

The Amazon Kindle, when first released in 2007, retailed for $400.00.

And, oh, the cacophony over paper books versus e-books! Of course, now we know it’s not a contest, but a done deal: it’s a co-existence between print and electronic, for now. We’ve all pretty much slipped over to the “dark side,” to electronic, even those who prefer paper (I will always have a love affair with paper, but who can argue with convenience and less money per book, going the e-way?). 

Blogger Nathan Bransford annually asks his readers if they will buy mostly e-books, and the results for this year, as well as every year since 2007, since the Kindle debut, are:

2007 . . . only 7% said they’d pick an e-book over a paper book

2008 . . . hanging in there at 11% (who said they’d pick “e” over paper)

2009 . . . picking up momentum at 19% (who’d choose e-book)

2010 . . . 32% say electronic is the way to go  

2011 . . . 47% say yes they do and will buy mostly e-books      

What a trend. Hope you’re enjoying the season! I’ll check back in a week or so. Oh! oh! oh! wait till you see The Angry Woman Suite cover–it’s coming along, and I love it. Can’t wait to show you!

Writing Sexy Scenes and Cutting Corners

I once heard John Grisham say in an interview that he runs away from writing sex-explicit scenes because the first one he wrote made his wife laugh.  

Which made me laugh.

Because I can relate.

I haven’t written much about my husband DDF, because his struggle is so heart-rending that even for a writer who naturally loves words, I’ve run away from the sad, powerful ones needed to adequately convey DDF’s journey from brilliant, athletic, curious and at the top of his game to, now, a fetal position most of the day, and unable to read or write, or speak coherently—a once beautiful man largely “trapped” by a progressive neurological disease.

But there’s a reason I’m writing about DDF now (instead of more about indie publishing and mystery men as promised, but we’ll get back to those later).

The reason is last night.

I do all my reading in bed, so last night’s pick was an indie novel someone told me I should take a look at. It has generated mixed buzz, but I started it with high hopes, because I love that every writer now has the opportunity to get his or her best stuff out there via the indie revolution; to share a dream with the world—and that we, the world, now get to experience all visions—nothing is closed off to writers or readers any longer.  

But I was so disappointed—and I wanted to take this author, who is such a capable writer by the way, by the shoulders, and tell her, “Please, please, please, no cutting corners. Use an editor or proofer next time out, because you lost me with this one—and you didn’t have to.”

The first lead she used incorrectly (instead of led), I chalked up to a typo—and I can live with typos. But the next dozen leads she used incorrectly all led to what the author must’ve considered a requisite sex scene, which for the life of me, I couldn’t see the point of, so mired was I in the misuse of a dozen freakin’ leads.

And that’s when I missed my old DDF—again. I wanted him back—I wanted to be able to elbow him and say, “Wait—listen to this passage,” or “Oh dear, what do you think of this?

It’s a funny thing about marriage.

Or any long-term relationship. The things you think about when it’s ending; things you already miss. Little things: a certain look, a half-smile, a cocked eyebrow. Intimate, intrinsic, positive “us” things—magic things that no one else in the world sees or hears.

Because it’s a shared “language” understood only by two.   

DDF and I’d have giggled in the old days, but not in a mean way, not at this author’s misuse of lead (which, unfortunately, undermine her credibility, and just ten pages into her baby)—but at me.

No cutting corners. . . .

To backtrack, DDF and I have known each other for forever; perfect at times and other times not, but even when we have been imperfect, we have loved each other. No cutting corners. We met unexpectedly through a friend, and discovered we shared a love for books. DDF introduced me to Gunter Grass and Vonnegut, and I introduced him to Michener and Wouk. We read Irving Wallace’s The Seven Minutes at the same time—different copies of course—and hardly came up for air during, and then talked non-stop over wine and dinner after. We had a “glue”: it was books. Not only novels. We read everything: art, history, biography, philosophy. When we weren’t working or biking or skiing, we were reading or browsing in book stores.

We’d read passages from books to each other, and I’d share ideas for my own writing, and he would chide me for not using an editor, because I thought I knew it all (ouch). Or I’d throw a sex scene in (which he’d laugh at), because, hey, doesn’t everybody do it? Isn’t it expected, even required? Doesn’t sex sell books, movies, music?

Sometimes, but it doesn’t feel manipulative when . . . 

. . . it moves a story forward, or offers a better understanding of a character or characters, or if the plot itself hinges on it.    

And that’s what DDF intuitively knew—and probably why John Grisham’s wife laughed too. If a writer’s uncomfortable with a subject, it’ll show—and if s/he’s throwing sex in “just because,” it will show. Gratuitous always shows.

And, second point: everybody needs to hire an editor before putting their stuff “out there”—even if you’re an English teacher, because: 

People, we cannot see our own screw-ups.

