Here's the word onThe River's Memory. Many review copies are out to reviewers. The meeting with the website designer went quite well. I've written a decent draft of the book group guide which meant I was pretty much interviewing my own dang self which was odd. And so far I have four book events scheduled for the fall. Best I can tell, this is some sort of sweet spot before it gets real what with reviews coming in or not, positive or not, and sales happening or not and finding out if any book festival anywhere wants me and maybe no one will come to the launch party (It's probably on August 16th, just so you know.)
The advanced readers copies of The River's Memory are scattered out into the world, and now (my nerves are wracked) we wait for those first reviews. In the meantime, here's a preview of the acknowledgements page.
"The generosity of strangers—that's what any writer who does research knows about. My generous strangers include the staff of the SilverRiverMuseum, the MarionCountyHistoryMuseum, the MathesonMuseum, and the libraries of AlachuaCounty and the University of Florida. I also have to thank the people who make Ocali Country Days such a grand celebration of the area's diverse history. And whoever it was who put those oral histories of Ocala online—you should write your own book.
I'm also lucky enough to live in a community of friends, a lot of them lesbians, some not, some writers, some not, who have supported me in all the ways there are to support a person. So to those who bring me birthday presents of ink cartridges and reams of paper or just straight out give me money for writers residencies, to the dog sitters and apple pie bakers, to the writers who squeal with me at each small success, to the ones who drag me out of the house to have fun, to those who edit draft after draft of manuscript after manuscript—thank you, all of you, for the unrelenting belief in my work, in me. And to the monthly Lesbian Readers Group and Potluck, thank you for the twenty-six years of listening.
Much of this novel was written propped up in various beds at a variety of writing retreats. The bed in the back of my wheelchair-lift van was parked at the EvergladesNational Park as well as the Silver Springs, Collier-Seminole, Little Talbot Island, Kissimmee and Paynes Prairie Preserves and the Ochlockonee and MyakkaRiversState Parks. I'd recline into my pillows with the van's back doors thrown open and write for days while bobolinks scurried past or turkeys scratched around the tires. I procrastinated by watching cinnamon ferns unfurl or alligators lounge in the mud. Thank you to all the rangers, volunteers, and activists who love and protect these natural places. The beds at the Corporation of Yaddo and the AtlanticCenter for the Arts came with food and a long tradition of support, and saying thank you to them will never be enough. My bed at home, under live oaks and palms, is my, well, I was going to say bedrock, and perhaps I just will.
Finally, Joan Leggitt, editor extraordinaire, had this dream of starting an independent literary press. And here we are. I'm so proud to be part of Twisted Road Publication's debut year."
Joan and I made changes until the very last moment, but the PDF of the ARC is off to the printer now. Soon we'll be holding the physical book, with that fresh ink smell, in our hands. Then it's on to the next phase of things - blurbs, pre-publication reviews, and a website.
My publisher and I have been discussing this. In these times of e-readers and posts on the internet when does that celebratory moment happen? The old-fashioned working definition is that a manuscript becomes a book when it's bound, so that's what we're going with. Which means, if you count the ARCs ("Advanced Reader Copy" - uncorrected versions put out six months ahead of time to get reviews and blurbs and such) then my manuscript will become a book sometime in the next four weeks.
I'm thinking it's going to be a happy new year.
Ella Fitzgerald sang it best, but hum along as I announce that my novel, THE RIVER'S MEMORY, will be published in the Fall of 2014 (in publishing time this is soon) by Twisted Road Publications. Dang, after all these years, it's so weird to write those words. And look, a book cover. That gives me the good kind of shivers.
Well, more, much more, later. For now, let's just celebrate.
In 2009, I finished a collection of interwoven short stories and thus started the years of submissions. Never, not once, despite a few close-but-no-cigar rejections, has a single word ended up published. I've given up many times - said that's that and mourned. But a call for submissions would catch my attention, so I'd format a piece and once again press "send." I mean, why not?
And now, four years later, in the past two months, two of the stories have won contests. In a Chamber of My Heart took first place in the 2013 Saints and Sinners Short Fiction Contest and Half-Boy came in second for Big Fiction's 2013 Knickerbocker Prize. What is going on? Why now? It's a curiosity. And a thrill. I'm remembering that eager author from 2009 with her fresh manuscript and her wild hope. Perhaps I'll dust her off.
My story "In a Chamber of My Heart" was chosen by Felice Picano as the winner of the Saints and Sinner Short Fiction Contest. Which means, among many things, that I get to read at the opening night fundraiser of Saints and Sinners, A LGBT Literary Festival, and that my story, along with the runner-ups 'Nathan Burgoine and Vince Sgambati and all the other finalists, will be published together in an anthology from Bold Stroke Books. (Available for pre-order now.) Oh, and I'll be going to New Orleans for the first time ever.
So far, this sixtieth year of my life is going quite well.