It’s been much longer than I realized since I posted here. A lot has been happening. The politics of the wide world has been distracting. Life has been distracting.
In addition to the sad loss of Tigger, my companion for sixteen years, I suffered a few personal disappointments during the year.
I finally completed ‘Thanksgiving,’ (Yay!) the first novel of my Holiday Enchantment series and submitted it to Kensington Books according to the contract giving them the option on it. After long last they replied, reporting that they liked the series concept and the writing, but they declined the book because they have trouble selling ‘that kind of fantasy.’
Of course that left me wondering what the hell they meant by ‘that kind of fantasy.’ Okay; admittedly, it’s hard to classify. Not sexy enough to be a standard romance novel, too romantic to be an urban fantasy, too weird to be anything else. It wasn’t until my critique partners gave me feedback on the early chapters of the next book in the series that I was told I was writing Magical Realism. And even that didn’t seem quite right… more like Modern Fairy Tales. Or something in between.
So, disappointed, but undaunted, I spent the following months seeking more feedback from beta readers, revising and tweaking, and engaging in an extensive hunt for an agent, for this book and for a middle-grade fantasy called ‘The Winter Knife.’
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that agents are interested in books that are like other books that are known to sell well. It is therefore small wonder that very few of them showed an interest in either of my completed manuscripts. (Both are good stories, which have passed through the critique-partner and beta reader gauntlets and been honed and nicely polished, but neither is easy to classify.)
Again, undaunted, I launched one Kindle Scout campaign after another. While neither campaign succeeded in winning me a book contract, both taught me more and more about book promotion and marketing, and I went on to learn more from fellow authors with the Midwest Fiction Writers group and to study and learn even more about the burgeoning Indie Publishing movement. Even now, still undaunted, I am excited about launching both books in the coming year, and am busy writing a sequel to ‘The Winter Knife’ and learning about creating audio versions of all my stories.
2016 was wonderfully rewarding in a great many other ways! I:
- completed my second year with G4S and won the support of fellow security officers to take on the role of union steward,
- received the long-term loan of a ’98 Subaru from a friend who wasn’t using it – truly a fabulous boon when commuting by bus from the suburbs represented a daily and nightly challenge, and severely limited my ability to participate in social occasions with family and friends,
- finished paying off a debt that had been eating huge holes in my paychecks – so now I’m able to pay for insurance and gas for the car,
- enjoyed many gatherings during the year with my colleagues in MFW, friends who filk, and who join in singalongs, and play board games, and attend science fiction conventions,
- attended MiniCon SF Convention in the spring, and DeCongestant in the fall,attended the wedding of my lovely niece, Julia to Andrew Zabel, celebrated (though unable to attend) the wedding of my dashing nephew, John to
- met my new grand-niece, Pippa, and grand-nephew Wren (Lawrence),
- attended a workshop with best-selling author, Eloisa James,
- enjoyed a wonderful gathering with family for Thanksgiving – thanks again to SIL, Mary for being the perfect hostess!
- I revived an old interest in archery, (with as yet limited success),
- passed a physical and got my shots (flu, pneumonia and Shingles),
- adopted the rascally Rajesh, who has liberally strewn my apartment with shredded cardboard from his scratchy box,
- contributed a short story that was published in the MFW Anthology: ‘Festivals of Love,’
- later published that story, ‘Faire Play,’ as a stand-alone title on Amazon,
- updated the editions of my short story collections available on Amazon, and the short story co-written with Avon Impulse author, Lizbeth Selvig,
- plan to offer FREE download versions of all of these before the end of the year – so tune in to my newsletter if you want to be notified! http://bit.ly/Naomi2hT6wu2
- And, most recently, I was invited to read at the annual Rivendell Society reading event, where my latest story was received with gratifying laughs in all the right places.
And now ‘The Winter Knife’ is finally available on Amazon!