Monday, October 24, 2016

Jolly Fish Press Closes (kind of) and SONGBYRD Goes AWOL

I've been avoiding this.

But I promised a post by the end of the week, and now it's the start of the next week, and I feel like a
heel if I keep stalling.

If you follow me on Facebook, or follow JFP on Twitter, then you likely know by now that my publisher, Jolly Fish Press, has announced it is closing.

Of course, this very public announcement was swiftly followed by a series of tweets and vagaries hinting at a possible life raft, though that has yet to be confirmed. There is a host of speculation, surprise investors or a buyout, but only time will tell. Well, that and their Twitter feed. Because if you have been following their Twitter feed, then you may have caught on to the fact that many of the authors found out through the same social media routes as the general public. JFP has apologized for this oversight, but as one of the authors who was blindsided, I can assure you that it didn't make it sting any less.

Part of my reluctance to post this week was that I didn't want to come online and whine at you about this, the latest in a series of disappointments that have pockmarked my writing career. Though, if I've learned anything, it's that you don't get a flawless writing career, pockmarks come with the territory. I wanted to wait until I had good news to share, or at least something more definitive for you about SONGBYRD's future.

But at this point in time, a lot still remains to be seen. I can tell you my agent is on it like Donkey Kong. And really, she's among the Donkey Kongiest of literary agents around. (I'm not sure that last sentence makes any sense at all.) And I can tell you that there's a lot of reason to hope this will turn out well for SONGBYRD. And I can tell you that all the tarot readings I've done on this issue, and I've done plenty, are pointing to good things. But I still can't tell you what those things are. Not yet.

You'll have to bear with me.

That said, I'd like to eulogize my publisher of the last year. Though we didn't get to travel long together, I am grateful for the company. Writing is lonely work. The opportunities I get to share it with someone are like gold to me. My editor at JFP was phenomenal, full of vision and encouragement. She will be sorely missed. And anyone who is willing to take a chance on my work is someone who's made a positive impact in my life. For that alone, I am sincerely thankful. JFP was a small press, but they made a sizeable splash in their time, and it's always sad to see a reputable publisher close its doors. Fewer publishers means fewer books and less diversity in the market. And that is truly a tragedy for all mankind.


I wish you all the best. May your investors have deep pockets, should they choose to carry on your good name. And may the authors who remain, as well as those who move on to greener--or at least equally green--pastures, meet with big royalties, high rankings, great reviews, and enthusiastic readers.

*dabs at eyes with tissue*

With that out of the way, I'll sign off for a bit. But remember, keep posting reviews of SONGBYRD while it's up. Amazon will save and relink those for me. EVERY REVIEW COUNTS.

As soon as I have further news about SONGBYRD's future whereabouts, I'll post an update.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About SONGBYRD

1. The original title was FREQUENCY.

In my initial draft, SONGBYRD had a bit stronger sci-fi + action/spy vibe, and the working title was Frequency, which fit that tone. But my dedicated editor fell in love with the women of SONGBYRD and their family history, convincing me that playing that side of the story up would serve it better in the end. The revised, final edition with its gothic undertones and mythological foundation begged for a new title. We brainstormed and threw some ideas out there to see if they'd stick. In the end, Songbyrd won out.

2. Tempest was not a character in the original draft.

My original antagonist was male, older, and related to Innocence in a totally different way (10 points if you can guess who it was!). Revising SONGBYRD led to the birth of one of my favorite characters, Tempest. Restless and deviant, she represents everything Innocence fears about being a Siren. She owns the predatory nature of their lineage and has allowed her shadow side to fully take over, making her a delightful character to write.

3. Stonetop is not a real place, but the Texas Hill Country is.

My parents lived in a little Hill Country town called Blanco for many, many years. When I was looking for a place to set SONGBYRD, I was tired of the Houston setting, which is where I live and therefore easiest to write about. I wanted something different, something that would create a stark contrast to the moody ocean landscape Sirens have long been associated with. The Hill Country came to mind and seemed perfect. With it's decade-long drought and arid landscape, it fit the bill. Plus, after countless weekends there, I could write about it as easily as I would my own city. But I decided a fictional town was best. So Stonetop was born.

4. Summon was inspired by a real name.

My daughters had a friend named Summon (same pronunciation, different spelling), and I thought it would make a wonderful character name, but spelled like the verb. That was the beginning of the names of the Byrd women. After Summon, I decided they all needed to have similar names that hinted at their underlying personas. Of course, Innocence's name was intended to be contradictory, just like her past.

5. Originally, Dalliance disappeared of her own volition.

In the original version, Dalliance wasn't taken into custody for the death of Ray, but chose to turn herself in to a mystery antagonist in order to protect her daughter, leaving Innocence alone and abandoned. Likewise, she doesn't get returned to Innocence in the end, but remains aloof as the story closes with Innocence and Summon hunting her down.

Click here to buy SONGBYRD now.
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