Category: On Zach

Between GRL and Teslacon…

Oct 31, 2013 by

I’ve only been home from GayRomLit in Atlanta a week, and already I’m heading out again, this time to Teslacon in Madison Wisconsin. Teslacon is a Steampunk convention, and if you don’t know what Steampunk is, Google it. Go ahead. I’ll wait. <whistles>

Okay, back? Well, let me explain something. As awesome as Steampunk sounds, it is TWICE as cool as that. Easily. Steampunk marries historical romance and science fiction and fantasy and adventure and mystery and RAY GUNS AND DIRIGIBLES AND AIRSHIP PIRATES. It’s the ultimate geekdom, where all the geekdoms run together and then explode. It’s like Jules Verne married HG Wells and together they popped out Robert A. Heinlein and Umberto Eco. (Totally possible if you buy Warehouse 13’s premise that HG Wells was actually a woman.) And then bought an airship line.

So that’s where I’m spending my weekend, in a total immersion Steampunk convention, where I will arrive in costume and remain so for three full days. In company with my godson and nephew, Joe V., the coolest teenager in the history of teenagers.

GayRomLit was fabulous, as usual, and the organization was even better this year than last year, with set rooms for Q&As and Storyteller Spotlights and Author Readings so you didn’t have to go wandering around looking for them. And every night was a dress-up thing, the traditional Juke Joint Junket being joined by the Some Enchanted Evening formal ball and the rocking Heaven & Hell Masquerade. The costumes were fantastic.

My friend JP Barnaby hosted an event where people got the chance to finger paint on half-nekkid guys: four professional adult models and four authors/regular guys. It was adorable to see that the regular guys actually got painted more than the models did. They raised over $600 for Lost and Found Youth, a gay youth homeless shelter in Atlanta. JP also writes as Jamie Mayfield, and all royalties from her young adult books go to the shelter. JP rocks.

There was also a Dine with the Author event, that was nice, but would have been nicer if it hadn’t been so noisy it was hard to hear what people were saying. Ballrooms have crappy acoustics. I bet someone could make a bajillion dollars if they invented a “cone of silence” thing that could settle over tables for weddings and conferences like these, so that only the people at the table could hear what was being said…

I had lots of people stop by my table at the signing and even sold a few books so I didn’t have to ship anything home. This is a Good Thing.

So I come home to an invitation to host a chat with FRENCH PEOPLE. Seriously! Apparently Kindred Hearts and Finding Zach have been finding some fans in their French incarnations, and DSP is setting up time for a Facebook chat with them. I have to do the posts ahead of time so that the translator can get them done, and then she’ll be riding along to translate their questions and my answers.  That will be November 23rd, so if you speak French, mark your calendars!!

Then, I was also invited to join a blog tour about rock stars, so Adam gets to come out and play for a while. That one should be fairly soon; it’s still in the process of being organized.

So, that’s it for now. In a couple of hours I’ll be hitting the (wet and flooded) roads to Wisconsin. After I get home from that, there will be no more traveling until April. Thank God – my house is a MESS, and my cat thinks I don’t love him any more.

Going Like Elsie, and other miscellanea

Jun 22, 2012 by

First!  Announcement!! All Dreamspinner Press books are on sale!  20% off ebooks!  30% off paperbacks!  Click here for more information:  www.dreamspinnerpress.com

BUY MAH BOOKS!

Enough shameless self-promotion. Okay, now on to shameless-less self-promotion–or can you call it self-promotion if you’re promoting something someone else did, even if it’s about your book?  This is my first bit of fan video! Woot!  A very nice young man reads one of my favoritest excerpts from Finding Zach:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9rJbEY7ot8

And in New Book News:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/videogallery/70601145/News/This-parrot-is-no-bird-brain

A Congo African Gray Parrot is a major secondary character in my Work In Progress From Hell, tentatively titled “Going Like Elsie.” Grace is a very smart bird, as CAGs tend to be, and an excellent mimic. She’s about 25, so she’s got a bigger vocabulary of words and sounds than the bird in this video, who’s only about 10. I’ve been working on the WIPFH for over two years and Grace has been part of it from the very beginning. Oddly enough, last year I got another Grace in my life—my beautiful little niece, who just turned one on May 16th. The first girlchild in her generation in a family rather overloaded with boys (says the girl with five brothers). I adore her.

