I see that I haven't updated since before Christmas. Yikes! Shame on me.
Let's see... perhaps I will try to work backwards to recount all the goings-on at chez Morehouse-Rounds. The New Year was quite lovely. We broke with a long-standing tradition of an early night and snoring before the ball dropped and actually decided to be down right social on New Year's Eve. Our friends, seanmmurphy
and his wife, invited us out for a candle lit walk at Snelling State Park. Unfortunately, we were having a no-good-rotten day from almost the start. Shawn woke up with a killer migraine and Mason woke up... a teenager. (He was amazingly whiny, sullen, and angry about nothing and everything all at once.) Even though Shawn was feeling better by evening, I wasn't sure I wanted to inflict Mason's mood on the Murphy-Carlson's so, I volunteered to hike in the woods sans the rest of my family.
It was actually very lovely. If my family was more energetic and athletic, I would try to make it a family tradition of our own. There was no snow, of course (the storm blew in just as we were headed back to the car), but the park volunteers had lit the trail with lovely ice and plastic bucket candles. We walked and talked about mainstream fiction vs. science fiction and people we knew and our genetic/ethnic backgrounds and all sorts of things that one rambles on about with good friends. We had such a lovely time that Sean's wife offered to bring the wine and cheese over to Shawn and Mason, rather than having me have to fetch them over to the Murphys'.
When I called Shawn, the overall mood in the household had improved dramatically, so it was a go. We had munchies (added to by the things in our fridge, and I am please to report we could even offer a few fancy cheeses ourselves,) and sparkling juice for the majority of us, and bit of wine for those that wanted. We talked until nearly midnight, when the Murphys decided to head home and we rushed upstairs to watch Dick Clark and the ball.
The day had turned around quite nicely. I should say too, that in an effort to try to have a happier day, we had gone book shopping earlier. Uncle Hugos needed more copies of the AngeLINK books and so I brought what I had, and we made a nice trade. Mason got a ton of those punny MYTH books by Robert Lynn Asprin (I LOVED those when I was a tween,) and I even walked out with a book or two for myself. Then, since it was the one day when the shops were still open for a while, we zipped back to St. Paul with the plan of hitting Kowalski's for last minute food supplies before the holiday wasteland. We drove past our other favorite bookstore: Sixth Chamber, and we decided to drop Shawn and Mason off for a look-through and I went and fetched the milk and eggs and other sundries. When I came back to retreive them, they were just ready to walk out. I asked Shawn if she'd remembered to try out the secret password. On Facebook, Sixth Chamber had a deal that the first five people to walk in and say "hedgehog" would get a gift certificate. Shawn said she hadn't, so I marched up to the counter and said, "hedgehog!"
I was the very last person to offer the secret password. I got a t-shirt, a Japanese eraser (kitty!), and a 20% off coupon.
Then I came home and discovered a royalty check in the mail from Penguin for Tall, Dark & Dead (the book that continues to sell, sell, sell!)
So, I'd say that New Year's Eve was pretty auspicious. Money and fabulous prizes galore!
Speaking of TD&D, one of the things I did over the holiday was read the page proofs for the mass-market paperback edition. They sent it as a .pdf, and so I mailed it to Shawn's fancy new Kindle Fire, and spent a day reading my book on the Kindle. I found several typos, much to my surprise. But, the good news is that they'll be corrected in the paperback version. The other thing that was kind of awesome about that is that I discovered that one of my best selling books is also one of my quirkiest.
I don't know if you noticed, but Garnet is kind of a slut. There is a LOT of sex in that book, and sexiness. Sebastian is also surprisingly dark, and Parrish is... a total hustler, like literally, in that book. It's kind of amazing... and Garnet's friends are odd, a lot like my real friends, and the interactions in that books are very *me*.
Thus, one of the things that re-reading that has done for me is made me a bit more confident about my quirkiness as a writer. You see, in most cases, I have no idea if my personal brand of weirdness was a plus or a minus to sales. The AngeLINK books, which are very *me*, are all out of print.
This "failure" has caused me to believe that maybe I had no idea how to write to a popular market. But, TD&D is going to mass-market. It's the only book I've had that's changing format like that. As a trade-size book, it's well into its sixth or seventh printing. I've easily made as much money in royalties from that book as they paid me in an advance, probably twice as much... if not more.
My point is, I can now say, with confidence, that my quirkiness is _not_ a detriment to sales. IN FACT, a person could make a pretty strong case that... maybe, just MAYBE I know what I'm doing.
Well, we probably shouldn't go THAT far. But, at least, it seems to be true that a book that has a lot of my extra special weirdness smeared all over it isn't automatically headed for the remainder pile.
This was kind of an epiphany... during the Epiphany and everything.
Meanwhile, yesterday was our traditional day to take down all the Christmas decorations. You might not expect this of a couple of pagans, but we kind of go all out for Solstice/Yule/Christmas. There is tinsle! Bells! And all the other things that the Grinch absolutely detests. So, that was kind of the main event for the day. We hauled the tree out for recycling, put everything away into boxes... and, because it was the last REAL day of vacation, all this was interspersed with lightsaber battles.
Mason, I should warn you, is a dark sider. Which forces me, the Slytherin, to play the good Jedi. Mason, too, likes to make up the various Darths that he portrays. Yesterday, each Darth had the added power of the elements, a sort of Elemental Force power, so there was Darth Terrus (Earth) and Darth Inferno (Fire) among others. Probably the toughest guy was the one with water power because a touch of his lightsaber froze me with ice. In the Masonverse, too, the good guys do NOT automatically triumph, either. So, I died a lot.
Let's hope that old idea that how you spend New Year's Day is how you spend the rest of the year isn't true, or I'm going to be run through with a lot of lightsabers.