October Surprise

So, October 30 snuck up on me. October 30, yesterday, was the release day for my second novel, The Trouble on Highway One. I had intended to do more pre-promotion than I did. Send out an email blast. Take out more Facebook ads. Update the front page of this website. Alas, the best laid plans…

However, while my publicity efforts may be a tad lacking, or, at the very least, a tad behind; I feel the opposite way about the story itself. I’m very excited to get it out there, I feel it’s absolutely ready for the world. I had in my head that I did not want to push its release past October; and all my writing, editing and re-writing efforts were aimed toward that goal. So it made it on the last Tuesday in October.

Kind of like how I wanted to finish the last marathon I ran in under four and a half hours. I ran it in 4:29:29.

And speaking of running, I’m compelled to bring up Haruki Murakami. I just read an article that quoted the famed novelist (and avid runner). At an event in New York, just a few weeks ago, he shared his thoughts on what he could do—what he could offer—in light of all the suffering constantly around us.

He concluded that he could write good stories:

“…I thought, ‘What I can do is to write good fiction.’ After all, when I write a good story, good fiction, we can understand each other if you are a reader and I’m a writer. There is a special secret passage between us, and we can send a message to each other.”

I am by no means comparing myself, or my stories, to Murakami. Or even claiming that my fiction is “good” by his measure. But I am eager to share this latest story I’ve written. If for no other reason than the chance to provide some entertainment or diversion to those in need of it.

Happy Halloween, y’all!

Figure of Speech

Last Saturday, I went to the studios of WRBH and read from my soon-to-be released novel, The Trouble on Highway One. It was a trip! Sitting in sound proof booth, filling up twenty-seven minutes with a soliloquy of my own making. In my marketing past, I’ve done some fill-in voiceover work, and recorded a few 30-second and 60-second radio spots. But this was an entirely different experience. Like the difference between a daily commute and a cross-country road trip.

This segment will air on an upcoming episode of WRBH’s “Figure of Speech.” Here’s the description of the program, from the WRBH website: “Local authors and poets share and discuss their own work, as well as work from the artists who influence and inspire them.” Local meaning New Orleans.

Here in New Orleans, (and in the U.S.), WRBH is the only full-time FM reading radio service. And much of their original content, including “Figure of Speech,” “New Orleans By Mouth,” and “The Writer’s Forum” is available on Soundcloud.

For my segment, I read the first chapters of The Trouble on Highway One, and The Incident Under the Overpass. In between, I talked a little bit about traiteurs, and their healing tradition here in Southern Louisiana. At the end, jumping to artists who’ve inspired me, I mentioned Walker Percy for how he evoked the spirit of New Orleans in his writing, and I read from Jane Austen’s Persuasion (my favorite Jane Austen novel!) Funny how I found my own work easier to read aloud than Jane’s. 😉

My “Figure of Speech” episode should be available sometime in the next month, but in the meantime, don’t hesitate to check out the WRBH programs on Soundcloud. I listened to some really compelling stories as I prepared for my session!

 

 

The Writing Fall

Funny how life follows the seasons. Right now, it feels like the harvest for me. Several seeds, some sown years ago, are coming to fruition.

First: my novel, The Trouble on Highway One, is available for pre-sale on Amazon. Release date is October 30. This is the second story in the Traiteur Trilogy, featuring the protagonist Lacey Becnel as she struggles to understand and utilize her supernatural healing powers.

This is the seed that was planted a long time ago. I began writing it after the first story, The Incident Under the Overpass, was drafted, but not yet published. So it’s been a long road. (A long highway?) I had to mention it first, lest Husband Tim accuse me of “burying the lead.” (Which he does from time to time).

Second: I have an installment in OUTSIDE IN TAKES A STAB: 139 New Perspectives on 139 Buffy Stories by 139 Writers. This is an anthology on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and my essay covers “The Dark Age” episode. My piece begins with the sentence, “I hate vampires.” I know certain members of my family will read that, and immediately follow it up with Anakin Skywalker’s whiny soliloquy on sand from Attack of the Clones. (A not-so-inside joke for anyone familiar with the “I hate sand” meme.) OUTSIDE IN TAKES A STAB is available for pre-order, currently scheduled to release November 2.

