Deb Kerry had a lot of fun today signing books at the Spokane Valley Barnes & Noble, but mostly she’s just excited about a new writing project. And Deb Amy’s launch, because nothing is cooler than a book birthday.
Deb Susan received a great review from Publisher’s Weekly, who said “Spann matches period detail with a well-developed whodunit plot in her promising debut.” Hooray!
Deb Amy is officially a published author! Is there any better news than that?
Past Deb News
Deb Mia King is appearing at the Hawaii Book and Music Festival today at 2pm. Details here.
Deb Dish – What’s your favorite cover art (aside from your own)!
Deb Amy: Okay, I’m not playing favorites, but I will say that I love the cover of THE KITCHEN DAUGHTER by Jael McHenry. I wish I could hang it up in my kitchen. Take a peek here! And I not only love the cover, I loved the book.
Deb Kerry: I don’t have a favorite cover. There are so many that I love. The most recent one that I’ve fallen in love with is The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
Deb Susan: This is a hard one! I’m going to say my favorite cover is the one on the book I get to read next … because it’s the one hiding the next awesome adventure!
Your Turn!! What book cover do you consider your favorite?
… for my imaginary book club! I’m not in any real book clubs because I’m terrible at it. I only read the books I pick myself, and even when someone else’s pick sound terrific, I tend to buy the book and forget about it until the night before, at which point I read the book club questions in the back in a frenzy planning to fake it. Then at the actual club I walk in and the second thing out of my mouth is a confession that I didn’t read the book, because the book club questions make no sense to me and faking it would be futile.
This surprises absolutely no one who knows me. I will read the books in my life in the order I see fit, and if that means I’ve read two serial killer thrillers before getting to that Pulitzer Prize winner, so be it. Does anyone want to start a book club with me to discuss the books we were actually reading when we were supposed to be reading our book club books?
If I were in a book club I would want the trio of best friends from THE GLASS WIVES, Evie, Laney and Beth, to be in my club too. They are fun and funny and seem to have excellent taste in men, clothes, and especially cookies. And they are powerfully and sometimes painfully honest with one another, which would make for a lively club discussion. We would probably never get to the sanctioned back-of-the-book questions, though. Too many other things to gossip about.
Today, in honor of Deb Amy’s big launch, I’m going to suggest some ‘book club questions for the rest of us’ for THE GLASS WIVES. Sure, there are great and thought-provoking book club questions at the end of the book itself and plenty of things to chew on from the story, things that will really get your brain going. But what if you don’t want to provoke that much thought? As always, when it comes to not thinking too much, I am here for you.
To follow along, you’ll need to know the general thrust of the story, and so I give you The Jacket Copy to start us off:
Evie and Nicole Glass share a last name. They also shared a husband.
When a tragic car accident ends the life of Richard Glass, it also upends the lives of Evie and Nicole, and their children. There’s no love lost between the widow and the ex. In fact, Evie sees a silver lining in all this heartache—the chance to rid herself of Nicole once and for all. But Evie wasn’t counting on her children’s bond with their baby half-brother, and she wasn’t counting on Nicole’s desperate need to hang on to the threads of family, no matter how frayed. Strapped for cash, Evie cautiously agrees to share living expenses—and her home—with Nicole and the baby. But when Evie suspects that Nicole is determined to rearrange more than her kitchen, Evie must decide who she can trust. More than that, she must ask: what makes a family?
Or, to put it another way, there’s this woman, Evie, whose husband has recently left her for the younger and blonder Nicole, and fathered a kid with her, and then boom, had the gall to kick the bucket, leaving them all somewhat adrift, emotionally and fiscally. And Evie has these two friends, see, who help in some ways and hinder in others. And they all have to renegotiate everything they thought they knew about each other. And there are cookies.
Everyone up to speed? Great! Then I present:
Deb Kelly’s Book Club Questions for the rest of us!
