It’s what they call timing…

On Wednesday I penned the last lines of the sequel to “Seven Turns” (working title: “Moonlight and Moss“.) Looking at my Twitter feed in retrospect, I found it a bit remarkable that this happened at about the same time as the Launch Party for Seven Turns, and I wonder, now: is it just me, or if there really is some kind of synergistic synchronicity that happens when we write, whether or not we are aware of it?

Probably it’s just me noticing things that happen to be coincidental if you look at them in a specific light. (You may recall my blue funk, about this time last year, over the passing of the mighty Gregg Allman at about the same time I was penning the dénouement to Seven Turns.)

The fact is, I am making a deliberate effort to have this arc of stories about Woodley, USA come out approximately one year apart. I still lave loads of editing and adjusting to do, and then the beta reader phase to go through, and then the very special hell of appealing to agents and publishers to please, please, please take on Moonlight and Moss as a project but, considering how crazy my life has become since the publication of Seven Turns, I’m really only a couple of months behind the curve here. As any writer will tell you: a novel takes exactly as long as it needs to take to be completed: no more, no less. I think this little coincidence is a definite sign that I am at least almost sort of meeting that goal!

And, after all, this is part of why I started keeping a blog and a Twitter feed and a Facebook in the first place: to document the history of this contribution of mine to the world of literature, so that I and perhaps others might look back someday and say, “Oh, hey, did you realize…?”

As the equally (perhaps, someday) mighty Johnny Sinatra has lyricized: “I’ve seen it a thousand times before – it’s what they call timing.”

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Launch Party

Kay Watley (editor of the Gray Area News and author of Making Corrections) and I at the Literacy Day event at the Zebulon Farm Fresh Market

Kay Watley (editor of the Gray Area News and author of Making Corrections) and I at the Literacy Day event at the Zebulon Farm Fresh Market

I thought I didn’t like “Marketing,” and maybe I don’t, but seriously, the marketing and networking stuff I’ve been doing lately doesn’t feel like work at all. I’ve been meeting so many wonderful people, and through them, other people. I’ll tell you what: Writers are Nice! I never really knew any, before, and I had no idea they were such great people. Maybe I have finally found my Tribe?

First off, on Saturday, I went to the Zebulon NC Farm Fresh Market, where a lady from my local writers’ coffee-clatch (via the Franklin County Arts Council) was hosting a booth for Literacy Day. I got to meet more fellow authors, some newspaper folks, and librarians … AND! I got a free cantaloupe! How can a day get any better?

Well, there was still more in store. Saturday evening, the long-anticipated Launch Party for Seven Turns went off at the Wake Forest Coffee Company, where most of Seven Turns was written (and where the first draft of Moonlight and Moss is about to be completed. I’ll blog separately about that later!) I had been sweating this for so long: I was so sure I’d forget something, or that nobody would show up, or that I would drop the cake…

Oh, yes, the cake! That came out great! I showed the fine folks at Sweet Traditions the cover of my book and asked: “Can you make a cake to look like this?” and they said “Challenge accepted!” I think it came out fabulous! (It tasted pretty good, too!)

I really could not have pulled it off without all the help I got, though. I am so grateful for the support I have received all along from the Wake Forest Coffee Company, where most of my writing gets done due to both the peaceful atmosphere there and (or, perhaps, especially due to) the great coffee. My wonderful husband, who speaks for a living, emceed the event so I could concentrate on signing books and sucking up to potential fans. My wonderful daughter operated the camera for the Facebook Livestream of the entire event. An amazing local band, Clairvoyance, provided background ambiance (to tell you the truth, they have provided much calm and inspiration all along for my writing at the coffee shop, where they play almost every Sunday morning.) Even my grandson took care of making sure everyone had a program and a door-prize ticket.

I was so nervous before this event, but now that I have safely got over this hump, I am hoping upcoming book signings (next up: Book Signing at Page 158 Books) will start to feel more like just going to work every day. Or, wait… maybe I actually hope I never start to feel like any of this is “just going to work!”

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Jumping the Shark

Lately it appears to me that I am always going to have a point, in any book I write, wherein I feel I am totally jumping the shark. I find myself arguing with my muse. “What, are you crazy? People are going to just throw the book across the room when they get to this part. I can’t write this!”