If you love your story, make it shine. If you don’t love it, holler for the cavalry. And I’m not talking just books here. Our bigger stories are our relationships–and we need to give those everything, because we can’t unring the bell. So, no cutting corners, and no assuming we know it all (even if we actually do). 

One other thing about DDF:

I haven’t read the big love-sex scene from my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, aloud to him, because today’s DDF would have to struggle to comprehend a scene and I don’t want to add to his frustration.

Yet, I think my old DDF would say it’s a pretty good scene. In fact, I see the old DDF with my mind’s eye (I see him a lot this way): the cocked eyebrow, the bemused half-smile, the pride in me. And I still hear this man who now has such difficulty speaking, because after so many years with someone, you can hear the unspoken, that contextual backwash of a long shared history. And this is what I hear him saying: 

“Well, kid, you finally nailed the damn scene. Took you long enough, but it’s honest and it was needed–and you’re not rubbing my nose in it. Good—no cutting corners.”

The man knew how to say stuff: brief, to the point.

“No cutting corners.”

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

 Hello gorgeous

 

 

The Angry Woman Suite Comes In From The Cold

Happy Halloween! And thanks so much to all of you who sent encouraging emails and/or left comments at my Oct. 27th post.  

For those checking in with me for the first time, my back story is that I’ve written a historical-commercial novel called The Angry Woman Suite (about a double murder in the early 1900’s, in Pennsylvania, and subsequent fallout on two generations). The novel, both mystery and love story, garnered very good reviews, and a literary agent.

But back stories, like life, never have straight trajectories, and this one is no exception. In my case, my agent left the publishing business (I’d nothing to do with it, I swear! I’m not that powerful!) . . .

. . . though e-readers are. . . .  

And so my new paradigm became a sudden and succinct bottom line of no agent = no contract. The Angry Woman Suite went from promising, front and center, to Nowhere Land, out in the cold—and took me with it.

What to do next? Well, after some impressive dithering and waffling on my part, I met two men whom I’ve introduced via previous posts: potty-mouthed Josh, who looks a little like Ashton Kutcher on a bad day, with glasses (which is still an excellent look). Josh is a successful non-fiction writer who told me to get off the dime (and with the program, with digital publishing and a blog).

The other man is Tim, who’s a much shorter, much younger version of Obama (though I’d bet Baby Rae’s next chicken treat Tim’s never seen the inside of a business suit). Tim’s a rumpled genius. A kind, rumpled genius who put my blog together (and never once laughed or snickered, at least so I could hear, at my lack of computer skills).  

And now here I am—and if someone had told me a year ago I’d be a blogger, I’d have sniggered and said odds are I’ll strip to my skivvies and run half-naked through Balboa Park first—and we all know that’s never going to happen.  

Put another way, never say never.

My last post ended with Parts 1 and 2 of scary things to try before I die, so coming up next, naturally, would be Part 3 of what I now call The Angry Woman Suite Project—as in Manhattan minus the bomb stuff.

I pretty much thought I’d get at least ten blog posts out of the arts of dithering, waffling, whining and attendant nuances before moving forward with Part 3, which was to name who will format my baby (The Angry Woman Suite) and put it out there—but here’s what’s happened: another never.  

I met a third man. Actually, I met two more men. One I can’t talk about—yet. Mystery man.

(Hint: I knew him a long time ago, in school, and could never have predicted what he’s become since, or how it could affect the “project.)    

The other is Steve Jackson (aka Mr. Wonderful, and he is). Steve is the voice for Telemachus Press. I’ll be writing more about Steve and Telemachus as we go along, but for now my headline in the sky reads:

The Angry Woman Suite is coming in from the cold.  

So, Part 3 of the “project” has been implemented—already! I have a publisher, and I’m very excited at the prospect of working with Telemachus.

Know what’s odd? My entire writing life has been mostly shadowed (in a good way) by women; i.e., my mother, teachers, my critique group, my agent, my editor. But have you noticed that all the new people in my “project” story are men? Four—count ’em—four. And I’m just getting started.  

Poor me. *smile*     

Thought for the day, courtesy of Kristin Lamb:

“Learn to have a healthy relationship with failure . . . if we aren’t failing, we’re not doing anything interesting.”

Next post will be more on digital publishing and coming in from the cold; mystery men, and Telemachus Press.   

I post on Mondays and Thursdays, and sometimes more, but sometimes less. “See” you next time, and be good to yourselves.

Have fun tonight!

“Legacy’s Excruciating Embrace”

So picking up from where I left off (which was my post of Oct. 24th), what does a girl (that would be me) with a historical/commercial novel titled The Angry Woman Suite, a brilliant Kirkus review re same, and a missing literary agent do next?

Note: Not that my agent making a career switch was a bad thing—for her. It actually made perfect sense, considering the sucky precariousness of traditional publishing these days. The better question might’ve been, “What? Are you still here?”

Um, before she wasn’t, that is.

To keep the record straight, my agent was a nice person who totally went to bat for The Angry Woman Suite—and I wish her every success in her new career choice.

