This week an essay I wrote about my experience finishing up the edits for Finis. appears over at Jennifer Brozek’s blog as part of her “Tell Me” series, in which authors write about their books without actually writing about their books. In my essay, I discuss what it was like to be editing the story while going through a personal tragedy. It’s a short read, but I hope you’ll give it a look.
While you’re there, check out the other “Tell Me” entries from other authors. I’ve been intrigued enough to download samples of other books from those guest posts, and you may find some interesting things to pique your interest as well.
Hey there. You may be aware that my ebook Finis. has been on super sale for the holidays. There’s just one day left (tomorrow, Monday) to get it at the discounted price of 99 cents! After that it goes back up.
Remember that you don’t need an e-reader to access Finis. If you don’t have one, all you need is a smartphone or tablet or laptop. Amazon has a free Kindle e-reader app that lets you make any device compatible. I’ve used it myself on my phone and laptop and found them super easy to use.
Here’s the blurb of what Finis. is about and some advance praise for the story:
Elsa’s family grows more unkind by the week. Her boss, a seven-foot-tall rage demon, has control of everything but his anger. And her cat wants to eat her. Things could be better.
In a world where one’s Animal Affinity is a sign of maturity and worth, Elsa’s inability to demonstrate hers is becoming more than a disappointing nuisance; it’s becoming a danger. She has no confidence she’ll ever conquer her Plainness by “blossoming.” She also fears both the wolf packs that prowl her neighborhood and being stuck in a life plummeting rapidly from lackluster to perilous. Fortunately, she has a cousin and a co-worker who know her better than she knows herself and can see through to what society won’t.
FINIS. is the magic realism of our time, a story of finding one’s way to the end of things, of persevering through the dregs of life to discover something more.
“It’s not often I get that viscerally emotional on behalf of a fictional character. In a setting of overt fantasy, Angélique Jamail has created some of the most real people I’ve encountered via text in a long time.” — Ari Marmell, author of the Widdershins series and HOT LEAD, COLD IRON
“A silver vein of irony runs through Angélique Jamail’s fantastic Finis. It is a witty tale of conformity, prejudice, and transformation, in a world that is disturbing as much for its familiarity as for its strangeness. In a place where everyone is different, Elsa is the wrong kind of different, and that means facing pity, discrimination, danger, and sharp teeth. Dive into this story, readers, and confront them for yourself; it may just change the way you feel about things…” — Marie Marshall, author of I AM NOT A FISH and THE EVERYWHEN ANGELS
And here are the links where you can buy the ebook:
I hope you’ll take advantage of this special offer. And tell your friends. Thank you, as always, for all of your support! I appreciate my readers so much. And if you’ve read Finis., please leave a review at Amazon or on Goodreads or on the story’s Facebook page — or anywhere else you’ve bought or seen it. I love hearing from you.
So have you finished your holiday shopping yet? I sure haven’t. Maybe I can get around to that on Tuesday, because, you know, hope springs eternal.
You know, if you’re stuck trying to figure out what to get for someone, Finis. just went on super-sale today. No idea how many days that will last, but it won’t be very long. You can find it at the various links below for just 99 cents, for a limited time.
And in honor of the shopping frenzy — but also very much because I’m thrilled that some of my cousins arrive from out of town tomorrow — I’m giving you a Straight No Chaser song today, “Christmas Can-Can.” What’s the family connection, you might ask? One of the guys in Straight No Chaser is my cousin-in-law.
Enjoy! And get that consumerism on. Time’s a-wasting!
And speaking of cousins, where can you buy Finis.?* So glad you asked! Be sure to spread the word. (It’s just about the only way to sell books these days.)
* Did you see what I did there? Yep, those of you who’ve already read Finis. will understand.
P.S. — It appears that the music videos aren’t showing up in the emails when these posts go out to my blog subscribers. Don’t know why that’s happening, but the videos are showing up nicely when you click on the link in the email to go to the blog directly. Thanks for subscribing, and thanks for clicking in!
I wanted to do a Goodreads Giveaway of Finis. to celebrate the first week of autumn, but they require giveaways to be printed books, and Finis. is an ebook only at this time. So instead, I’m hosting my own giveaway on Facebook! Head on over to my Finis. page on FB for more details — and while you’re there, how about giving the page a Like?
