Sunday, August 7, 2016

I Google myself, therefore I am

I Googled myself the other day and lo and behold, I got some good news: My sex tape is still undetected! Also, I discovered that I'm on the Most Anticipated Fall Fiction list over on the 49th Shelf blog. It was exciting to see my book up there in such good company. So good, in fact, that it cancelled out the clammy shame of the self-Google.

There's loads of brilliant books on this list, but a few in particular caught my eye. Strange Things Done sounds like a smart spine-tingler, which I'm very much in to these days. (Plus, the author, Elle Wild, is described as growing up "in a dark, rambling farmhouse in the wilds of Canada where there was nothing to do but read Edgar Allan Poe and watch PBS mysteries.") I'm fascinated by China, so Shenzheners by Xue Yiwei and translated by Darryl Sterk is also tops for me. If the reviews are any indication, Teardown by Clea Young (and my publisher Freehand Books) will indeed be "clever and imaginative, an absolutely addictive read." I'm endlessly intrigued by virtuosos and the inner lives of boys/men, which means Eric Beck Rubin's School of Velocity could be a winner for me, too. 

I'm going to have to re-prioritize my life just to fit in all these delicious fall reads. Let's see... Cancel three out of four television streaming services I subscribe to? Stop Googling myself? Give up the sex-tape lifestyle? Tough choices ahead.

By the way, if you want to pre-order my book The Weather Inside you can do that now direct from Freehand Books. Other options include going to your favourite local indie bookstore and asking for it, or giving them a call. You can also get it through the usual suspects like ChaptersAmazon and Barnes & Noble. For e-book readers, the link will be available on September 24 on Kobo, Kindle (Canada), iBooks, Google Play, All Lit Up and Broadview Press. 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Explore Inside Emily, Saso

I'm on the 2016 Crazy for CanLit list, which is put together by the Giller Prize people. Hold your applause: every Canadian author published this year is on it. But I'm on a list, okay, which means I exist, my book exists. So I'm throwing roses and high-fiving myself and champagne is bursting out of bottles, etc.

When I heard about this list via my friend Erin, there was a confusing moment when I thought I had made the long list for the Giller Prize. It made no sense -- I knew this -- but my body still reacted as it does to good news. Sweaty forehead. A tingle up the spine. A "wait wait wait wait wait" rush. Fear.

Being on this list is nowhere close -- not even a little bit -- to being on the long list for the Giller Prize. But I am a capital everything IDIOT, and so I believed in the fantasy, I allowed myself that two-second rush. And then I wiped my forehead with my sleeve, and it was gone.

I don't understand Pinterest so I haven't a clue how one is supposed to interact with this list. Further confusing matters is the page that popped up when I clicked on my book:

I wouldn't recommend exploring "Inside Emily, Saso," but I would recommend checking out some of the books on this list. (And a big thanks to the Giller Prize people for including me.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The sins of self-promotion

I confess: I am "BookNerd."

Looks like "Anon" is on to me.

Why did I recommend my own novel in the comment section of The Millions "Most Anticipated"?

Because, according to The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 19,900 new books were published in 1996 in Canada. A staggering number that, with the ease of electronic publishing, I can only assume has grown even more staggering since.

It’s every writer for herself, people.

Is it unethical to comment anonymously on one's own book? Tough call. I actually do like my own book, so it's not like I'm steering people towards a crappy read. I'm not a journalist recommending a friend's novel in the media even though I know it stinks. I'm not trolling blogs and media outlets or hiring Russian spammers. I'm a writer publishing with a small press just trying to find my readers in a bloated marketplace.

I'm not wholly innocent, of course. I used a screen name on The Millions and, through the wonderfully ambiguous third-person tense, positioned myself more as a fan of my work instead of the author of. Is using a screen name a lie? Is using third-person? Is asking my friends to plug my book in the comments section in the Globe & Mail a lie? Probably, yes. But before you judge me, did you know that 19,900 new books were published in 1996 in Canada?