Okay, now back to me. *smile*

I left off (my last post) talking about “Josh,” the potty-mouthed non-fiction writer who told me in so many unprintable words to get my butt in gear and go digital and promote my novel via social media (at which point I went cold with fear; it’s that word promote). 

But I’d bought myself some time, I thought (so I wouldn’t have to make decisions/take a plunge/move ahead/whatever; all that hard stuff), by taking The Angry Woman Suite to Kirkus Reviews. I told Josh that if my review came in even halfway positive, I’d proudly go digital and start a blog and buy our next lunch together.  

Seemed a safe enough thing to say.

Oh, but there’s this thing about “safe” I’m not too crazy about. 

Safe is boring. 

More than that, safe is probably not what life’s supposed to be about (and I’m not talking the kind of safe from something truly dangerous). I’m talking the comfort zone kind of “safe,” where we hide, get lazy, or give up. Where we don’t apply ourselves, or test ourselves, and we make excuses for why we didn’t follow through on something we’ve told ourselves and the world we really want. “No time” is the #1 excuse, followed by “I don’t know where to start.”

I often wonder: Is that what we want to be thinking at the end of life; that we had no time? Serious? Or that we didn’t know where to start living? Really?

But if we’re still here, we have time. 

So, it’s not about “no time.” It’s about choices–about choosing priorities. 

Enough said. I’m nobody’s life coach. Are you kidding? A shy girl?  

But I do know I feel pretty ick about myself when I don’t do something just because I’ve doubted my ability. Which is when I make myself so busy that I get to tell myself I don’t have time to do the thing I’m afraid I might fail at, or that I might look foolish doing. And, no, of course I don’t know I’m rationalizing at the time. I’m very good at justifying myself—until I’m not.

And then it’s a clear call to arms.

So, looking back and moving on: 

Step #1 of The Plan: I’d sent The Angry Woman Suite to Kirkus—and then happily compartmentalized that move, because it was a 4-6 week turnaround. There was nothing more to add to Step #1: it was out of my hands. Next.     

(For those who don’t know, Kirkus Reviews has been around since the 1930’s. As a big-time reader, I’ve always looked for books with a good Kirkus one-liner across the top of a cover, assured I’d get an excellent read—they’ve never let me down.)

Step #2 of The Plan: I started a blog while “forgetting” about the Kirkus review outcome. 

Yep—because of the call to arms thing.

I’d been a blog reader for some time, of writers mostly, and agents, and anything to do with publishing—so blogs weren’t unknown to me. Making one was.  

I met a man I’ll call Tim, who came up with a design for the multi-contributor format I had in mind, for a blog to be titled Rooms of Our Own (inspired by the famous Virginia Woolf quote). The “rooms”—actually, the way Tim put the site together, they are separate blogs within a “web,” so to speak—are occupied by photographer Geri Wilson, and writer Shelley Marquez, and me.        

And what I’d been afraid might be a drag or a flop or a timewaste . . .

. . . has morphed into amazing fun. Yes, it does take time to write blog posts, and sometimes I wonder where I’ll find the time to write anything, in-between a fulltime job and taking care of a very ill husband and a house and writing another book—but when something is challenging in a fun way, how hard is it, really, to make it (instead of, say, dusting) a priority?

Plus, how cool is it to disregard a million and one excuses?  

Very cool (and I hired someone for the dusting, because it’s not fulfilling to me—this is only about me—best money spent, ever) . . . now the surprise:

I’d had a horrible day. (A horrible day for me is when my sick husband has not had a good day.) It was a Sunday, 9 pm, and I was almost too tired to check my email (that’s tired).

But the next day was a work day—I work in the medical field—and I wanted to make sure there were no weekend emergencies to follow up on first thing Monday morning.

There weren’t—but there was an email from Kirkus, with attachment. Oh, crap. No, double crap. I was so not ready; it could wait till tomorrow–it didn’t feel safe.    

That word again. (I’ve come to realize that “not safe” means anything out of my control.)       

Kirkus reviews are always structured the same way: three paragraphs, and the last paragraph is the zinger: the one that says it all. The “summer-upper.” The maker or the breaker.

How much worse could my day get? I thought. Plus, if I opened the attachment, I wouldn’t feel like such a dipwad, being afraid to open my own mail—it would be over and done. I’d start the next day with a clean slate.   

I opened the attachment.

I went straight for the third paragraph.

It read:      

“A superb debut that exposes the consequences of the choices we make and legacy’s sometimes excruciating embrace.”

Yowsa—and, geez, How Very Ironically Appropriate.  

To be continued . . . .

Next up, Part 3 of The Plan: the search for a digital publisher, what all is entailed (a lot)—and a decision.

Thank you so much for coming by; please come back, and comments are very appreciated. I post on Mondays and Thursdays or thereabouts; and sometimes more, but sometimes less.

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.