Sunday, August 30, 2009


So today Radclyffe, the president of Bold Strokes Books, sent 4 possible covers for my book. Talk about a close-your-eyes-and-point process. Well, not really. Every choice seemed off except the one that was quite different from the others. And, to me, that was the one that best reflected the atmosphere of the books. Rad even liked one that was different. And, gosh-oh-gosh, I had to speak up for my favorite. And she was okay with that. A few years ago I would have deferred.
And, of course, now I'm nervous about the choice.

All choices had blacktop highway and mountains except one. I wanted dirt road and prairie. We came out somewhere in between. It also includes a leather-clad female leg with an automatic rifle resting against it. It works and I'm happpy. Hopefully, it will be interesting enough to attract a few extra readers besides my friends and family.

Lately, I've been dealing with people who judge all artistic endeavors by the amount of money made by the creative work.
"Oh, she makes indie films? Does she get paid for them?"
"He's a poet? How much money did his book make?"
"Well, has she ever sold any of her short stories?"
"You make pots? You should sell them at art fairs."
"I hope you negotiated a decent contract with your publisher."

Nancy Pearl (America's great librarian and professional book reader) says that books make money from luck and "fairy dust." She said, just the other day, that it's a mystery why some books become famous while other books that are better, or just as worthy, go unnoticed.

Can't people just create for the sake of creating? Why do we Americans only value artistic work that has monetary value?

And I know my book will be judged by the number of copies it sells or by how much my publisher pays me. Frankly, I really don't need the money. I have a great job already. And since Wind and Bones is clearly a niche book, I'll be happy with a few strangers reading it. I already expect my friends to buy it....not necessarily read it, though. Reading is optional.

So, hopefully, I won't get that teeth-grinding question: "How much you makin' off yer book, Marra?" Because the answer will be a shrug and a smile and the questioner will go unsatisfied. But he/she will walk away thinking the book has no value because it's not making me rich.

"Oh, what a world, what a world..."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Treading Water

I know, a cliche for my title. Can't be helped, though, because that's how I feel.
My book is in the expected stasis between editorial review and revision. In short, I'm waiting to hear from my editor, and she informs me it will be mid-September. Right when I go back to work, of course. But that's the way it works, and I'll sit it out patiently. She said we are on schedule....whatever that means. I'm such a newbie.

Here's what's really cool: the Bold Strokes community of writers. After getting wonderful "welcome aboard" emails from several BSB writers, I've been invited to join a BSB book group. And their communication with me has been full of humor, so I'm not too worried that my sometimes provocative jokes will alienate me....much. We meet on Sept. 12, my sainted father's birthday, and I'll just have to overcome my social anxiety. Breathe...breathe...and remember these gals are writers and probably have some of the same shyness I have. If they supply me with a white board and markers, maybe I'll feel right at home.

In the meantime, my mind is working over the plot for a Wind and Bones sequel. I've got most of it outlined. And here's what I'm wringing my hands over: a title. I love the Wind and Bones title and feel like I won't think of anything I like better than that. What to do? What to do? I want something evocative of the area in north Glacier Park. How 'bout "Cold and Lonely"? Or maybe "Stolen Native Land". Don't think those are catchy.

My novel about the tarot reader has come to a stop because I'm not working on the conditions of tarot-land. I need to build another the hell do fantasy and sci-fi writers to it? That's my big challenge. I've read the 10 pages that I've written, and it's actually pretty good. I know how the plot is supposed to go, but I have to create another world for portions of the book. Cripes. (I can't believe I used that weird expletive)

So, my sister asked for a new post....hope this works, Shell.
Be back after all next week's visiting relatives have returned to their homes and Rachel is snuggly deposited into 5th grade.