And finally: an excerpt from my short story, “Lucky Eight,” will appear in the upcoming Louisiana’s Emerging Writers publication. It’s set to publish October 23, and should be available for pre-order from Z Publishing within the next week or so.

Emerging, indeed! Feels pretty good, I have to admit. 🙂

Cover Reveal!

I’m very excited to reveal the cover of my second novel, The Trouble on Highway One! I’m working to make it available for pre-sale on Amazon, and I hope to accomplish this in the next few days. Once I do this, I’ll announce its release date (I’m aiming for October 30).

Here’s what I have for the blurb, so far:

Things are looking up for recent widow Lacey Becnel. A short-term job assignment on California’s beautiful Central Coast, and a new love interest fill her days after a tumultuous summer. But as she discovers more about the mysterious traiteur power bestowed upon her, she will learn that she is not the only one with potent, supernatural abilities.

I’ll have more details next week!

Distant Worlds

Hello, dear readers! This is a departure from the regularly-scheduled content in this space. (If you’ve figured out what the regularly-scheduled content is, could you please let me know?)

I’m taking part in a science fiction / fantasy giveaway and book fair that begins today, and I want to spread the word. Read on for all the details. Good luck, and see you next week!

DISTANT WORLDS

Science Fiction & Fantasy Giveaway

August 1-21

Enter for Your Chance to Win!

https://bookwrapt.com/distant-worlds-giveaway/

Love science fiction, fantasy, and romantic F/SF? How would you like to win an ebook prize pack where YOU choose the books YOU want to win and read from Amazon? Enter and you could take home one of four ebook prize packs, a Kindle Fire 7, or Amazon gift card.

Sponsored by these 36 authors:

Anne Kane • Anne McClane • Aurora Springer • Calinda B • Candace Sams • Cara Bristol • Carol Van Natta • Christine Myers • Crystal Dawn • Cynthia Sax • Debra Jess • Edward Hoornaert • EG Manetti • Emmy Chandler • Eva Caye • Genevieve St-Yves • Jessie Kwak • Jon Del Arroz • Karina Kantas • Kayelle Allen • Kristine Smith • Lea Kirk • Lexi Post • Linda Mooney • Livia Quinn • Monica Enderle Pierce • Pauline Baird Jones • Regine Abel • Sarah Marsh • Shona Husk • Stephanie West • Susan A. Royal • Tiffany Roberts • Tonya Cannariato • Vicki Stiefel • Wesley Britton

And while you’re there, check out our Distant Worlds Book Fair for best-selling and highly-reviewed ebooks on sale, FREE exclusive downloads, and a $15 Amazon bonus giveaway!

https://bookwrapt.com/distant-worlds-fair/

The Second Time Around

The second time is
So much better, baby
(The second time around)
And I make it better
Than the first time

—Lyrics from “The Second Time Around” by Shalamar

I remember this song from my youth. It’s from Shalamar’s album Big Fun, which Wikipedia tells me was released the day after my tenth birthday. Like a lot of songs from that era, if they received radio airplay, there’s a good chance those lyrics and melodies are lodged somewhere deep in my cerebrum. Just waiting for the right catalyst to release them to get stuck in my current brain.

In this instance, the catalyst has been the work I’m pouring into my second full-length novel. I’m into the final edits, and I remember being at a similar stage with my first one, exactly twenty-four months ago. February 2016.

Shalamar sings “the second time is so much better.” Related to my own efforts, I agree—but on balance. The pressure’s higher this time around, so that has leavened my joy a bit. I guess stress has a way of doing that. But the reason the pressure’s higher is an absolute positive—my publisher has asked me to submit this manuscript. No one was asking first time around. Here are some other ways I agree with Shalamar:

  • Some readers have indicated they want to read the continuation of the story I began in the first one. That’s pretty cool.
  • Working with a developmental editor this time around was a HUGE improvement to the writing process.
  • I’m a touch more confident in my abilities. But just a touch, because I still struggle daily with anxiety, and “am I worthy”-type thoughts.

And finally, there’s the last bit of lyric quoted above. “I make it better than the first time.” On that point, I’m unequivocal. That is my intent, 100%. For every novel and short story I write to improve upon the previous.

