Final Countdown

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It’s four days until the official drop date for BLISS. “Doesn’t seem real” barely covers the surreal sensation this knowledge engenders in me. Partly it’s because there’s no red-carpet premiere, no box office numbers to tally when a book comes out. Most authors I know just spend the day obsessively checking their sales rank on, and surely I won’t be able to resist either.  I’ll bombard the Twitterverse with tweets, and annoy the crap out of my Facebook followers reminding them of the big event.  (Apologies in advance!) But otherwise, what marks such a momentous day for a writer? I suspect… not much. I’ll probably wear my cute new shoes, despite Santa Fe being a ridiculous place to wear high heels.  And some dear friends will join me for a celebratory meal.  Aside from that? I can only imagine what’s going on out there, beyond my control.

Are little elves stocking my novel on Barnes & Noble shelves?  Will some avid lover of women’s fiction be browsing a store in South Dakota and come stumbling across a new book with a pretty white cover?  Will she creep closer, daring to pick up the nice, weighty paperback, feel the pleasant tactile sensation of the jacket against her fingers?  Will she turn it over, and snort a small chuckle as she reads the tagline “Nothing says ‘oops’ like your naked ass skidding in the salmon mousse?”  Or perhaps wrinkle her nose and say, “No mousse-y ass for me, thanks!”  Might some store clerk in an indie bookstore happen to flip through it during breaks in the back room (ha, back room!) and decide, “Hey, I dig this, I’m going to put it on the ‘recommended reads’ table?”

I’ve no earthly idea.  And no control at this point. I crafted BLISS as if it were the most important confection of my career, adding all my favorite fantasies and wish fulfillment into the mix. I can only hope it tastes as sweet to the reader as it did to the writer.

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.”


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.