Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Road Ends, Another Begins

The initial stages for Walk the Red Road have come to a close, a bittersweet moment for me. I can finally take a breather and enjoy the fact that Book 2 in The Whisper Legacy is officially out of my hands and into those of my readers and fans. I'm a little sad that this road in the Whisper journey has ended, though I'm eager to see what new paths the third book in the series takes me.

You Can Buy Walk the Red Road Here:
My E-Store
Barnes & Noble

Now, I have to focus on what I consider to be the harder part of the job. Writing is hard enough (and oddly, many seem to think it's a rather simple process for some strange reason. It's more than just sitting in front of the computer putting words to screen; it takes time and energy, constant focus, daily challenges and frustrations and stress in trying to put all the pieces together), but even more difficult is marketing.

I am a terrible bragger and self-promoter. I'm uncomfortable with compliments and don't like putting myself the spotlight. Unfortunately, I have to be and do just that to sell books. Over the years, I've become a pro at faking confidence, allowing me to give talks in front of students, speak in front of literally thousands of people about writing, be on live TV for interviews, and even crack a joke to best-selling author Carl Hiaasen that one day, I'll be taking his place at the podium of my school's presidential lecture. On the outside, I attempt to appear calm and cool and collected. On the inside, my heart's beating like a rabbit on acid and my mind is attempting to confuse me by spouting off random quotes and character ideas and distractions that make it a thousand times harder to concentrate on the topic at hand. Hopefully one day I'll  be better at all this.

There's no real point to me saying all this other than to talk myself into doing what I already know I have to do. Reach out to my promo contacts, tell everyone how awesome my new book is, figure out how to make Facebook, Twitter, this blog, and other marketing materials work for me. It's a long and frustrating process, filled with rejection, or being flat-out ignored altogether, while searching for the one person to say "yes, I'll give you a shot."

On that note, I'm also going to be sending a couple books to Ellen to kick-start Operation: Ellen. I'm determined to be on her show in 2012. In fact, I've just decided that this will be my New Year's resolution. I've also been convinced to send a book to Plan B Entertainment, which is none other than Brad Pitt's production company. Total long shot, but hell, it can't hurt, right?

While doing all this marketing, I also have a full-time job, am teaching my very first college course starting in three days, am starting Book 3 in The Whisper Legacy, and am putting the finishing touches on The Sour Orange Derby (a novel I plan to release in a few months - details to follow soon). Hopefully my mind can keep up with everything, without driving me crazier than I already am.

The Red road is truly a busy and exciting adventure!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Suspicions confirmed. We have a ghost.

So, we all remember the story about the alien shadow that scared the bejeezus out of me a week or two ago. I was perfectly willing to accept that a serial killer was creeping through our front yard. About a week after that event, S woke in the middle of the night to the sound of a light knocking on the front door, but when he looked out the window, no one was there. Again, willing to accept the serial killer possibility.

The events of last night and earlier today, however, have convinced me otherwise.  Allow me to take you back.

It was a mere 3am, all was dark and quiet. S and I were cuddled under the heater blanket with Sir Whisky passed out between us. Suddenly, I awoke to a flashing blue light coming from the foyer. In my groggy, way-too-early-morning state of mind, all I could do was lift myself to my elbows and stare through the doorway at the blurry spectacle (note that I wasn't even awake enough to think of putting on my glasses). After a few seconds of staring, I heard the music. It was coming from this guy:

Yes, that's right. Frosty the Snowman.

Now, here's the weird part (yes, it gets weirder). First of all, you can't activate Frosty unless you push that circle on his foot. Second, Frosty hasn't worked in 2 years because I never changed the batteries from the ones that he came with. So. How the hell did he get activated, and how did the batteries suddenly get charged? I got up after the song stopped and did a thorough house check. Not a peep to be heard or a soul to be seen (or a dead soul to be detected...).

The other weird part. Frosty works now (kind of). I'll mention that last year and the year before, I must have pressed his foot a hundred times seeing if he would play, and due to my own laziness chose to simply keep pressing the button rather than find new batteries and swap them out. When I pulled him out of the box this year, I pressed the button a dozen times and still, nothing.

Today, I tried again after his early-morning performance. It took 27 presses of the button, but I finally got this:

Now imagine seeing just that flashing light and tell me you wouldn't immediately think, "Holyshitanalienisattackingmyhouse!!!!"

S and I have two theories.

1) We have a ghost. This would explain the shadow in the woods, the light knocking at the door, and Frosty's sudden return to life. Plus these all happened in the early morning hours, and clearly that's when all the weird shit happens. It would also explain why Sir Whisky feels the need to sit in the middle of the floor and howl like he's being tortured for no good reason at all. For example (this was today, and he did this for a good 10 seconds before I grabbed the camera):

Sorry it's sideways, I didn't have time to adjust. But you get the picture. Oh, and by the way, he's looking in the direction of the foyer and Frosty. If it is a ghost, I can only hope it's an adult with a sense of humor. A friend suggested it was a child ghost, and if that's the case, then holy Hera I have to move. Little kid ghosts scare the crap out of me. The girl from The Ring traumatized me for weeks.

2) The government is doing experiments, and Frosty got caught in the cross-fire. We live somewhat near a government facility, that I will not name or show pictures of should they find out and launch a stealth attack District 12 style. This was S's theory (mine was #1, clearly). He stated that perhaps they were doing something weird with electricity or electromagnetic waves and other stuff with big words, and those waves somehow got zapped straight to Frosty. Normally I'd debunk this crazy science theory, but I can't help but remember back to when our house was struck by lightning, and all the battery-operated games in my brother's closet suddenly came to life. So, this is perhaps plausible, and I like it better than little kid ghosts.

In short, I live in either a haunted house or one that will soon be radioactive.