There’s a quote I’ll see on social media from time to time, I think it’s from writer and editor David Schlosser: “The only writer to whom you should compare yourself is the writer you were yesterday.”

I think that sums up my thoughts nicely. Enjoy Shalamar’s catchy song, and their super-sparkly outfits:

On Sale Now!

*Special Tuesday edition!

The Incident Under the Overpass is now available on Amazon! In an attempt at courageous self-promotion, I’ll share some endorsements from early reviews:

“Read It If: you like your supernatural romances set in New Orleans. A delight.” –CravenWild.com

“McClane’s debut novel, set in sultry New Orleans, combines mystery, romance, and a touch of the paranormal…Lacey is an engaging heroine…” -Kirkus Reviews

“Lacey has a wry, self-deprecating narrative voice, enlivened by frequent pop-culture references.” -Kirkus Reviews

“It’s a unique story with great characters and it stands out from many other books in this genre.” –By Hook or By Book
“The backdrop feels familiar enough, but as the pages turn Anne McClane peels away the layers to reveal a tale of intrigue laced with old Louisiana spirit ways.” -Ian McNulty, author of A Season of Night and Louisiana Rambles

And here’s a quick synopsis: When Lacey Becnel awakens under an overpass near her home in New Orleans, she does not yet realize that she’s undergone a profound metamorphosis. Nathan, the dangerously attractive man she discovers at her side, provokes as many questions as answers. As Lacey learns of her emergent abilities, she also finds that nothing will protect her from her growing attraction to Nathan, or his perilous fate.

So here’s the thing about self-promotion–I’ve written in earlier posts (one referenced at the top of this page) how it does not come easily to me. It’s one of the reasons I made sure the review excerpts above are all from people I don’t know personally. Their opinion of the book is not muddied by their opinion of me.

It’s also one of the reasons it’s been so delightful to let After Glows handle the publishing. While I still have a responsibility for promoting my work, it’s no longer all on me.

I’ll conclude with this plug: if The Incident Under the Overpass sounds like a story you might enjoy, I hope you’ll check it out. And if you do, I sure hope the “might enjoy” turns into a “definitely enjoyed.”

*Next week, I’ll return to my regularly-scheduled Wednesday programming. 🙂

Cover Reveal!

I’ve been keeping this under wraps for a little while. But now that the relaunch of The Incident Under the Overpass is less than two weeks away, it’s time to reveal the new cover!

The e-book is available for pre-sale on Amazon, with a delivery date of September 19. For new visitors to this space, here’s the blurb:

It’s been fifteen months since Lacey Becnel’s unfaithful husband suddenly passed away, leaving her to sort through her feelings of anger, love, and loss, and wondering where exactly her place in life should be.

But when she awakens under an overpass near her home, next to Nathan—a man she met just hours before in the streets of New Orleans—she begins a journey of discovery that some might call supernatural. In the days that follow, it becomes clear that Nathan might be the target of a murder plot, and Lacey—somehow—has the power to heal.

The more she becomes embroiled in Nathan’s danger, the more confused Lacey becomes about her feelings for him. Will she ever fully understand her abilities, or will the danger surrounding Nathan bring things to an abrupt end?

And for those of you who’ve been following along, this story—my first novel—was picked up by After Glows Publishing earlier this year. It has been such a pleasure to work with them! This time last year, much like Lacey, I was wondering where exactly my place should be. (In life, not so much; but as an author, yes.)

Writing and publishing are two entirely different endeavors; and there are parts to the work of each that I really enjoy. But ultimately, I want to be able to write stories, and I want to work on improving that skill. With After Glows looking after the publication, I’ve had more time to narrow my focus on just the writing.

I like to think of Lacey as a sensitive, vulnerable woman who is just beginning to understand her strength. And when she realizes its depth, it surprises her. (I think that’s a pretty good description of Lacey through the whole story arc…The Incident Under the Overpass—this book; The Trouble on Highway One—book 2, currently under revision; and the tentatively titled The Epiphany on the Causeway—book 3, which I’ve just begun to write.)

Anyway, I think the Lacey on the new cover really captures both her strength and vulnerability; and she also lets potential new readers know they’re in for an urban fantasy / paranormal romance featuring an unusual supernatural ability.

Thank you, After Glows, for helping to bring Lacey to life!