It’s Here, and It’s Beautiful – REAPER Cover Reveal

Guys.

Last night I got the best email since signing with Melange Books to publish my book, REAPER.

You remember REAPER – it’s the one I bitched about for months because Renee guilted me into doing NaNoWriMo with her. Yes, in the end she was right, but we won’t tell her that.

If you’ve forgotten (and how DARE you), here’s a blurb to jog your memory:

The Department of Creative Death and Ironic Punishment. This is where writers go when they die.

Oz, an employee of The Department, is mostly content doling out death from his ancient typewriter, until he wins the office lottery. The prize? A new assignment – to return to the world of the living as a Reaper.

At first, Oz sees this new assignment as a blessing. He is given a body and a second chance at life, but then, during a lesson with a surly, seasoned Reaper named Bard, Oz is forced to watch a childhood friend die. Shaken, Oz questions his willingness to do the job he’s won.

With each new lesson, Oz begins to wonder if the job of Reaper is really a prize or a punishment.

Anyway, after months of agonizing over the fate of my first ever big girl publication, I have a cover.

And, guys? I fucking love it. I know you will too.

 

BEHOLD:

 

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25 Universal Truths as Told by the Magus of Existential Nothingness (AKA – Me.)

1. Traditional publishing is a long, long, LONG process.

It’s April. I signed my contract with Melange Books last September. That’s 7 months of waiting and GUESS WHAT? The waiting continues. Am I complaining? Absolutely. Would I change it? Probably not. Like childbirth, once I get to see the long-awaited cover and final edits, all the previous pain will be a distant memory. 

2. And it’s stressful as hell.

Every email is like a bomb waiting to explode. On the bright side, I feel like one of those CSI bomb squad techs every time I open an email and it’s from Amazon or Hulu offering me shit.

3. So is writing.

The longer you stick with this writing thing, the harder it becomes. The funny part is IT’S ALL YOUR OWN FAULT. Simple plots become layered, twisted timelines and complicated back story that are ALL ESSENTIAL but are also a great big pain in the ass. 

4. To combat the stress of writing, you can write.

Seriously. BARD’S CHOICE is getting to be one of the more complicated things I’ve written (see above) and it stresses me out. So, I did what any self-respecting writer does — I ignored it. Well, pushed it away so I could admire it from afar. THEN started YET ANOTHER WIP called LOST AND FOUND. The plan is that it will be an uplifting magical realism novella that I will probably never publish. The “never publish” bit is what makes it fun. This is for me and me only. I may let Renee and Hanna read it but that’s because they’re creative torturers. 

5. A little magic helps.

I’ve tried to write literary fiction. I’ve tried to write “commercial” fiction with no speculative element. I hate them both. Magic is awesome.

6. So does bacon.

This needs no explanation. Bacon helps ALL.

7. When all else fails, find the funny.

I find that when I’m stuck in a writing rut, trying to read books that require me to think or are similar to what I’m trying to write ONLY makes the situation worse. The best way to free up your brain, in my opinion, is to read something purely for entertainment. For me, those are books like ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY by David Sedaris, LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED by Jenny Lawson, and pretty much anything by Christopher Moore, Tom Holt, and Susan Jane Gilman.

8. Obsession does cool things.

When you love a subject, character, spell, place, thing, and put it in your book, you adore your work. Adoration keeps the words coming.

9. Most of the time.

BUT, it also makes it THAT much harder to hear constructive criticism as anything but an idiot mucking up your lovely, lovely words. Also, stalking is bad, mmkay?

10. Okay, so, rarely.

Shut up.

11. I can feel you judging me and it hurts.

Writers have feelings too, you know.

12. No it doesn’t. I am a judgement devouring cyborg from the planet Zarfor.

Take me to your leader.

13. And a liar. Sorry.

Not sorry.

14. Know what else is stressful? Queries.

First, you have to write the thing. Then, you tear it apart and write it again. Then there’s the synopsis (kill me, please). THEN you send that bad boy out to a multitude of agents, presses, and editors so they can tell you how much it doesn’t work/you suck/better luck next year, sucka. For those of you who follow me on twitter (@authorkatm) you know I’m querying a MS called SACRIFICIAL LAMB CAKE. I’d tell you how it’s going, but…

15. I need a drink.

But it’s only 9:30am, so I’ll wait. *wink*

16. Things took a dark turn there. Let’s move on.

Keep on keepin’ on and such.

