Sales and Sequels

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d350f797d411cb3f56851920c26658e4To celebrate the upcoming release of Broken Wave, the second installment in the Cryptid Coterie series, Girl Out of Water is on sale! If I was Scooter from Borderlands, I’d say “This is where the awesome lives, get you some!” Oh Scooter. For a limited time, pick up an ebook edition of Girl Out of Water in the flavor (Kindle, Kobo, Nook) of your choice for only 99 cents. You can know where the awesome is going to be ahead of time by subscribing to this blog. Join the mailing list for promotions, giveaways, and up to the minute Winifred whimsy and whinging. Go on, fill this out, I’ll wait.

Ok, resume whinge. So sequels. Even though Girl Out of Water was always the first installment in a much longer story, writing a series is a bit mad. As a writer you’re basically saying, “So you thought those casually mentioned details were unnecessarily mysterious and inconsequential, well Reader, they’re HUGE! Got your nose, can’t believe you didn’t see that 2000 pages ago. If you’re pulling that off, well good on you, gasps and golf claps. If you’re not, you’re confusing the hell out of people.

They like it, the real fantasy addict, fangirl types (such as myself) love to hunt for the one true clue that lets them say with satisfaction, after they’ve devoured the latest/last installment, “That’s how it had to be. If you look at the characters, their arc until now, there was no other path they could have taken and stayed true to themselves.” Yes we know how it sounds, yes we love saying that sort of thing anyway. As I grind away in preparation to unveil and further muddle the world of Tabitha Slate and Seattle cryptid society with secrets and unanswered questions for every revealed detail, know that I’m just as surprised when something happens in my books as you are. How cool is that?

Broken Wave Cover Reveal

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Broken Wave (Cryptid Coterie 2)

July 28, 2015

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Tabitha Slate used to worry about her grades or being the only black girl in her engineering classes. Then she bumbled into the Wardein: the guardians who protect Seattle from its supernatural human hybrid and cryptid citizens hiding in plain sight. She joined them and swore an oath to perform her duty, even if it meant her life. But Tabitha has lost one of the best friends she ever made, and she blames the leader of the Wardein. At best she’s a rogue, at worst she’s using young girls as a human shield. Tabitha can’t trust her.

What’s left of Tabitha’s family is unraveling, an evil djinn with a score to settle is targeting her and her housemates, but Tabitha is on her own. The Wardein are busy with the biggest threat they’ve ever faced: Someone is trying to breach the Trench, the only barrier between the Puget Sound and a voracious horror nearly as old as the sea.

Tabitha’s world is in pieces. Divided between loyalty and duty, she’s afraid she will choose the wrong person to protect, the wrong family to abandon, and the wrong person to love.

To celebrate the impending release of the second book in the series I’ve made the first 7 chapters of Girl Out of Water a free excerpt available for Kindle, Kobo, and Nook, as well as a free download at Goodreads.

Sign up now for news and behind the scenes goodness on Broken Wave!

Dr. Maya Angelou’s Glory, 1928 – Infinty & Beyond

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Dr. Maya Angelou's Glory, 1928 - Infinty and Beyond I once dreamt, when I was going through a different but also rocky time in my life, that I was in a therapy session with the dear and now departed Dr. Maya Angelou. For my troubled sub-conscious, there was no better healer or guide available. She sat in a comfortable chair and I reclined on a sofa in the traditional therapy poses, but we were on a platform of a flatbed truck that drove around a city, as I talked through what worried me, what I hoped for, and what I wanted to be. It was like a literary feminist music video. I have no idea what she told me, but I woke up feeling whole. I remember thinking, yes, of course Maya Angelou fixed my life. Reflecting on her life’s work now that she’s gone, I remember how giddy I felt when I read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, at the thought of a life that generated volumes of autobiography. The woman sang for Billie Holliday and cooked for M.F.K. Fisher. She did. She was. I can. Her life and her work have always made me feel that way, that I can.

Weekend Glory by Maya Angelou

Some clichty folks don’t know the facts, posin’ and preenin’ and puttin’ on acts, stretchin’ their backs. They move into condos up over the ranks, pawn their souls to the local banks. Buying big cars they can’t afford, ridin’ around town actin’ bored. If they want to learn how to live life right they ought to study me on Saturday night. My job at the plant ain’t the biggest bet, but I pay my bills and stay out of debt. I get my hair done for my own self’s sake, so I don’t have to pick and I don’t have to rake. Take the church money out and head cross town to my friend girl’s house where we plan our round. We meet our men and go to a joint where the music is blue and to the point. Folks write about me. They just can’t see how I work all week at the factory. Then get spruced up and laugh and dance And turn away from worry with sassy glance. They accuse me of livin’ from day to day, but who are they kiddin’? So are they. My life ain’t heaven but it sure ain’t hell. I’m not on top but I call it swell if I’m able to work and get paid right and have the luck to be Black on a Saturday night.

How Great Leaders Inspire Action, as translated by Winifred

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“Why,” I mean: What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?” – Simon Sinek, Author of Start with Why.