(Don’t forget to comment and get your chance to win a free copy of the book… answering one of these questions gets you brownie points if not bonus points in the sweepstakes…)
1. If you could steal the life of one of the characters in THE GLASS WIVES, which would it be?
2. Does this book pair better with red or white wine? Why? And does anyone have any red or white wine?
3. What food item in the book do you most wish you had a recipe for? What food in the book would you never ever eat? Hint: there is chopped liver in the book.
4. Have you ever lived in a place like Evie’s idyllic Chicago suburb? Would you love or hate having your neighbors know your bidness?
5. Which character (dead or alive) from the book would you be happiest to drop off at a distant bus stop and never come back for? What about which real-life neighbor?
6. Which is a worse quality in a friend: being too nosy or being too secretive?
7. Which are you?
8. Could you ever befriend an ex’s new squeeze? Have you? Would you always be secretly looking for their flaws/trying to feed them fattening food, or is that just me?
Rejection sucks. Big time. I’m pretty sure we can all agree on that. But the truth is, nobody gets through this life without experiencing it somewhere along the way, no matter how rich or beautiful or talented you might happen to be.
Everybody’s been there. Some other kid gets the part you wanted in the school play. Another candidate is selected for the job. The person you are sure is your True Love and Divinely Ordained Soulmate loves somebody else. Every time it happens, it hurts. Some of us take it more or less in stride. Others of us take every rejection deeply to heart, sure that it means we are deeply flawed and somehow not worthy to be here on this planet.
Here are two sadly twisted truths of the universe:
1. A lot of people who are born with the need to write are sensitive souls who are devastated by rejection.
2. Writing professionally guarantees a constant onslaught of rejection.
If you are a writer and you have not yet experienced rejection of your writing, then either your work is hidden away somewhere or you’ve only showed it to people who love you deeply. If you expand your horizons, it’s inevitable that you’re going to come up against people that just don’t like your work. And for a lot of us, this feels very much like they don’t like us. Or like they think our kids are stupid and ugly, which is worse.
When I was at the querying stage, I believed that once I managed to unlock the Magical Agent Gates the horrible, soul curdling rejections would never happen again. I dreamed of making a pyre of those rejection slips and dancing around it with glee while I erased all memory of the people who didn’t love my writing. Maybe roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, even. Oh all right, my rejection accumulation wasn’t that big, but if I include all of the rejections over all of the years – for the picture book attempts, and the poetry, and the other novels – it was a significant accumulation.
My fairy godmother finally waved her magic wand and I got an agent and a publisher in one fell swoop. This gave me some nice recovery time to heal and prepare for the next round. During that time I watched agented friends go Out On Submission. This is the publishing version of the Hunger Games, in which your agent sends your beloved book out to make the rounds of publishing houses. And you sit behind your computer screen watching other writers achieve brilliant publishing contracts while editors make polite excuses as to why your wonderful, polished, perfect book isn’t a good fit for them.
If the stars line up and you work very hard and sacrifice the right kind of chicken on a full moon Sunday to the appropriate god or goddess – you get that publishing deal and your book is released and makes its way into the big wide world. Oh Frabjous Day! Great Joy and Wonderment and celebratory occasions. Surely now all of that rejection stuff is past.
But no. Now there are Real World Readers and Reviewers who do not like your book. Who might even say callous and heartless things like, “this book is a hot mess” or “the plot is ludicrous,” or “I didn’t finish it, I couldn’t connect with any of the characters.”
Once again, rejection.
This will happen – I don’t care how brilliant you are as an author. And it’s up to you to find a way to handle it. I’ve only found a couple of things that work for me.
1. Hands off the keyboard until you are calm and rational. Don’t fall into the trap of emailing the rejecting agent to tell them how stupid they are for turning down your masterpiece. Don’t share your weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth with everybody on your Twitterfeed. And really – don’t post rants on Goodreads or your blog or wherever about specific reviewers who didn’t like your book. It’s a free country; they have the right of free speech.
2. Do find a couple of trusted people to whom you can rant and vent and express your feelings. Make sure they are the sort of people who will support and encourage you.
