Fantasy & Science Fiction Review

My F&SF fantasy come true!

A long time ago in a universe far, far away, I sent a copy of my debut novel to one of my favorite authors of all time. I sent it for no reason other than to thank him for inspiring me by writing some of the most enjoyable fiction I’d ever read, and also to thank him for his support. His support had come, many years before, in the form of what is, to date, still the best writing advice I’ve ever received. That advice, to paraphrase quite heavily, is: “Qwitcherbitchin’ and write!

Imagine my excitement when I received an email this past June from the editor of Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine (to which I have been subscribed since I was a teenager – and I won’t tell you how long that has been!) The email asked me to review, before release, a copy of an overview of Seven Turns this favorite author of mine had written in his “Books to Look For” column for the July/August issue. I’ve been bursting at the seams ever since, dying to tell you all about it. Now it is finally July, and I can tell you!

The “Books to Look For” section of F&SF Magazine is at
https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2019/cdl1907.htm

The overview of Seven Turns is the third listing down, right between Philip K. Dick and John R. Little … seriously, am I allowed to yell “Squeeeeee!” now?

My favorite part is where he refers to some of the spirits Cally encounters in Woodley as “deities.” I wouldn’t have expected most people to recognize that’s what they (some of them!) are, but of course Charles de Lint would know a deity when he sees one!

Naturally I also immediately sent him a copy of Moonlight and Moss. Not sucking up for another review or anything, but I want to see if he recognizes the other deities, because this volume deals much more heavily with the denizens of the faerie side of the meadow gate. (Oh, who am I kidding – he’ll not only recognize them, but is probably on first-name terms with some of them.)

Now, if you are one of my fellow writers in the #writingcommunity and you are wondering how to get your inspiration flowing, how to find time to write, wondering if you’re just a hack or what, here is the best advice I can pass on to you:

Qwitcherbitchin’ and Write!

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.”

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!”

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.

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!

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!

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

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!

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…

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.