Let it be known I’m a TED talk devotee. I discuss my favorite TED talks and This American Life segments with all the faith of the religious and all the fervor of a fangirl. They’re a big deal. I’ve seen/listened to about 2/3 of both properties, because I am constantly searching for a perspective I haven’t considered or investigated. I am desperate to understand the mechanics and mysteries of other people’s lives. I want to ask invasive questions about their creative processes, and look into their medicine cabinets. TED and This American Life are two of my favorite ways to eavesdrop on people grappling with life.

Simon Sinek’s talk is primarily focused on leadership and innovation as it relates to commercial success, but it has stuck with me for repeated viewings because “why” comes up a lot when you’re an independently published author/creator, and you have to explain to yourself and justify to others why what you do matters.

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I’m pleased to report, that while I frequently make this face, terrified that I have no clue what it is I’m trying to say, or where my work in progress is heading, I do know why I’m writing. That, I have a two-part answer for.

There’s been much made in the last few months about the lack of diversity of representation in popular culture, especially books. NPR has done stories on it, and there was a hashtag.

In the years to come, I hope the issue of representation in media and culture will be quaint if bizarre. “Hundreds of thousands of words about why it’s important for more than one kind of human social group to appear in media and culture? Was everything else done? Were they bored? Was this truly a problem?”

Yes anthropologist and culture critic of the future. Yes it was.

I’ve had this conversation in any number of settings and with several different kinds of people, but for some reason, it is still necessary to declare the importance of all kinds of people in all kinds of stories. I waited years to read books with people who were like me: young (ish), brown, and female exploring real and imagined worlds. Those books rarely appeared, so I figured out I had to start writing them.

Some writers and content creators will tell you “If the reading market wanted these books they’d exist already, you can’t make us write “other” people! That will derail our good stories and fill them with angsty mobs of disabled queer people of color who want a plot totally based around social justice and, and that would be TURRRIBLE!” To those people I say, you do know it’s possible to write about different kinds of people without focusing solely on how they’re different right? Do let me know how that defense of privilege holds up won’t you?

This “why” is only the most obvious. Not having to justify my existence based on capitalist market demands is actually not the primary creative motivator. I know, right? Weird. I struggle with being good enough, with working hard enough, turning a clever phrase, and making people out of characters because it fixes something in my head that I didn’t even know was broken until writing strengthened it. Lots of very famous and lauded writers have said something like this. It happens to be true for me too.

My inner fangirl wants a piece of creation. She wants to craft the same experiences other creators have made for her; the gift of other universes. A ramshackle cradle of myth, betrayal, love, and awe. That’s my why. That’s why I continue to write in the independent author echo chamber, creating deadlines, obsessing over cover elements, and browbeating myself to sit down at the keyboard even when I’m not sure how many people will connect with what I’m trying to say. I’m stumbling along, secure in the knowledge that creating meaning in this way is reason enough to continue.  I wonder if I can get my own TED talk?

 

 

Sophomore Shuffle

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“Drowning Salvation” by Matt Dangler

I am just winding up the engine that will launch Broken Wave, the second installment of the Cryptid Coterie series, available in ebook and paperback on June 24, 2014. A cover reveal is around the corner, I’m composing a timeline of all the good things, many of which I bungled during the release of Girl Out of Water. That release resembled juggling chainsaws with my feet, to casual observers. It was a pleasurable and terrifying experiment. I’ve learned a little bit. I’m the better-late-than-never indie author I’ve always wanted to be, and I’m giving it another go.

Naturally this would be the exact time my world yo-yoed with my daily routine to the point of vertigo.

In 72 hours I went from “I suppose I live in Seattle forever and always but it sure would be nice to leave.” to “I have three days to get on a plane to England to interview for a few really cool jobs.” to “Oh, I can only be sponsored for a visa if the position is on this list of jobs I’m not applying for?” It might have been easy for a normal person to maintain the flow of prep for a new novel in the face of an adventure deadline plus intriguing immigration but, I, am not of that kind.

I’ve never been the sort of person who had a home in the traditional sense. I spent all of my twenties wandering the United States, looking for someplace that felt right but I never found it. There were a few good attempts, but they each fizzled or exploded depending on how much dynamite I had on hand at the time. Like most people struggling against themselves, I didn’t make lasting progress until I committed to something that mattered to me in a way that nothing else could. For some it’s parenting, religion, or advocacy. For me it’s expressing myself via writing. Writing novels created that place I’d been looking for, the place where when I showed up, it had to let me in. Home.

Perspective and other diversions of the last few weeks make me think if I had gone off on this grand adventure of becoming an expat my production as an author would have suffered. Not because the new life would have been incompatible with a writing career, but because it would have shifted my focus of home away from the worlds I create for myself on the page, to an external location dependent upon bureaucracy, and establishing my credentials as someone who belongs.

My expat dreams shelved for the moment, but I continue to build. That home I searched for is here, and it wants to be burnished into a second novel. Stay tuned.