3. Set limits on your despair. Allow yourself a couple of hours or maybe even a day to wallow in your misery. And then suck it up. Wash your face. Comb your hair. Put away the chocolate and the ice cream and wipe up the counter. Which leads us to Number Four, the single most important way to deal with rejection as a writer:
4: Write Something New. Yep. This is, I believe, the cure. Writers write, pure and simple. And if you’re busy writing the next thing, you have little emotional energy available for worrying about what people think about the last thing. Of course, once you’re done with the next thing, somebody is going to reject it again, which means you’re going to have to write yet another thing. And so it goes. The Cycle of the Writerly Life.
Yeah, now I can almost hear the soundtrack from the Lion King playing, but instead of that I leave you with a clip from Willy Wonka. (Not that any rejected writer would ever behave in this way. Uh uh. No Sirree Bob)
I’m not an especially religious person (unless you count science as a religion) but with this week’s topic being about waiting right in the midst of Passover, the week of Palm Sunday and Good Friday, my mind does turn to spiritual matters. I’m a wildly impatient person and the thought of having to sit around waiting for the 10th plague to pass or waiting for history’s first frenemy to betray me to the Romans puts my irritation with the amount of time it takes my toddler to eat a single scrambled egg into perspective.
When it comes to waiting in the publishing gig, I short-circuited the worst wait (submission) for this debut novel I keep talking about (The Good Luck Girls of Something Something…) by doubling that process up with waiting for BLB to be born. He came early, thoughtful boy, and the book itself sold right around when his due date was supposed to be. I don’t remember it very well. I was so crazed by breastfeeding insanity and postpartum ouch that when my agent called to tell me about an early bid, I actually answered the phone saying, “I am completely topless and sitting on a doughnut right now; what do you need?” (Someone remind me to send her flowers on my pub day.)
In other words, it could be said that I have not had the proper experience of waiting, waiting, waiting for the phone to ring. It has been said.
But here is a secret I have confided to very few people: when I first started out writing I attempted to write a straight up romance novel. Apparently I wasn’t that good at it. But I wasn’t bad enough to get turned down quickly. I would submit, wait a month, two, three, get kind editorial letters, revise painstakingly, and then submit again, rinse and repeat. One time I waited six months for a read, and got… yep, another editorial letter. I did this again and again, for several kind editors, and never got past the revision letters. (The romance business works a bit differently than the rest of publishing, in that you can knock directly on the door of the publisher instead of needing to secure an agent first–if you are up for the bald rejection and long wait times.) The take away from this is that 1. romance novels are incredibly hard to write well, and 2. oh, I’ve waited, all right. The whole process took years. It chiseled away at me, filled me with doubt, and eventually, taught me how to wait.
I learned to meditate, to distract myself with elaborate pursuits, to keep my head down, to scream in frustration and still keep going, and overall, I learned the fundamental truth behind a saying that became my mantra during that time: A slow yes is better than a fast no.
But most of all, I learned that every now and then, a quick yes is pretty freaking amazing.
Sometimes, in the middle of a conversation, people look at me and ask, “How on earth did you get to that topic?” And I’m equally surprised by their inability to follow my logic. It’s taken me awhile to understand that not everybody’s brain flips into the Word Association Game at the drop of an interesting word or turn of phrase.
Throw a word out there and my brain chases it like one of those little terrier dogs after a ball.
This week, the topic I was given to blog on is simply this: Green
And here is what happened in my head:
Followed by this:
And then this:
Before realizing that the topic is because of St. Patrick’s Day and I’m supposed to be thinking about this:
Your turn: where does your brain go when presented with the word Green? Play fair now – what is your first thought?
Samantha Wilde is the author of I’ll Take What She Has and This Little Mommy Stayed Home. The at-home mother of three small children, she moonlights as a minister and a yoga teacher. She is the graduate of Smith College and Yale Divinity School and the daughter of novelist Nancy Thayer.
