Tag Archives: Gathering Grace

New review for Gathering Grace!

7 Oct

A new review is out for Gathering Grace from the Midwest Book Review. On their Fantasy/SciFi Shelf, it is written:

“Growing up brings a lot of new things including new responsibilities, new privileges — and new superpowers? “Gathering Grace” is a fantasy set in modern times as Grace uncovers deeply held family secrets. Unknown relatives, the risks of her new abilities and how to use them responsibility, these are what Grace must deal with. But as all teenagers know, sometimes responsibilities aren’t always followed and rules are sometimes broken. A coming of age tale set in the real world with a unique fantasy twist, “Gathering Grace” is very highly recommended to young adult fantasy readers everywhere.”

Oh, yay! I feel like celebrating. I think I need to do a brand-new kind of happy dance. Glee!


The Writing War

27 Aug

I got a rejection letter with a bonus today. It was a company to which I had applied to work writing some documentation; while I didn’t make their final cut for interviews, the person who wrote the email said that the intriguing reviews of my novel inspired her to order it. So one more sale, though one fewer job opportunity.

But what’s the real message I should take away? On the one hand, it’s easy to get discouraged. People are finicky in what they want to read. Most of writing is a solitary endeavor; there’s not much feedback as I’m actually doing the work. It’s not social, or easy, or secure. Success is far more often a function of marketing than artistry, and the market is cutthroat. There’s the perpetual question, too, of “so what have you written lately?”

On the other hand, even though someone wasn’t interested enough to interview me (and boy, do I interview well!), my resume was strong enough to merit research. She had to follow at least one link-within-link, if not two, to read the reviews of Grace. And now one more person is reading it. So I wasn’t the top choice for the job, but who knows whom I was up against? I’m marketing one book against millions of novels, and with one more person I’ve won this particular round.

I think it is not a coincidence that wars and marketing are both waged as campaigns. The message I will take away: It is not the individual sale, large or small, but the accumulation of battles won that makes the difference. One more sale, one more order, one more review.

Today, I’ve got one more – and always one more – book to write.

Brick and mortar, here I come!

22 Aug

Gathering Grace has made its debut in a real brick and mortar store: Balderdash Books and Art, a small independent Seattle (Greenwood neighborhood) bookseller, has a few copies to sell! And it’s just a few doors down from the Wayward, where I’ll be reading from it next Friday evening (August 29th.)

So if you’re in the Puget Sound area: Go! Support a local business *and* a local author, simultaneously!

Public Reading by the Cape and Cowl Collective

19 Aug
The Cape and Cowl Collective

The Cape and Cowl Collective

Did you know I’m a co-founder? It’s true – author Nathan Crowder and I have joined forces to create the Cape and Cowl Collective. It’s a group for those who write, read, and support fiction with Superhero themes, like my Gathering Grace. Nathan and I will be reading from our novels August 29th at 8pm at the Wayward Coffeehouse – please join us!

Post One: Torreybird’s a Writer

14 Aug

“There’s no secret handshake.”

This is the phrase that most sticks with me from my first professional event as an author. I had written a novel, gotten it published, and now I’m trying to get people interested in it. Gathering Grace has its own website, it’s listed on Amazon, and available from bookstores and the publisher – but it’s not enough! Not by a long shot.

I’m finding that selling the book is harder than writing it.  Gathering Grace’s independent publisher has a respectable non-fiction catalogue, but Grace is their first novel. It’s been a learning process all around! Reviewers would have preferred to see it pre-publication. Some booksellers wonder why they’ve never heard of it before. Others are having trouble getting it from the distributor. Some think the cover is poorly produced, and others wonder where to shelve it: with SF? Fantasy? YA? Adult?

There is a definite limit on what I can do. The distribution issues are up to the publisher. I can promote to different reviewers, but it is up to them to read, enjoy, and write about my book. I can do readings, signings, attend conventions and conferences, write this blog… and get the book in front of people as often as possible. If people enjoy it, terrific! Hopefully they’ll recommend it to their friends, give it as a gift, and review it on a public site (like Amazon or GoodReads.)

But there is still “no secret handshake” when it comes to being a successful author. So what can I do? Well, all of the above – but that leaves out the most important part. I started writing because I love to write. Grace was written as part of NaNoWriMo 2006, at a time when I desperately needed to be doing something I loved. My next novel was written in 2007 – and it’s terrible, and part of it I wrote in a post-surgical haze of pain and medication. (It is still in hiding, dreadfully ashamed of itself.) As I write this post, I’m working on a SF novel involving interplanetary travel, a disaffected chemistry teacher, and an alien wall.

Why SF (science fiction)? Because my earliest experience with novels was the “juvenile” novels of Robert Heinlein, and I’ve never lost my taste for them. Sometimes, it’s easier to tell a good story when the reader has already suspended disbelief. Sometimes, it’s easier to reveal a truth when it’s surrounded by the comforting cocoon of this can’t happen here.

More importantly, though: when I go to read a book, I want a story. I don’t want high-falutin’ narratives, or vivid descriptions of undulating hills (see Thomas Hardy), or most fiction that I’ve had handed to me as “literature.” I want dialogue, action, and character transformation. Often, I want heroes and villains and the compromises that each will make. Relationships, opportunities, and conflicts drive the plots, and there should be a satisfying ending – even if it makes me cry. So that’s what I try to write, when I’m writing fiction.

So what will be in this blog? Here’s the plan:

  • Progress notes on my current project(s), when the story is soaring or crashing
  • New ideas about what might make it into a story, someday
  • Answers to questions like, “Doesn’t Heisenberg preclude…?” or “What would be involved in marketing to both YA and adults, simultaneously?”
  • News about when, where, and how I’ll be making professional public appearances
  • Thoughts on current bookly and writerly happenings
  • (Perhaps I should include thoughts on the misuse of “-ly” in adjective creation…)

I’m planning on writing at least weekly, if not more frequently. Please feel free to email (torreybird at gmail), visit my other websites (www.torreybird.com, www.gatheringgracebook.com), and comment on posts.

Thank you for reading,

and please buy my book,

Victoria “Torrey” Newcomb