At LLast, the Llama Llaunch! LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH Is In Stores Today!

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My friends, I’m so excited to say TODAY is the DAY! LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH is finally on shelves, and I so appreciate your support during this process. If I could ask just a little more, here are a couple things you might do to help if you’re willing:

1) if you’ve already read an advanced copy, please consider posting a five-star review on Amazon and/or Goodreads, BarnesandNoble.com, etc. This is incredibly helpful and can make or break an author.
2) if you pre-ordered LAST CHANCE LLAMA RANCH and your copy arrives in the next couple days, please consider taking a picture of yourself with it. You can email it to hfieldsauthor@gmail.com if you want to be featured on my site!
3) If you’d like to order LCLR online, it’s available on Amazon at this link: http://www.amazon.com/Chance-Llama-Ranch-Hila…/…/0316277428/ or on Barnes and Noble at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/last-chance-llam…/1120878222
4) If you’d like to buy it but hate Amazon, etc, try Indiebound by clicking here: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316277426 to find your nearest bookseller.
5) If you’d like to buy a copy in person but it’s not available locally, you can always ask your local shop if they’ll order one for you. It usually can be there within a couple days!
6) if you’d be willing to tell your friends about my book, I’d be so grateful.

Blow jobs, cookies, massages, babysitting services… I owe you all big time!

Alpaca2

Last Chance Llama Ranch, At Last

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Last Friday, October 31st, I finished my novel and handed it in to the publisher. After a year of death, divorce, and devastation, it felt like a Herculean task, and I have to admit there were a lot of times I wasn’t having fun writing it. But I learned something about writing. You don’t always have to be having fun to do your best work.

And I think this may be my best work.

I think there’s humor, and craft, and solid characterization. I think there’s growth, and interpersonal conflict. And, for what it’s worth, there are alpacas. Lots of fuzzy alpacas. I’m pleased and proud of what I’ve wrought (writ?), and I hope my readers will be too.

So now the $64,000 question… what should the next book be about?

When in doubt, add hippies

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The last few weeks of writing haven’t been fun. I’d like to claim writing is always some awesomely artistic endeavor, lifting you high on wings of inspiration as your fingers float languidly over the keys. When that happens–whoopie! I remember why I decided this career was a better idea than, say, hamster-wrangling.  When it doesn’t… I turn surly.

I’ve spent the past several writing sessions combing over pages I’ve already written, re-drafting, searching for inconsistencies in theme, plot, characterization. It’s necessary work, but it ain’t the stuff we writers dream of when we don our turtlenecks and berets in the morning. For me, at least, it leads to self-doubt, angst, anguish, and psychic constipation.

Is this book gonna be as good as the last?

Do I know what the everloving fuck I am doing?

Is that job at the hamster-hut still open?

Today, I took a break from the fine-tooth comb crap, and got back to what makes me happy–silly, wacky, totally expectation-free exploration.  And what did I end up with? Naked hot spring hippies, a rainbow-colored school bus, and one very stoned heroine.

And a happy writer, who got to goof off, while doing exactly what she’s supposed to do for a living.

You Like Me… You Really Like Me! (At Least 4 of You)

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So, I’m driving a shopping cart full of cat litter and trash bags around Target this afternoon (oh, the joy!) and I stop to check my phone.  (Hey, shopping is boring, what can I say.  At least I didn’t block anyone’s path to the yogurt.)  I see an email from my delightful, I’m-eternally-grateful-to-them publisher with some feedback from readers who participated in last month’s Goodreads first-read giveaway.  (Check it out here to read reviews.)  Not to toot my own horn (okay, totally to toot my own horn), but WOW!  The ones who took the time to write reviews really seemed to enjoy BLISS the way I’d hoped.  One woman said, “This was, for me, a one-sitting, pages flying read.”

Sniffle.

Those of you who are writers know just how important it is that somebody see the same thing in your work that you see in your mind, and that you spend all those hours trying to shovel in there.  It’s why I spend weeks dithering over exactly the right word; why I corner friends and fellow writing workshoppers and demand, “Is this funny?!  Does that make sense?”  But in the end the novel is just out there, alone, without you to explain or excuse or butter up your reader.  If you’re lucky enough to find readers, that is.

BLISS isn’t officially out until November 19th, but already, people outside of my immediate circle have gotten their hands on it.  Woman’s Day online said they loved it.  Library Journal gave it the thumbs’ up.  And now, real readers!  People who read the kind of books I read are finally being introduced to my work – and so far I haven’t been beaned in the head with a rotten tomato.  I know the responses can’t all be good, but for now, I’m just swimming in delight and so very grateful.

