The title of this post is a not-so-subtle reference to a prog-rock album released in 1978, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds. It’s something I’ve loved listening to since I was a kid. It’s got Richard Burton, and Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy, and Justin Hayward from The Moody Blues, and lots of great sound effects. It’s just awesome.
I have rediscovered it multiple times throughout my life. I remember hearing it on my brother David’s stereo when I was quite young. Later on, I acquired my own album, and made a cassette recording, so I could listen during my long drives across Texas during college. Some years later, I acquired the CD version. Which was just unearthed recently, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Because my intent with this post is to shine some long overdue light on the promotional highlights of this year. Say what you want about 2016—tumultuous feels like a good word. It can also apply to my very personal journey as a fiction writer.
Since my musings in this space tend to be very introspective, when I do bring up the subject of promoting my fiction, I’m usually whining about it. Which is not entirely fair. Because my promotional efforts have pushed me out of my comfort zone; and as a result, several pathways have lit up for me, which were previously unseen. And I think this is all positive stuff.
So, here is a chronological, but by no means inclusive, list of highlights.
- The launch of The Incident Under the Overpass on August 27. A huge round of thanks to Maple Street Bookshop for carrying the book and hosting a signing. And another huge round of thanks to Redd’s Uptilly Tavern for hosting a reading and party. And more thanks to my family, especially my brother-in-law Jim for taking these great pictures (scroll down) that I’ll get to use for promotion for many years to come.
- By Hook or By Book’s review of The Incident Under the Overpass. Receiving this review and rating—above average, but not perfect—did worlds to help me get over my anxiety about putting this book out into the world. It was an honest appraisal from a reviewer I read almost daily, whose opinion I trust. And perhaps most importantly, it gave me a mark to aim for with the next book.
- NORDC’s Word + Image Festival. I made some amazing connections at this inaugural event. I met members of the Wildseeds Collective, who introduced me to the truly prescient writings of Octavia Butler. I also learned about an upcoming Author/Reader conference (ARC NOLA), and I am now signed on as a participating author.
- The Artists Entrance. I found out about this event from a musician, Billy Shirer, who is a friend from elementary school. And what a fantastic event it is. Each month, the Artists Entrance features one visual artist, one literary artist (or writer), and one musical artist. And the writing and music portions have an open mic section. I landed the “featured” writer spot in December, after going up for the open mic in November. It was pretty phenomenal to be featured alongside the incredible comic book artist Tim Lattie, and the extraordinarily talented Ginger and the Bee. (The Bee is another long-time friend!) I could wax poetic about this experience for a while (can’t you tell from my overuse of superlatives?) But in the interest of brevity, I’ll just shout out a big THANK YOU to the fabulous Ted Torres and the inimitable Rick English for organizing and bringing The Artists Entrance to life.
- Coming up in January: another review (from a blogger in London!), a podcast interview, and ARC NOLA.
So, back to The War of the Worlds. I listened to it during that weekend in August, the book launch weekend. It helped get my mind in the right place, in two specific ways. First, there’s H.G. Wells. Here’s a story he wrote 120 years ago, that’s been referenced, retold, and reimagined in countless ways since. But he had to start somewhere. (Okay, so he started with The Time Machine. Not trying to compare myself.) I’m just saying, that’s how I looked at the launch of The Incident Under the Overpass. A first step toward my ultimate aspiration—to pen a timeless story that resonates with many.
And second, there are the Martians. I like to think that I’m—like the Martians—slowly, and surely, making my plan to dominate entertain the Earthlings. 🙂