Thank you to everyone for their support. I especially appreciate the reviews of Finis. and the feedback I’ve been getting from readers all over the social media landscape. Keep it coming, and please do spread the word!
Well, it’s been quite a week around here! The social media blitz should die down for a while, now that Finis. is out and we’ve had the launch party. The festivities yesterday were really wonderful; thank you, profoundly, to everyone who came out to celebrate and who has already bought the book and who has left reviews. Such a delightful end to my summer break — because, yes, I went back to my classroom today. *le sigh*
So I’ve been invited to participate in a blog tour by the excellent Leah Lax. (Thanks, Leah!) Without further ado, here we go!
1. What are you working on?
This summer I’ve finally been at a moment in my life — and hopefully this won’t be the last time I’m here — where I have that “writer’s trifecta” of a book about to come out, a book that’s in edits, and a book I’m writing (or in my case, rewriting). Though I love all these projects, I think for this interview I’ll focus on the book that has just come out, Finis. It’s set in a world where people are still quite human, but they also have distinct animal characteristics, called their Animal Affinities. They aren’t part animal, not really, nor do they traditionally have animal familiars, but they do evince certain qualities and tendencies that make them more than just human. For example, the protagonist’s mother and sister are giraffe-esque: they’re tall with golden skin and lots of big freckles. When they walk, they lope gracefully like distant ships on the ocean. Her cousin is like a seahorse, with his webbed fingers, prehensile feet, long nose, and spiky brown hair. Her problem? She doesn’t apparently have one of these Animal Affinities, and it’s causing terrible difficulties in her life. This is the story of her journey as she attempts to get out of that predicament.
2. How does your work differ from other work in your genre?
Finis. is magic realism, and as is the nature of magic realism in general, it is generally unlike the stories around it.
3. Why do you write what you do?
I write the kind of things I like to read, which means I don’t tend to stay in just one genre all the time. My specialties are magic realism, fantasy, and poetry. Often a situation or a problem or a piece of dialogue will get stuck in my head until my subconscious starts to wrap a story around it, secreting layers of metaphor and imagery and character. Sometimes what comes out is interesting enough to start editing into something more meaningful. But nearly always the story begins as a tiny obsession in my mind, and then I have to write it just to stop thinking about it.
4. How does your writing process work?
Well, the school year is about to start, and I teach high school full-time, so my writing process is about to get a lot more desperate! I’ll borrow time here and there for a half an hour at a time during the week, and then on the weekend I’ll leave my house very early on Saturday morning to head out for a writing date with my friend and fellow novelist Sarah Warburton. We’ll sit at Panera for a few hours and get some work done. I also have a critique group that meets every few weeks, and having external deadlines on manuscripts that aren’t in the publishing process yet really helps me to get the pages in. I’ve found that external deadlines are absolutely necessary for me. I hate disappointing other people far more than I mind disappointing myself! I’ve also noticed that my writing process tends to change when I have a major shift in my routine; i.e., my habits during the summer are really different from my habits during the school year. And every time one of those routine shifts occurs, I try to revise the way I do things to always be more productive, more efficient. So we’ll see how things go this semester. One thing about having a schedule that’s always way too busy is that my writing time, when I do get it, becomes sharply focused. I no longer have time for writer’s block, and so I spend time thinking about what I’m going to write when I’m doing other things, like exercising, folding the laundry, trying to fall asleep — and then when I do finally get a chance to sit down and do it, I usually can. That makes my time in front of the journal or laptop more useful.
Thanks again to Leah for initing me on this tour! If you’re interested in Finis., here are some links where you can buy it:
By now you now that this week, my newest publication, Finis., launched. I’ve tried not to overwhelm the Interwebz with announcements of it, but I admit that Tuesday, Launch Day, I was online most of the day just trying to keep up with the traffic and buzz about it and reactions to it. It was a great day, and I’m so grateful to those of you who’ve already bought the book, read it, and given me reviews. I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far! (Links to places where Finis. is currently on sale appear at the end of this post.)
This Sunday is our official launch party, and if you’re in Houston that day, please feel free to drop by! It will be at The Black Labrador from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in their Churchill Room.
Finis. is an ebook only at this time, due to its length, but there will be copies of an anthology I was recently published in, The Milk of Female Kindness — An Anthology of Honest Motherhood, for sale at the launch party. This wonderful international project brought together authors from all over the world; the book contains poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and artwork around the theme of motherhood and offers a wide variety of perspectives. (It also contains two of my essays and three of my poems.)
