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

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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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Cover Art!

The nice folks at Solstice Publishing sent me a preview copy of my cover art! I must say I’m excited about it – and relieved. I had heard so many horror stories about people whose covers sucked and actually damaged their sales. I think this captures the atmosphere of the story rather well, thanks to the artist at Solstice who actually listened to my input on the matter.

Now all I’m still itching for is a release date! Patience, my precious, my love…

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Book Trailer

Did you know book trailers are a thing? Well, they are!

My publisher encouraged me to create one so I fired up my Windows Movie Maker, which I didn’t even know I had on this PC, and spent a week obsessing about every little detail. I am starting to suspect I’m actually a frustrated film producer at heart. I really hope to do a live-action one someday soon, with real actors and cats.

Anyway, here is my first crack at it. Doesn’t have the release date yet, of course, because I don’t know when that is, yet.

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December 1, 2017 – I went ahead and did it!

After giving the other agents and publishing houses [what I thought was] a reasonable amount of time to make any pending counter-offers, I went ahead and signed on yesterday with Solstice Publishing to publish Seven Turns. They’re a small press but I like their business model and I especially like that they are willing to take a chance on genre-benders like me. Naturally, I’m kind of partial to the name of the company, as well, and think K.C. Sprayberry, the editor who contacted me, looks like a really cool person in her photo (who wouldn’t be cool, with a name like that?) Those are the the right criteria to weigh when making an important business decision, right?

I’m still at the point where I’m a little numb and not quite sure what to think . . . scratch that, I mean: not quite sure I even remember how to think. There’s still a lot of work to be done before I get the release date everyone is asking me about. I’m getting some input into the cover design right now and that’s kind of fun!

Oh, yes, I also finished NaNoWriMo yesterday, with 128 words to spare! Big day all around! I am exhausted. I will blog more when I can put more than two coherent thoughts together.


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I was ‘way ahead with my NaNoWriMo word count! At the rate I was going, their algorithm predicted, I would finish by November 27. I plunked my lappy and latte down confidently in the coffee shop this morning, and just checked my email real quick to see if I had any new rejections to log before I started writing. And then I came to a grinding halt…

A small publishing house had sent me an offer of a contract on Seven Turns.  I went into Panic Mode, and got nothing done for the rest of the day.

Well, I did, after I calmed down a bit, take the rest of the day to send polite notes to agents and agencies who had requested my manuscript, telling them: “Hey if you like it you’d better put a ring on it pretty quick!” OK I didn’t use those words, exactly. It’s just a professional courtesy to let people know, just in case they were just about to send me an offer as well. (Well, it could happen, right?)

I’m not going to sign anything in any case until I have a lawyer look at the contract, though it does look pretty straightforward to my untrained eye.

Anyway, how’s your NaNoWriMo going? You ARE doing NaNo this year, aren’t you? If you want to Buddy me, my NaNo handle is SleepyMaggie. If you’re my Writing Buddy there you’ll be able to get a sneak peek at Moonlight and Moss. I promise I will get my word count back on schedule by the end of the week.

Alonz y, y’all.

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NaNoWriMo Preptober Exercise #28

Journal on What Worries You About Your Story World

What worries me is that I am still not sure what the deal is with the faerie city beyond the meadow. I really only know marginally little more than Cally does. In a very real sense, she and I are both figuring it out as we continue to press forward. (That’s another thing I should have said about her in Exercise #21: What You Love About Your Character(s). She generally doesn’t just get dragged along by the story, she pushes it forward, herself, with her inability to just turn her head and look away.)

I don’t think I’m a pantser. Not really. I guess more of a plantser. I do believe in the value of planning and of a rough outline and synopsis at minimum. At the same time, though, I have faith that the Answers to unsolved conundrums will come to me. I’ve seen it happen too many times to not believe this, so I just make note of these unsolved questions, take a deep breath of faith, and press on. I wish the Answers would come sooner, I guess, but they come in their own time. For instance, I finally figured out, after all these years, who Emerald is, after I finished Seven Turns. I’ve known of her existence for over twenty human years. Maybe it only comes when I’ve written whatever I need to write, first.

Would Seven Turns have been the same if I’d known all along? Probably not, though whether it would have been better or worse is a question I’ll never know the answer to, now. Certainly Cally’s confusion is palpable because mine was also real. Only, I fear this may come off more as “disorganized author” to a reader.

But I suppose there’s always that. Having started on Volume 2 now, there are things I want to change about Volume 1 to better support things I want for Volume 2. A dilemma Tolkien Hisownself famously may or may not have solved successfully. At least I’m in good company! And in truth I suppose this always happens to Real Authors, pants or no pants.

At least it’s not actually too late to change Vol 1. a bit if I want to. I had affirmed that I will have a contract in hand by next #PitMad and so not be able to participate this time, either, but in any case, I will (like Cally) just press on.

Things I don’t know yet that are worrying me
(but that I know will be OK!):

  1. The exact nature of why the Vale is so important; what would actually happen if it were breached, from either end?
  2. How the White Council opens or closes (or adjusts, like a tap) the Way In to Woodley.
  3. The nature of the Intrigue in fairyland; who the bad guy(s) is/are and what they want.
    (I always hate the Bad Guys part of any story, as a reader and as a writer. I wish I could just get away with dispensing with the whole concept. I would happily have watched 14 hours of The Lord of the Rings movie even if it were all scenes in the Shire: wandering through the village, a protracted Bilbo’s birthday party, and weeks on end of evenings spent in the Green Dragon. Why does there always have to be A Problem? That’s a Meta-Philosophical question about life in general, I suppose. And I’m not at all satisfied with the sophomoric stab the Matrix takes at the answer. Personally I’m going to blame a virus or parasite in the human brain. Or aliens. Maybe the aliens are a virus!)
  4. I am still not 100% sure whether Cally will go with Ben, or not, when he has to go. I think I know, sometimes, but…well, maybe I’ll figure it out when she does.
  5. Who Done It. Okay, I’m fairly sure. And I even think I know how we can satisfy the Rule about having to meet him/her early in the story. Just not sure he/she should really be all that bad..?

This whole thing is starting to feel more and more like a DC Comic every minute…


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