My muse won, last time. When the story took a sharp left turn I had totally not seen coming, I tried to fight it. I did eventually end up writing it, though, and it took the story just where it needed to go. I had grave doubts at the time, but when I gave the third draft to my beloved Beta Readers, I asked them to please tell me at what point they rolled their eyes and/or wanted to just put the book down. They came back to me saying there really had not been a point where they’d rolled their eyes, and they really couldn’t put the book down at all and had lost a lot of sleep because of this. I said “Are you sure? Are you just being nice to me? What about that part where That Thing Happened? Don’t you think that was kind of hard to swallow? I think I’m going to need to at least tone that down a bit.”

And they said, “No! No, no, leave it as it is! That was perfect; please don’t change it!”

I seriously wonder if they’re going to be able to feel the same way with what’s going on in Moonlight and Moss right now. This scene is already jumping the shark, and the scene that comes after it is going to be the shark jumping the shark jumper while being jumped over, possibly by a grizzly bear, itself. Or so it seems to me. I am shaking my head the entire time I’m writing it, and my muse (I shall have to give him a name. How about Gus?) just keeps saying, “No, no, don’t worry, just go with it. You can change it later if you want to, right?”

Gus has been right before, so… Well, we’ll see.

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The Seven Bridges Road

Gary and I visited Mongtomery, Alabama last week, to follow the Seven Bridges Road made famous by the song written by Steve Young and recorded by the Eagles (it’s actual name isWoodley Road) and which inspired many of the moods and settings in the novel “Seven Turns.” My intention was to obtain a new, clearer Official Author Photo of yours truly in that setting.

I don’t think any of the photos came out much clearer than the one I’m already using – I will probably have to break down and go to a professional photographer – but I like the video we got of us counting the bridges, anyway!

I understand the road was much more atmospheric back in the days when the bridges were all covered bridges, but it’s still a very pretty road through a very pretty stretch of America. And there really is moonlight and moss in the trees!

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Press!

I guess I expected to get some press eventually. I thought it would take a long time, months, maybe, of networking and hammering out press releases. Didn’t take that long at all, it turns out, and I don’t know whether to feel excited or overwhelmed. For one thing, the photos I’m using as “official author photos” are really kind of low-resolution and don’t have clear backgrounds and I’m finding I need a new one. I’ll post later about my Photo Shoot!

Meanwhile, my first interview ever as an author was by fellow Solstice Publishing author Nancy Wood.
Ms. Wood writes some pretty amazing mysteries, with a very unique twist – you can find her titles listed on her blog along with this article:  nancywoodbooks.wordpress.com/2018/05/21/meet-kim-beall/

Just a few days later I was interviewed by a really cool newspaper I didn’t even know existed. I’m glad I know about it now – this paper is right up my alley! It’s a local paper called the Gray Area News and it really does cover those gray areas that intrigue me so much. They didn’t ask me (as everyone asks Callaghan McCarthy) whether or not I believe in ghosts, but they did ask if I believe in UFOs! Gotta love it. Of course I subscribed as soon as I found out about them! Anyway here’s the article: greyareanews.com/news/local-nc/nc-author-kim-beall/

Really, I promise I won’t go on and on like this every time I get some press. I just had to blog about my first ones, because I was [am!] so excited about them!

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Book Signing

It would appear I am going to have to add an Events widget to this blog. I have scheduled my first book signing (very exciting!) and am working on setting up more. I’m really excited because this is going to be at my most favorite independent bookstore ever in the whole world. (And all indy bookstores are The Best, as far as I’m concerned!)

This will take place  on July 19 at 7:00 PM, at Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, which also  just happens to my very favorite small, southern town ever (well, except for Woodley, of course, but the The Wyrd Systers Books and Gifts is kind of hard to find… )

If you live in the area, I hope to meet you then!

Page 158 Books
415 S Brooks St
Wake Forest, NC 27587
919-435-1843
www.page158books.com

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Launched!

Well, it has happened at last! I thought the day was still a long time coming, but yesterday, quietly and without fanfaire, Seven Turns appeared on Amazon.

It was surreal to see it there, really, and after all the Hurry Up And Wait, now I am back to hurrying: I need to order copies to take with me to book signings. Oh, yah, I need to schedule those book signings! I need to create my author page on Amazon! I need to create a media kit! I need to update my blog!

Great time for Windows to do an update that completely took out my keyboard, right? *sigh!* Thank goodness I still have my tablet, and thank goodness WordPress is mobile-friendly.

So there you are, everyone. I hope you enjoy it. I mean that, really. The main thing I really want people to feel when reading about my fictional world is enjoyment. I mean, you’ll feel a lot of other things as you’re reading, but mostly I hope that when you close the book at the end, you’ll find yourself thinking, “I enjoyed that!”