Self-promotion is awkward for me. Not because I'm humble -- ha! -- but because I judge others harshly for their missteps. I roll my eyes on the daily over authors' self-congratulatory tweets, retweets and worst of all the *retweets of retweets.*

I'd love to find a self-promotion strategy that feels comfortable but, as you probably figured out, leaving comments on book blogs ain't it. Not because I think it's unethical. But because doing so made me feel like an enormous twat.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Believer

My pal Alana Trumpy just got her first byline in The Believer, which is the coolest lit journal around. And not just that, but her interview subject is a pretty major get. AND the author drops in a "director's cut" treat too. I like The Believer for the same reason I like The Paris Review: the Q&A feels like a conversation. A smart one. The kind you'd have in Europe. Over a glass of barolo. With maybe a nice piece of fish. Or huddled in a medieval fireplace with a hitchhike poet smoking Gitane blondes.

As a writer, this type of interview is basically the dream. To be asked intelligent questions by a person who's given your work a deep read, and even deeper thought. It doesn't get much better than that.

Check it out here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Book club fail

Thanks to Alana for putting me on to this show, Baroness von Sketch. It is comedy perfection.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Seven Stages of _____ Prize Disappointment*

(*The role of Emily Saso will be played by Emily Saso's adorable niece Quinn.)

Stage 1: Unbridled excitement
Yay! The novel I ordered is here! I'm so excited! It won the 2016 _____ Prize so I know I'm going to love it more than I've loved anything ever! Yay!

Stage 2: Premature super-fandom
The first chapter is AHmazing! I totally get why it won the 2016 ____ Prize! I'm going to tweet and Instagram and blog and Facebook about it even though I have 300 pages left to go and so much could go wrong! Wheee! 

Stage 3: Denial 
I'm 50 pages in! It's taking me longer than it should because I keep thinking about the butter tart I hid in the fridge and so I have to re-read each line! Does that mean the novel is boring? Impossible! It won the 2016 ____ Prize! It's perfection! Maybe if I eat the butter tart I'll be able to focus? My face hurts from smiling so hard, though, so I don't think I can chew... Oh well! Boooook!

Stage 4: Losing faith, but clinging to hope 
Um, excuse me for a minute, but where's the plot? This is mostly a character slinging his emotions about. Maybe plot will come into play soon? It has to. It won the mother-f---ing 2016 ____ Prize, yo! Keep reading keep reading...

Stage 5: Utter disbelief
There's no plot? Like, at all? So the whole book is just these three narrators with three different perspectives on the same non-event event? WTF?

Stage 6: All-consuming rage
You're kidding me! That's it? This horribly unsatisfying ending that raises more questions than it answers? %$%$*($()ing ####! How the hell am I going to talk about this book with my smart friends? I have NO IDEA what this ending means! And where is that goddamn butter tart?!

Stage 7: Recidivism 
But it's all okay because the winner of the 2015 _____ Prize just arrived! Yay!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The tiny humiliations of the copy edit

I finished the copy edit for my book on the weekend. Yippee! My copy editor was very professional and therefore didn't laugh at me or hurl insults. But if I was (were?) her, catching the kinds of mistakes that she caught, I don't think I could be quite so kind. If our roles were reversed, here's what my markups would look like...

1) Hey, Einstein! No one has yet to crack the space/time continuum! Until she/he does, sensical timelines actually matter!

2) An en-dash can be used in place of a hyphen in a compound adjective when one of its elements consists of an open compound or when both elements consist of hyphenated compounds. PS — no one in your life will give two sh*ts about this except for you. So STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

3) There is a country called “Eritrea” in Africa. There is a town in Euboea, Greece, called “Eretria.” You are ignorant of both.

4) Characters who are sitting down cannot perform functions such as running or reaching for things on top shelves. STAND THEM UP, dum dum.

5) Ahem. It’s “lightning” not ”lightening.” And by the way -- your book has the word “Weather” in the title, so that’s not embarrassing at all.

6) Hey, Scottie! No one has yet to invent a teleportation device! Until she/he does, it takes eight hours to ride the bus from Toronto to New York City, not two!

7) "Smart" apostrophes and quotes are a thing, okay? Smart authors are too. Too bad you're not one of them...

8) If a character is feeling a powerful emotion, maybe describe the actual feeling? You know, instead of only writing "she feels"? Just an idea...