Tag Archive for Blood Mountain
I was pleased to spy my newest book, Blood Mountain, displayed with multiple copies in my local Bethlehem Public Library in Delmar, NY. I’m grateful they’ve embraced their role of supporting local writers. It’s so important for our survival.
Artists in our society struggle to earn a living and it’s getting harder than ever. People make assumptions about fame and wealth, but for the overwhelming majority of us, we’re barely clinging to our careers.
The hardest part is the silence. Books take years and they come out and . . . the world just shrugs its shoulders. How can you make a difference? Little things. Request a book at your library. Order a copy from your local independent bookstore. Gift a copy to a favorite classroom teacher. We know they don’t have the financial resources to fill their rooms with as many books as they’d like. If you enjoyed the book, yes, please write a quick review on Amazon or GoodReads. Spread the word, suggest it to a friend. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg and simply your words makes such a difference.
Thank you, kind staff at the Bethlehem Public Library; thanks to everyone who has given this book, which I am so proud of, a chance to survive.
BLOOD MOUNTAIN IS A 2019 JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION.
The long walk is over; today is pub day for Blood Mountain. I stole this next bit from my friend’s blog, author Caroline Starr Rose:
“As always, here are some ways you can help a newly released book:
* Ask your local library to purchase a copy.
* Donate one to your child’s classroom or school.
* Give a book as a birthday or holiday gift.
* Tell others about about the book in person or online (feel free to tag me on Facebook).
* Leave an honest review at Amazon and Goodreads.
A book truly isn’t complete until it belongs to the world.”
Thank you all for the encouragement and support.
BLOOD MOUNTAIN IS A 2019 JUNIOR LIBRARY GUILD SELECTION!
I’ve got a picture book manuscript making the rounds with publishers these days. I teamed up with illustrator Jennifer Sattler, who lives not far in Saratoga. She’s incredible.
(And, clearly, she’s slumming).
It was nice to collaborate for a change. The process was refreshing, open-hearted and often hilarious — together we came away convinced that this was a good story, a meaningful story, borderline brilliant, and we were confident that it would find a publisher. Maybe a few.
That hasn’t quite happened yet. We are told that summertime is slow. Nonetheless we still received a few rapid rejections, like machine gun fire. But this time we had each other, which was new for me in this mostly solitary business.
Here’s the thing. Despite all the best advice, my usual reaction to rejection is to . . . believe it. I get defeated and figure they are probably right. And it changes the way I view the manuscript, and my own worth. I guess I do suck.
WARNING: Don’t try this at home, people!
I mean to say: That’s not a pro tip. The smart money tells us to believe, believe, believe. To hang in there, pull up our socks, keep plugging away, have faith, blah blah blabbity blah.
After one disappointing rejection, I texted Jen: “This stupid business is going to break my heart.“
She texted me back: “It’s okay. Someone will get it, it’s a great story.”
Nice, right? Just what I needed to hear. I even kind of believed her for an entire afternoon.
Last week, while out on the Cape, dodging tornadoes and sharks, I awoke to the memory of an anxiety dream. An editor replied that our book was either the best thing she’s ever read or the worst, she couldn’t be sure, and for that reason was sorry to reject my submission.
Ha, ha, ha. It felt then, and still feels now, about right.
I’ve never had great success with picture books. I’ve had seven published over the years. I’ve discovered that a typical reply from a picture book editor is that the story didn’t knock her socks off. Imagine how that feels to the writer. It’s a fair desire, I suppose — kablooey, socks blown off feet — but such an elusive, arbitrary goal to achieve. How does one knock someone else’s socks off, especially if she is wearing shoes? Simply write something amazing, I suppose.
I guess that’s the business. As we say in children’s publishing, it’s a bunny eat bunny world.
That same morning, I opened an email and learned that my upcoming novel, Blood Mountain (Macmillan, October 10), was just named a Junior Library Guild selection. It’s a huge honor and an encouraging sign at a time when the book has not yet been reviewed (October pub date). A bellwether of future success! That’s the third novel of mine that has earned such a nod from the folks at the Junior Library Guild, including Bystander and The Courage Test. I’m extremely grateful to them for shining the spotlight. Books tend to get lost in the flood.
So there we have it: Despair and small triumph before I have my second cup of coffee. What a business.
And, oh yes, I have a new book out today. It’s pub day for Bee the Change (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), the third book in the “Big Idea Gang” trilogy.
I ain’t dead yet.
I wrote a wilderness survival thriller for middle-grade readers, grades 4-8, and I’m really proud of it. Can’t wait for this book to see the light of day. Think: Hatchet meets Misery . . . and there’s a dog. Siblings lost in the mountains.
Of course, this is a business that involves a lot of waiting. And then more waiting.
And then out of the indigo I get a jpeg of the final cover in an email from my editor, Liz — so I’m sharing it here with my best internet friends.
Illustration by Scott Altmann.