Oh, and one-sitting lady? Slow down. It took me a long time to write that book!

Good Review, Kick-Ass NaNoWriMo First Day… Who Says Mercury’s in Retrograde?

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BLISS by Hilary Fields…Probably a poor idea to tempt the fates in such a way, but heck, I’ve had too much Diet Coke, I’m hopped up on a successful first day of doing NaNoWriMo, and a great rave review of BLISS from Woman’s Day Magazine online. (You can watch the video here.)

I’ve wanted to participate in National Novel Writing Month for several years, but a combination of factors prevented me.  1) I’m chicken-shit, 2) I’m not convinced “vomit-writing” is really a great way to write a viable novel, and 3) I usually spend the last week of November in a turkey/stuffing/yam/pie coma.  But this year I’m on el seriouso deadline.  BOOK 2 must make its debut (at least to my editor) in spring, and that’s no joke.  It’s going great, but a kamikaze balls-out dive into the deep end of my creative juices would certainly only aid my efforts. So I told enough people I was gonna do it that I’d feel like a chump if I backed out.  (Works great for quitting smoking too.)

It was exciting to make this commitment, though daunting, because I usually write closer to 1,000 words on a good day than the 1,667 one needs to average for the thirty days of November in order to “win.”  I don’t think I’m in it to win it, frankly. I’d rather have 30,000 carefully chosen words than 50,000 blurted-out stream-of-consciousness rambles I have to spend the next month sorting out.  But I hoped signing up would spur me to write something every single day.  So last night at midnight I joined my local chapter liaison at Denny’s, laptop in tow (and dressed like Spock because it was, after all, Halloween).  Seven hundred fifty one words and five mozzarella sticks later, I looked up and it was 1:30 in the morning.  Even most of the drunks in Miley Cyrus twerk costumes had headed home for the night.

After collapsing back in bed around 2, reading a bit of Stephen King’s DOCTOR SLEEP (in my opinion one of his good ones), and passing out to endure some very odd llama-and-psychic-vampire dreams, I arose a few hours later feeling like it was going to be a good day.  I added another 1,100 words to my count during the course of the day (and was surprised by a llama named Severus Snape playing Frisbee with Merry’s cowboy hat), all while baking a loaf of sourdough (pictured) and standing at my standing desk instead of sitting around.

Sourdough Bread So I guess success breeds success.  The more you do the more you’re capable of doing, and yadda yadda.  Speaking of success, it’s really been awesome to see the first reviews of BLISS trickle in.  I wish I weren’t too much of a moron to figure out how to post the video review from Woman’s Day, but a link will have to suffice.  It’s just amazing when someone reads your stuff and laughs out loud, relishes the characters, looks forward to your next work.

I can hardly believe the release date for BLISS is only 18 days away. I got my finished copies this week and I think they’re stunning (even if the picture of me in the inside front flap seems monstrously big).  It’s amazing to me that some readers–strangers, out there in the ether–have already gotten hold of copies, and others will soon.  Lots of others, I hope.  All of whom will of course want to plaster five-star reviews far and wide across the web.  Hey, a girl can dream, right?  So here’s to big dreams, and the ambition–and stamina–to bring them to fruition.

Cheers!

The Muse–Fact or Fiction?

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I’ve been giving a lot of thought to whether The Muse™ is a real thing; a little fairy in diaphanous Grecian garb who plunks herself down on your shoulder and dictates all your best ideas while you loll, helpless and half-conscious, like some Delphic oracle mad on fumes from the underworld.  Or perhaps it’s just a prosaic source of prose that emanates from some intuitive area of the mind we can only see with a stealthy peek out of the corner of our consciousness.

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Thalia, Muse of Comedy

Certainly, ideas do seem to pop out of the ether, whether that be ethylene-induced, absinthe-derived, or pulled right out of the proverbial arse.  I do experience that “it came to me in the shower” phenomenon so many writers describe.  (Which may suggest the muse is a bit of a perv.)  Characters, plot points, jokes and denouements all pop out on the page without me deciding anything.  Now, far smarter folk than I have investigated this topic exhaustively, though I don’t think I’ve heard a comprehensive explanation that quite covers it for me.

Product of the unconscious mind? Sure, I can get with that. But until philosophers and neuroscientists map that out, we have no idea how that works or even what to do with that information.

So shall we go with Grecian demigoddesses, metaphorical though they be?  Why not.

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