Sunday, January 27, 2013

Calling All Cammy Lovers

What is it you like so much about Casey + Sammy?

How are they different (better?) than other literary couples?

Can you come up with a sentence or two to sum it up?

I usually think of Sammy in terms of her skateboard and high-tops (and what they represent about her) and her keen observational skills (and its associated humor), but Showdown in Sin City takes place over Valentine's Day, and as part of the ramp up to the series wrap up campaign, there will be a Random House sponsored FaceBook page launching on Valentine's Day. So I was thinking it would be great to have you chime in on the page and state why you like the Sammy/Casey relationship.

Did I ever tell you that Casey--introduced in Moustache Mary--was only supposed to be a prominent character for that one book? But after Hollywood Mummy came out and I got so much mail saying WHERE'S CASEY!? I started rethinking. And the more he showed up, the more I liked him.

So, see?

I listen.

This may not always be immediately evident. Plus, sometimes I like to surprise you so it takes a while for you to know I listen, and by then you may have even forgotten what we discussed. But I haven't!

You will see evidence of that in Killer Cruise, I promise.


The FB launch is still a couple of weeks away, so there's plenty of time to think about it, and here's something else to consider: I don't know exactly what's coming down the pike for the last 2 books, and I can't guarantee anything, but if you would like to send your "quote" about Cammy to me for consideration in future publicity, I will do my best to get it utilized. (In what I'm not sure! Promotional campaign materials? The website [which I'm promised will be updated!]? Future Sammy paperbacks?)

I'd say limit yourself to a sentence or two, send it to this e-mail address, include your first name, age, and the state you're from. For the e-mail's subject use: MY QUOTE. (And if you want to send more than one--or are more keen on saying something about the series as a whole instead of specifically Cammy--go ahead!)

So the body of your e-mail would look like:

"Your amazing quote!" Lidia, 72, Hawaii

(If you're not comfortable with the age thing, leave it out. I just think it's very cool that the range in age of people who read Sammy is so wide.)

(Also, I'm asking you to send your quote to the mailbox for your privacy and protection. If you want to post it publicly without the age and state info, wait for the Feb 14th Random House FB page launch and post it there.) (I'll keep you informed as the date gets closer.)

I like the idea of including my faithful blog readers in this ramp up to wrap up, and I hope you think it's fun to be part of it.

Thanks for giving it some thought. See you in the comments!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Very Strange Thing

Last week I promised to explain the Very Strange Thing that happened as I began writing the final (sob) book in the Sammy Keyes series.

Book #18.


Are you aware of what a wonderful number eighteen is?

It's two nines.

And, as you regulars may recall from a previous post, nines are amazing!

And eighteen is two  of them.

Sorry. I know. The Very Strange Thing, right?

But first, I couldn't have imagined a better reception for Showdown in Sin City. I loved all the jumping up and down and the sincere compliments about the plotting threads and the character development and people saying that it was the best book yet. The best book yet! People just don't say that about the 16th book in a series...but they did! It was wonderful and amazing and so...satisfying. It was a long, winding, skid-filled road to get to Sin City, but we arrived to a hero's welcome and it was awesome!

Speaking of winding and long roads, I know, I know. the Very Strange Thing.


Maybe I'm just trying to avoid talking about the Very Strange Thing because it's about the Very Last Sammy which is (sob!) the very last Sammy!

But, see, that's the Very Strange Thing--I was expecting to be a blubbering idiot. From the first sentence I just knew I was going to be all weepy faced and runny nosed and very, very hard to be around.

And then I got to page three, and that's where the Very Strange Thing happened:

I started laughing.

At first it was just a snicker. I was kinda...well...maybe afraid to laugh. I mean, how could I be laughing?

This was the very last (sob!) Sammy!

And the story was so serious.

But the more I wrote the funnier things seemed to get until...well, I got kinda hysterical.

Maybe it's just hysteria from not dealing with the Very Last Sammy (sob!) in the proper manner. Maybe I'll end up chucking it all and starting over.

Or maybe the entire series has been funny, and just because this last book is serious and designed to be different, well that doesn't mean humor isn't the proper vehicle to take us to The End.

Or maybe I'd just rather laugh my way to The End, than sob my way there!

And now you know--the Very Strange Thing that happened.


See you next week!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Unexpected & Awesome!

I want to thank everybody who read Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City this week. This book is a huge deal for me--the culmination of years and years of writing and plotting and planning and anticipating.