In I’ll Take What She Has, Nora and Annie have been best friends since kindergarten. Nora, a shy English teacher at a quaint New England boarding school, longs to have a baby. Annie, an outspoken stay-at-home mother of two, longs for one day of peace and quiet (not to mention more money and some free time). Despite their very different lives, nothing can come between them—until Cynthia Cypress arrives on campus.
Cynthia has it all: brains, beauty, impeccable style, and a gorgeous husband (who happens to be Nora’s ex). When Cynthia eagerly befriends Nora, Annie’s oldest friendship is tested. Now, each woman must wrestle the green-eyed demon of envy and, in the process, confront imperfect, mixed-up family histories they don’t want to repeat. Amid the hilarious and harried straits of friendship, marriage, and parenthood, the women may discover that the greenest grass is right beneath their feet.
Sam takes the Deb Interview with us today. Thanks for joining us, Sam! Tell us, which animal would you like to be, and why?
You only need to come to my house to find out the answer to this one! I have quite a collection of frogs (none alive). I find a frog, contrary to popular opinion, not a slimy bit of a thing, but elegant and inspirational. I love how a tadpole becomes a frog. The idea of metamorphosis appeals to me (and was a prominent part of one of the early drafts of I’ll Take What She Has. It’s still in there, but more subtle). I’m fascinated by the possibility of something changing so completely and yet simultaneously remaining internally the same. There’s a moment when a tadpole hasn’t quite become a frog when it has legs and a tail. It’s my sense that life is so much like a frog process! We are always becoming and if we allow for it, we really can transform into a new creature.
Do you have a regular ‘first reader’? If so, who is it and why that person?
My mother, novelist Nancy Thayer, has been a first reader for me for almost as long as I can remember. I don’t know how she does it, actually. I think it must be hard to deliver effective criticism to your own adult child, yet she does it. She was the first one to look at the first pages of This Little Mommy Stayed Home. “This is the one,” she said. Of course, she was right! I have sent her material that she doesn’t like or enjoy. She’ll go over the manuscript with me page by page, taking a break from editing one of her own novels. We don’t have the same voice. I’m more of a comic novelist. But I know I’ve done something right when my mother laughs. I’m pretty lucky to have her because she knows me, she knows writing and she knows the publishing industry.
Which talent do you wish you had?
Oh, I wish I could dance. Really dance. Up on the stage, applause at the end kind of dance. Dance has weaved its way through my life in so many different forms. As an older child and a tween I studied ballet quite seriously up until I discovered (after they measured my bones!) that not even my formidable starvation would change the shape of my body to turn me into a proper ballerina. Later, as a teenager and in my early twenties, I found dance clubs. I would go for hours. I can still remember standing on a six foot tall black speaker at a club in Urbana, Illinois wearing my Doc Martens and tee-shirt over a long sleeve shirt (so the fashion, then) wild with dance. Sometimes I think I became a yoga teacher because practicing yoga gives me the same sense of abandon and joy. If fulfills that desire to move, to move lyrically, to be embodied, and find freedom in the body. I dance with my children all the time, all kinds of ways, all kinds of music. They laugh at me. We laugh at each other. It’s pure joy.
What is your advice for aspiring writers?
Write your heart out. Put everything you go through into your work. Don’t write for an audience—not yet. Write what’s coming out of you that you can’t keep inside. Sometimes, when I need to write, I can almost feel myself, like a volcano about to burst. Then, once I’ve written, some of the work gets read by others, some doesn’t. In the end, the process counts. It has to count. It has to be its own reward for each of us. It’s simple, of course, to say write because you love to write. But simple things are the best kind, aren’t they? Don’t worry what becomes of your work, not while you write. Think of that tadpole. The transformation happens first to the writer. If we get lucky and our book finds readers, it may happen for them also, but it doesn’t need to. Writing is a kind of alchemy, and the writer is the first, and often the only, recipient of the magic.
Magic indeed. We’re so glad Samantha Wilde joined us at the ball today and shared these insights. To learn more about her, visit her website, watch her book trailer, and go like her on facebook. Her status updates are fantastic!
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