17. Your favorite author, no matter how many books they’ve sold, still freak out about reviews. Except James Patterson.

It makes me feel a thousand times better when I see that titans like Neil Gaiman still worry that their books won’t be received well. Misery loves company and all that. 

18. If your favorite author is James Patterson, I’d like to introduce you to my man-eating couch.

Jealous. So, so jealous.

19. Bunk beds from IKEA are proof that Hell is real.

Two hours, three adults, several cups of coffee, and a multitude of random injuries. You do the math. 

20. Further proof: seven-year-olds.

Seven going on sixteen with an attitude the size of Jupiter. <Insert deity of your choice> help me.

21. Also six-year-olds.

MOMCANIHAVEADRINK MOMCANIHAVESOMEYOGURT MOMCANIWATCHTV MOMCANICOMEINTHEBATHROOMWITHYOU

22. But they’re funny, so it all evens out.

Kaley: You’re old.

Abby: Mom’s not old.

Kaley: ?

Abby: She’s super old. 

Me: I’m 27.

Abby: Super, SUPER old. Like grandma.

23. I seriously thought I would only make it to, like, four on this list.

Hooray for us!

24. Shows how little I know.

NOTHING.

25. Okay, so, slightly more than nothing, which is just the right amount.

There’s always some fun discovery to make. Like, did you know that tangerines go bad? Seriously. When they’re super soft, you shouldn’t eat them. In an unrelated event, my tummy hurts and we’re out of toilet paper. Little help?

I Think I’m Getting… The Fear

Yesterday began what is damn close to being the final edits to REAPER. You remember that one – the book that NaNoWriMo forced out of me like ipecac? The two most competent Beta Readers I know got back to me with some fantastic tweak notes and I’m putting them to good use. After this, it’s final touches and BAM – I’m ready for serious, no holding back submitting.

But then today I had a NERVOUS FUCKING BREAKDOWN.

Out of absolutely nowhere, as I sat down to continue work on the edits was, “Jesus butt-fucking-christ I am a TERRIBLE writer. Who in their write mind would read this garbage? This? THIS is what I’m expecting people to publish?”

And then I cried. I cried for a fucking hour with a Harry Potter movie in the background and gummi bears melting in my hand. It was when the snot ran like a faucet that I had a thought.

I have The Fear.

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The fear that I just might fail. That after all this work (7, possibly 8 long months) on ONE BOOK that’s at SUCH an awkward word count that I STILL don’t know whether to call it a novel or novella, that I’ll get rejected. Rejected like whoa.

Of course I’m going to get rejected. We ALL do. (And if we don’t, we’re fucking LIARS).

So when I do get that first rejection, you can be DAMN SURE I’m going to post that shit loud and proud above my desk.

After the whiskey. Cause whiskey.

Wanted: Executioner

You know, when I wrote that title, I thought it was cute and pithy because it echoes a prior tweet of mine

“Researching publishing options is like personally choosing your executioner.”

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But then I thought: Shit, now I’m going to be on all these lists.

But then I thought: I’m probably on ALL KINDS of lists by this point, so no big deal.

So here we are. It’s been a long morning. Can you tell?

As I wait for a few more of my FABULOUS beta-readers to provide me needed feedback for REAPER, I’ve been delving into the research that precedes querying, submitting, and a few other terms that strike fear in the heart of every writer. With so many options available to writers now, it’s somehow HARDER to figure out how to publish. We no longer have to stand in line, twiddling our thumbs or picking our noses, waiting for the gatekeeper to see us. We can CIRCUMVENT that bitch via small presses and self publishing.

I’m a little overwhelmed.

The only thing I’m sure of is that self-publishing is NOT for me. 

Yet.

Who knows. My long-winded point is: REAPER is inches away from being publishable. So on that note, who wants the job?

*photo courtesy of deviantart.com