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Review: The Atrocity Archives

Hi all.

For anyone who randomly comes across this post, here’s the deal. I’m in a virtual book group. We read books and post our comments about them to a FB group. No, you can’t join.

I started out making just a few notes for that group, but then those notes got too long. So I’ll put all my thoughts about the book here. Just like me to be too wordy for a FB post…

The Atrocity Archives by Charles Stross: My Comments in 3 Parts

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On Nerves: Having them and getting on them

Yes, it is October. However, consider this your September update, as that’s when all the thinking happened.

Book Status: QUEEN OF HUNGER continues to sell regularly, which is fabulous considering how little advertising I’ve done. It isn’t selling “I’m going to Hawaii for my birthday” well, but well enough. In addition, the feedback I’ve gotten from readers has been really encouraging and inspiring. If I could get half the people who’ve told me they loved it to say so on Amazon.com in a review…but I know not everyone is a “reviewing” type. Heck, I don’t have a Yelp account myself, so how can I complain? I can’t. Still, it is good to know people like it and recommend it and are looking forward to the next book. That makes me inexpressibly happy.

Writing Status: I am definitely writing, producing a small but steady amount of new content every week, which is helping to pull me out of my post-publication doldrums. Yes, post-pub blues. I’m realizing now that’s what I’ve had/have/will have for a bit longer. Those blues are manifesting in one serious crisis: I’ve lost my nerve.

Public art is about risk. Committing words to paper is great, but putting those words in front of strangers takes an awful lot of moxie — a fact I hadn’t really come to grips with until I did it for the first time a few years ago. And now, after taking the big risk, I find myself constantly battling doubt: what if the next book isn’t as good? or is too good? What if someone steals my ideas? or I’ve stolen theirs? What about the characters, are they interesting? complex? amoral? cynical? Is it too long? MY GOD EVERYTHING I WRITE IS TOO LONG!

Writing in a vacuum was so much easier than writing with the will to publish. My second-guessing demon is working overtime.

This makes for slow going. And re-writing. And pep talks with fellow writers. And more coffee than I ever thought I’d consume in a day — and I attended grad school, so my coffee intake upper limit is significant.

So while book two grows day by day, whether it will grow in time for a reliable publication date is up for debate. In the meantime, however, I do have some other shorts that are shaping up to be interesting enough to share. They aren’t in the same world as Teach and the Assembled, but you probably won’t mind. I mean, it’ll be free fiction. What’s not to like?

PS — I’m making additions to the Inspirations page too!

QUEEN OF HUNGER Has a Cover!

As I was putting together my plan for self-publishing, it quickly became clear that task #2, after finishing QUEEN OF HUNGER, was having a great cover done. A cover is the first step in the presentation of a book. And as a new author, convincing new readers to pay a few bucks for my work, I knew I needed to nail that first impression. My cover artist helped me do that to the nines.

If you’re looking for an experienced, fun, creative artist, I present to you Darne Lang. And the cover to my book.

Teach in her world

Cover Art by D.Lang for QUEEN OF HUNGER.

I’m lucky to know an amazing number of skilled artists and craftspeople, both personally and professionally. I know jewelers, pewter-smiths, stained glass setters (is that a glazier? A stained glazier? How does that work, linguistically speaking?), custom seamstresses, and a number of 2-D visual artists in both digital and traditional media. I met my cover artist several years ago, but this is our first collaboration – the first of many I hope. I definitely learned a lot in working with her, most notably that “I don’t know, can you make it more Oakland?” isn’t actually good creative feedback.

Let me know what you think in the Comments. Feel free to share through all your social webs; if not because the QUEEN OF HUNGER is an awesome book, which it is, then because the cover is just good.

Announcing!

If you’re a friend of mine, or even a vague and distant acquaintance, you know that I write. What you might not know is this: I’ll be publishing my book via Amazon Kindle at the end of April!

QUEEN OF HUNGER, Tales of the Assembled: Book 1 is a professionally edited, two-years in the writing, one-year in the fixing, full-length novel. Read the rest of this entry

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