The thing about spending years and years writing and plotting and planning and anticipating is that the big deal you've blown a particular thing into may not be a big deal to anyone but you. I've learned that when the big day or event finally arrives, it's almost impossible for it to live up to the expectations you've put on it.

Critics can deflate you pretty quickly. "Really?" you think as you read. "You have a quibble over that?" As an author (or any creative person putting their work out there for the public to scrutinize) you have to develop a deflecting armor. You can't fire back--critics can say what they want and there's really nothing you can do about it--and you can't let those poisoned arrows pierce your heart. So if you're going to continue to be a creative person who puts their work out for the public to scrutinize, you have to tough it out through the jaded criticisms and believe that the people you work (or write) for (that's you), will collectively have a voice louder and with more sustain than paid-to-review critics.

Example: Someone sent me a post that a teacher had put on her blog about The Running Dream. She had quibbles. Whatever. But her students loved it--something she had trouble coming to grips with. Counter to where she chose to place the book, students kept shelving it back in her classroom's special MUST BE READ section--books students recommend to other students. With each new student who read the book, the enthusiasm for The Running Dream grew among the students until the teacher finally conceded that maybe they saw something she didn't.

Another example: There were critics who were lukewarm about Flipped.

Which sums up my point quit succinctly.

Anyway, I've developed armor and (especially necessary with a series, since, regardless of how substantive the books within it are, the titles get very limited literary respect) I've come to expect quibbles, or critics (professional or self-appointed) who just don't share the same sense of life I do and consequently don't "get" what I do.

So what was unexpected and awesome this week was the across-the-board positive reaction I received about Sin City. Obviously I loved the story and the plotting and the threads that have been weaving in my head for years, but  there was NO guarantee that other people would. So it made me so incredibly happy this week to read all the comments that came in (especially here, where it matters to me most). This was a "life's work" undertaking and to have it resonate with people who also feel very invested in Sammy Keyes...I can't even explain how wonderful it feels. So thank you for all your wonderful reactions--it really made my week!

Next week we move on to the VST (Very Strange Thing) that happened when I started writing the final Sammy. See you then!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy B-Day to Me 'n' E

It's silly, but I must say...

Happy Birthday to Me!

Actually, I'm not a fan of my birthday. Well, I'm glad I was born and all of that, but the actual day comes at a bad time of year. Everyone's broke and burned out from the holidays and trying to get back into the routine of their lives, but then there's this other obligation cropping up that needs to be attended to. Really, do we have to? It's hard to get in the celebratory spirit after all that spirited celebrating in December!

But I must say, the celebratory spirit was sparked when a package arrived from Nancy. This was a total rogue-gift surprise as we're not in the habit of sending each other birthday presents. 

When I first unpacked it, I wasn't sure what it was...or, more specifically, said. And then, poof! There is was, popping out at me.


I actually squealed.

I love how the "K" is a fire escape. 

I love that there are scrolls at the beginning and end--like bookmark "S"s.

I love how the angle of the streetlight is one you would see if you were jaywalking.

I love that the "Y" is a fork in the pathway...something Sammy faces in every adventure.

And I love that the whole thing is a little mystery, not obvious at first (especially in person vs the photo for some reason) and then you piece it together and go Ah-ha!

So mine turned out to be a fine (and fun) birthday, full of kind words and nice phone calls and surprises, but I know what you're more interested in is Elvis's birthday because that's when Showdown in Sin City comes out. So let's fast-forward to that!

Two days to go!

There's a plan in place at Random House for the release and wrap up of the Sammy Keyes series (which I'll tell you more about in a future post). First up, on Jan 8th, Random House is tweeting about the release of Sin City. To you tweeters, this is, I'm sure, not a big deal. But I'm not a tweeter. I don't twitter or Twitter. (And I'm never aflutter, and definitely don't flitter,okay?) And neither does Nancy. But she and I have to come up with this tweet so the RH's New Media Marketing people can send it out there to all the people following RH on Twitter (and there are a lot of them).

So here's what I've submitted to Nancy as a possibility: 

It’s Elvis’s b-day & the release of SAMMY KEYES & THE SHOWDOWN IN SIN CITY, where Sammy stows away, storms Vegas, and finally meets her dad.

140 characters exactly (which for you other non-tweeters is the max characters for a tweet).

I'd ask for suggestions, but you haven't read the book, so it would be kinda hard for you to give input. (But if you're the Twittering type and have input, let's hear it!)

That's it for tonight. After all, it is my birthday! Thank you for checking in and for being a part of my life. See you next Sunday!