The Kindle edition is available here.

The paperback edition is available here.

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Final Edit!

What an exciting phrase! My primary editor just told me she’s sent the final edit of Seven Turns to the Editor in Chief for…whatever comes next. Something about a proofreader. I thought that’s what editors did, but what do I know? Though it’s true that one more pair of eyes is always a good thing.

It’s definitely interesting working with an editor. One that isn’t me, that is. Having been an editor in a past life, myself, I know for a fact that one can absolutely not edit one’s own work.

But the most interesting thing was that, while I’ve heard all kinds of horror stories about how editors completely butcher manuscripts and ruin stories,  none of that happened to me. There was some stuff about commas and apostrophes, but that’s the bulk of it. I was asked to re-word a few awkward sentences, and my editor did offer suggestions on possible alternatives, but the final call was mine. All together a mostly painless experience, I would say. Certainly not as painful as They would lead you to believe, anyway. Never listen to Them!

Anyway, I hope this means I will have a release date for you soon. Watch this space!

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A High and Lonely Calling

I remember, back when I first started writing Seven Turns, I had spent many years trying to kill my urge to write, trying to get practical and stick to “real” jobs. Then one day, with the, um, encouragement, of the really lousy current job market, I made up my mind to just do what I am meant to do: write fiction. To contribute something, to give something back, to the world of literature.

I made myself a writing schedule and I committed myself to sticking to it. I kicked Word and Scrivener to the curb (they had been drawing me down into a morass of eternal revision and rewriting for years – possibly decades) and I bought myself a composition book and a ten-pack of Bic Atlantis pens, and I went to my favorite local coffee shop. I sat myself and my notebook down at a little wooden table with a plain latte at my elbow. (I actually prefer black coffee, but I figured that was too cheap a price to pay to rent the table I was about to start claiming for six hours a day three days a week!) Before I knew it, I had written, as it turned out, the first three chapters of Seven Turns.

Walking out of the Wake Forest Coffee Company at the end of that day, walking down White Street to the municipal parking lot, I was over the moon. I mean I literally felt like my feet were not even touching the ground. Not only had I written, for a change, but I also actually liked what I had written!

But I had this deep, rending feeling of sorrow going on, too. Because I wanted to tell someone about it, and I didn’t have anyone to tell. I mean, yes, I could tell my family. Family will always be happy for you and congratulate you and tell you you’re awesome no matter what you just did. And that’s great! But I wished I had a friend who was also a writer, or some other kind of creator, someone who would know just what I was talking about when I said I was so far off Earth at the moment that I seriously thought maybe it wasn’t such a great idea to get back in my car and try to drive home. I wished – I really did – that the character Emerald in my story were real. She would understand!

I actually searched the internet for a bot that I could talk to and pretend it was Emerald or someone to whom I could really tell all the crazy things I was feeling. That was, in fact, what drove me to break down and start this blog. I had never before felt the need for one. Now I wish all my own favorite authors had been blogging back when they first started writing the books I love today. How fascinating it would be to be able to peek into what was going on in their hearts back then!

Since then I’ve made the acquaintance of a lot of fellow writers who might have been able to relate to what I was feeling that first day. But on some level, this blog still remains my “Emerald.”

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Promotion of the Self

Shout-out to one of my fellow authors at Solstice Publishing, and to an article she has written about a little thing she calls New Authoritis. If you ever intend to be a New Author, it’s worth reading!

We authors – and all other types of creators, as well – just hate that whole “self-promotion” thing. Most of us are not very good at it, for one thing, and nobody likes to do things they aren’t good at. K.C. Sprayberry reassures us we don’t have to be one of those obnoxious salesmen everyone loathes – we just have to be ourselves. The thing is: you have do this “being yourself” stuff out in public, where people can see you, and you have to start doing it long before you want to see results.

I think/hope I’ve tried to do that. I started this blog and its associated web site the day after I finished the first volume in the Woodley story arc, before I even started submitting it for publication. I started my Twitter account then, too, and I’m still trying to get the hang of that beast. Ugh, just think if I had waited until the book actually comes out before getting started! I’m really glad I got the jump on that monster.

The main reason I did it, though, was because I thought: How fun would it be if social media had existed back when many of the novels we know and love today had first been written? We could, in hindsight, watch the adventures of our beloved stories from creation through Query Hell, to editing and release and onward. I would love it if I could do that, and I started this blog mainly to provide this experience for the people I hope will one day call call themselves fans of Callaghan McCarthy, and George, and Woodley, USA.

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