Reviews and ARCS and Appearances....
This week represented a pretty significant milestone for Ordination: Book I of The Paladin Trilogy.
I got my first review, from Publisher's Weekly. You can read it here. They liked it! They call it promising, single out characters and dialogue, two things I work really, really hard on. I'm not gonna lie; this was pretty exciting, and I must've read the paragraph two or three dozen times by now. I know I should probably be acting cool and composed about it, acting like I've been here before, tempering my enthusiasm...but you know what?
I haven't been here before. This is my first novel, I've been working on it since August of 2011, and getting a good review right out of the gate from a big publication felt great.
I only let it feel great for a day, though, and went right back to working on Stillbright: Book II of The Paladin Trilogy which is now in the developmental/copy edit stage. I'm not going to bore you with craft talk (I'll do that some other time) but this is easily the most difficult part for me. It's no longer in the fun, creative, anything-can-happen-and-who-knows-what-it'll-be-stage. It's a real thing that I'm working on with other people, with expectations, with professionals involved. Thankfully they're brilliant (just like they were with Ordination) and working with them makes me a better writer and produces a better book. But it's harder than just writing; it takes more care, more precision, more cooperation.
Also making sure every character's got the same color horse and the same color of eyes and nobody changes their handedness or other salient features across a 500 page novel isn't the easiest task in the world. And now's the time where I've got to make sure it's all getting neatly sewn together. Details; they're evil, but also the most important part of any craft or art, if you ask me (a theory I might expound on later if you're willing to listen).
So a good review is great, but the thing I can control is how hard I work on the next book. So that's what I'll focus on.
By the way, I'm still looking for opportunities for appearances; I'm booked the weekend of April 9, May 21, and October 8. Some other dates, I'm hoping, will get blocked off soon. But there is no convention, no book festival, no gathering of fellow writers, readers, and nerds (I use this word out of love; I am a nerd) I can drive to that I'll turn my nose up at.
I still have Advance Reader Copies of Ordination to give away, so if you're a blogger, podcaster, librarian, bookseller, reviewer, or just someone who wants to stand on a corner, real or otherwise, and shout about my book, get in touch!
Oh, and while I'm linking things, check out the latest issue of the SFWP Quarterly, wherein yours truly is interviewed, along with fellow spring 2016 fiction writers and GMU MFA alums Tara Laskowski and Brandon Wicks. If you want a little peek into how the Paladin sausage is made (it involves a roomful of action figures, earbuds, and a lot of swearing) or what I've been reading, give it a look.