Here is a list of some of the reviews that have come in so far for The Milk of Female Kindness. (I wrote “some” because I know there are other reviews out there that I don’t have listed here.)
I was so grateful to be included in this anthology; it really is an excellent publication. Kudos to Kasia James, the contributing editor whose brainchild it was, and to all the other authors and artists in it!
As promised, here are links to buy Finis. More retailers will be coming available soon, and when they are, I’ll be sure to let you know!
Finis. is also available through Apple’s iBooks store, but be sure you get the title that has my name attached to it, or you might end up with some very different literature you weren’t necessarily looking for!
So it has been quite a busy time over here! If you’ve been following along on my social media you know that this coming week is a very big deal for me. My first ebook, Finis., is coming out — it goes live on Tuesday!
You can already pre-order it at Smashwords by clicking on this link here. Smashwords also has free samples available if you want to give it a test drive first. Finis. will be available at Amazon this week, too, and I’ll be sending another post with the link once it goes live there.
UPDATE 8/6/14: Finis. is now live and on sale! 🙂 Get it from Smashwords or Amazon by clicking the links on their names. It’s just $3.99!
This post contains some information about the ebook and the launch party, advance praise for Finis., and (saving the best for last) some very important thank-yous.
First, if you don’t have a Kindle or Nook or other e-reader, never fear: you can still get this ebook! Download the Kindle reading app for free from Amazon, and you can turn any Apple, Android, or Windows device into an e-reader. I’ve done this with my laptop, and it works quite nicely (though I’ve been told that sometimes formatting doesn’t load quite as well with the app as with an actual e-reading device).
In case you’re going to be in Houston on Sunday, August 10th: we’re having a Finis. launch party at The Black Labrador in The Churchill Room. Come on by! Be sure to order yummy food and drink while you’re there; The Black Lab may have the best pub menu in town (because it’s also an excellent restaurant). I’ll be giving a short reading at 4:30 and again at 5:15 for those who come later and miss the first one. Copies of The Milk of Female Kindness — An Anthology of Honest Motherhood (which contains some of my poems and essays) will be available for sale there. (Look for more information on that later this week.)
Here is some advance praise for Finis.:
“It’s not often I get that viscerally emotional on behalf of a fictional character. In a setting of overt fantasy, Angélique Jamail has created some of the most real people I’ve encountered via text in a long time.” — Ari Marmell (author of Hot Lead, Cold Iron)
“A silver vein of irony runs through Angélique Jamail’s fantastic Finis. It is a witty tale of conformity, prejudice, and transformation, in a world that is disturbing as much for its familiarity as for its strangeness. In a place where everyone is different, Elsa is the wrong kind of different, and that means facing pity, discrimination, danger, and sharp teeth. Dive into this story, readers, and confront them for yourself; it may just change the way you feel about things…” — Marie Marshall (author of The Everywhen Angels)
Now, of course there are acknowledgements in the ebook itself of people who were an integral part of the process of making Finis. a real live book. I could never hope to list everyone who has supported me in such a short space, though, and here I want to take a moment to acknowledge a few people who have been just wonderful.
I’ll start with my editor Jayne Pillemer, whose insight is so sharp, and whose confidence in me and in Finis. has been sustaining.
Thank you to Russ Linton, author of Crimson Son, whose guidance through the self-publishing process has been invaluable. If you’re thinking about going this route, check out his blog, where he discusses at length his journey on this path, and his interview here on my blog about it and other interesting things.
When I was at my wits’ end trying to figure out how to manipulate the files for Amazon and Smashwords, I lucked into hiring Jesse Gordon as the formatter. I could not have made a better choice. His response time was quick, his expertise was thorough, and he handled my quirky combination of perfectionist and techno-luddite with grace and aplomb. He has my highest recommendation.
The gorgeous cover design for Finis. was created entirely by Lauren Volness, photographer and graphic designer extraordinaire. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Kara Masharani for being the fantastic and enthusiastic model.
Finally, I want to thank David Jón Fuller for the occasional lunchtime chat when I needed to be talked down from the proverbial editing ledge. Every writer needs friends like that.
This week will be busier than usual here at Sappho’s Torque as we gear up for the launch festivities. Stay tuned for more exciting information as it becomes available! All the best, and thank you so much for your support.