For the superstitious, thirteen is hardly an auspicious number. And, as those of you who’ve read my blog post at Book Pregnant know, a novel more than three months past its release can start to get lost in the shuffle, leaving its author with a case of the not-so-new-anymore blues. Call me a cockeyed optimist but I choose to face the thirteen-week anniversary of the release of The Sister Queens with a list of thirteen reasons (in no particular order) that I am grateful to be JUST WHERE AND WHEN I AM.
1. My day started with this touching shout out from fellow writer Joey Francisco. Joey reminds us that reading can transport people—even people oppressed by pain and illness—and she challenges authors to “pay it forward” by donating a copy of their work to the book cart at their local hospital. What a timely reminder of the magic of fiction, and what a fantastic service idea!
2. Reviewers have been generous. To date The Sister Queens has received more than three-dozen very positive reviews. Most recently, The School Library Journal declared:
Word on the street (rather, consensus among historical fiction bloggers) is that this is an author to watch whose book is a page-turner, fast-paced, emotional, passionate, well-written and carefully researched.”
3. The Fans are FANTASTIC. I am constantly hearing from new people who love my book and support my writing. Readers, your notes, direct messages, and tweets mean so very much. Thank you. Thirteen weeks on, I am still receiving photos from Queen Spotters around the country. Got another picture of The Sister Queens lounging on a bed inMaine just this past weekend.
4. I’ve been invited to be a Presenting Author at the 2012 Baltimore Book Festival. What better way to spend the last weekend in September? I will be participating in a number of panels including a discussion of “Trends in Historical Fiction” and (oh JOY) a reconstitution of the “Sex and the Historical Novelist” panel that Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray and I created for our triple-author appearance in April
5. I hit my all-time high Amazon ranking for The Sister Queens in trade paperback on my twelve-week anniversary! Looks like buzz is building sales even if The Sister Queens is not a “new release” anymore.
6. High fives, hand-holding and the occasional shoulder as needed from fellow writers make a solitary profession less so. I’ve never been in a more supportive profession. From the marvelous writers whose blurbs grace The Sister Queen’s cover, to the twenty-nine fellow members of my debut author group, Book Pregnant, the past thirteen weeks have been full of fellow writers willing to lend an ear or a hand as I navigated my debut. Talk about renewed faith in mankind.
7. Team Sophie rocked the postcards. Team Sophie is made up of readers who signed on to share their enthusiasm about The Sister Queens. Their first mission was mailing a few custom postcards to recommend the novel to friends. Team S, you all made a serious dent in my pile of postcards 🙂 and I don’t doubt for a moment that the buzz you generated caused an uptick in sales.
8. Book clubs made me feel welcome. I am now a book-club veteran with both live and skype appearances under my belt (here’s a picture of the Georgia club that provided my first skype date). A chance to discuss the themes and characters in my novel—that’s like chocolate, red wine and good sex all rolled into one. Bless you book clubs. Bless you.
9. My wip (work in progress) feeds my need. Sometimes I love it. Other times . . . it makes me feel like I am trapped under something heavy. But the truth is I can’t live without the magical time-traveling rush I get from writing. So I am happy for my current manuscript which keeps me cocooned in the 16th century.
10. My family reminds me there are more important things in life than how many words I write each day. When the muse doesn’t cooperate and I descend from my office grumpy and fershimmeled the faces of my husband and children remind me the day is still a success in other, more important, ways. And when the muse does cooperate and I forget about making dinner, I am grateful that my family rolls with it (generally) without complaint.
11. The twenty-five readers who reviewed The Sister Queens on Amazon, and the many more who reviewed it on Goodreads took the time to make a difference. You have powerful voices and help others make reading and purchasing decisions. Particularly at Amazon your numbers move algorithms, influencing how often and where my book is recommended to other visitors. Thanks!
12. Nearly 300 people have “liked” either my book page or my author page at Facebook 🙂
13. My agent and my editor had faith in me (and in The Sister Queens). That faith permitted me to step on the roller-coaster that is publication. It’s been a wild ride so far, but I haven’t thrown up yet! That’s something isn’t it?
Here’s to the next thirteen weeks with all their triumphs and trials!
I’ve been tagged by author, Erika Robuck, whose novel Hemingway’s Girl will be out this September with NAL (same imprint as The Sister Queens). To play the game, she instructed me to do the following:
1. Go to the 77th page of my latest book (or wip – author’s choice).
2. Count down 7 lines.
3. Copy the 7 sentences that follow, and post them as a teaser.
4. Tag 7 other authors.
In this scene from The Sister Queens, Eleanor of Provence’s brother-in-law, the Earl Richard, returns to the English royal court furious over the secret marriage of his sister to Simon de Montfort. The Earl confronts King Henry III during court festivities, interrupting Eleanor and Henry while they are dancing. Without further ado, here are seven sentences (or thereabouts) from the 77th page of The Sister Queens:
Her welfare? If that is all that worries you, be done. Lady Montfort is quite abundantly happy with her situation.” For the first time Henry looks in my direction. “Is that not so Eleanor? Our sister writes to the Queen glowingly of her new husband.”
“This is not a fanciful troubadour’s romance! It is a royal marriage! It ought not to be managed by women.”
My Uncle, silent himself, gives me a meaningful look, warning me to hold my tongue.
Now, I’ll tag 7 brilliant authors to give us teasers of their own:
4. Erin Cashman
5. Mindy McGinnis
7. Lydia Netzer
Visit their websites in the next few days to get a peek into their latest work and discover who they’ll tag in turn. Nothing like a little game to start the weekend.
You’ve read my blog. You’ve read my book. Now I’d love to meet you.
On April 21st I’ll be joining the fabulous and talented Kate Quinn (Mistress of Rome, Daughters of Rome, & Empress of the Seven Hills) and Stephanie Dray (Lily of the Nile & Song of the Nile) for a “literary threesome” in theWashingtonDC metropolitan area.
Come on out to hear us discuss Sex, Lies and History, and make the acquaintance of some amazing historical women—Cleopatra’s daughter; a host of patrician Roman women (including an empress and the daughter of a Senator); and, of course, my pair of 13th century Provencal sisters who became the queens ofFrance andEngland. In addition to a lively panel discussion, all three of us will be signing books. It’s a triple historical fiction treat!
Here are the details:
Date: April 21st
Time: 1-3 p.m.
Location: Barnes & Noble,Spectrum Center, 1851 Fountain Drive, Reston, VA20190