Going Like Else is in the hands of the beta readers, and will be going into second draft stage next week as soon as I get feedback from my severest critic and number one beta Lynda. I’ve already heard back from my boss, who used to manage rock bands and had some excellent advice about Adam, my rock star hero (and who *might* be able to find me a musician for the book trailer!) and from the inimitable JP Barnaby, who hits me with the WTF stick whenever I go off on bizarro tangents, as I tend to do. Her pragmatism saves me from some seriously embarrassing moments (“Teaching Grace to make coffee. Most coffee makers have a timer. Give him a reason not to have one. Too old? Broken?”) Well, duh. I get too caught up in the concept and lose track of the reality. JP grounds me!

And the best compliment of all—I rode home on the train last night with one of my beta readers, who was deep into the draft. And she cried almost the whole way.

Oh, I forgot…

Mar 21, 2012 by

     Did I mention I’m a little frantic today?

    Anyway, I meant to mention that Finding Zach is now available as an audiobook through Dreamspinner Press. It’s also being translated into German, as well as Spanish, Italian, Pig Latin and Esperanto.

     Okay, I’m lying, but I won’t tell you what about. :)

Exalted company!

Sep 10, 2010 by

As soon as the review from michelenjeffreviews.com is up, I’ll post the link, but Michele from the aforesaid site sent me an email today with some lovely compliments.  I’ve never been in such exalted company before–she mentioned Finding Zach in the same breath as The Kite Runner.  I mean–whoa. 

I’m very grateful that people are responding so well to the book.  For every negative comment–mostly about the “unrealistic” way that Zach “recovers too quickly” (Hello, people, did you not read the book?  The whole point is that he’s recovering slowly!)–I get a lot of positive comments about how much the characters connect with people.  That was what I was trying to do; my characters are real, in the world inside my head, and I was trying to make them seem as real to others as they are to me.  That, I think, is the key to a successful story–that the characters are real people, with flaws and foibles and things that make you want to smack them in the head.  Just like you do your siblings.

and what about Brian…

May 20, 2010 by

It’s been really interesting reading the different reader reviews of Finding Zach, especially when there are strong opinions vocalized about a particular character.  Some people like Zach, others David (one comment from my numero uno beta reader was “I wish David were real.  And straight.”)  Some people say the side characters are cardboard cutouts; others say that they’re amazingly real for side characters.  Discuss.

Brian seems to be one of the more polarizing characters.  One reader asked for a story about him, while another referred to him as “one big prick.”  I’m sort of glad, because while Brian isn’t exactly a villain, he IS an antagonist, and his motives are questionable.  He needs to cause a certain amount of discomfort.  I didn’t want to make him totally unlikable, because in the end he IS the one who pushes Zach to confront his past, but I wanted him to be an uncomfortable character.  He’s not easy, and that’s okay.  I think that that’s what makes him real for me–he’s not a straightforward hero or villain, he’s just a guy who wants what he wants and maybe sometimes takes shortcuts to get there.  I think he’s seriously interested in Zach as a person, not only as a “story”; he may just be being a reporter–excuse me,  journalist–but I think he is attracted to Zach, and sympathetic, as far as he can be given his profession.

Will I write another story with Brian?  Does he deserve his own happy ending?  Time will tell…

A present, and a past… and a future?

May 12, 2010 by

Got a happy box from Dreamspinner last night when I got home – my copies of Finding Zach.  Started to read a “real” copy on the train this morning and am surprised at the fact that I’m enjoying it.  You’d think after looking at it six hundred times in the past year that I’d be sick of it.  The sad thing is that I have the suspicion that I’ll never write anything that good again.

If I do, I’m not sure the new book is it, anyway.  Very different, being essentially a Regency, and the characters are not at all like David and Zach.  I’m having a harder time getting into them.  Plus it’s demanding a lot more research than the first one did (although I did plenty!) and that slows the process down.  Still have a lot to do with the Waterloo scenes!!  Not sure if I’ll make my self-imposed deadline this time around (of course, I didn’t last time, either).

And now Jerry Abruzzo is demanding his say.  Jerry is David’s ex from Finding Zach and he’s taken a new job in Chicago and really, really wants his own story.  He’ll be satisfied with a short story, or at least that’s what he says now.  (Hah!  I’ve learned never to trust what your characters tell you…)