publishing is hard, pre-ordering, "Gates of Eden" by Becky Haigler
Well, I'm here to tell you, publishing is hard, too.
But strangely exciting and gratifying.
Last week, I sent off the CDs containing the files for Able to.... Wednesday night, I was up very late working on it, getting it on the disks, etc. Went to the day job on 3 hours of sleep. Thursday night, I crashed early, but slept only about 4 hours and then couldn't get back to sleep because my mind was racing about this project---sort of a separation anxiety, I think. I think I'll be catching up on sleep for a while.
But, yeah, I'm very excited about this book. It's nearly all I think about.
Except when I find myself doodling a costume for a performance piece I want to work on next . . .
Art is hard. Publishing is hard. And I don't quite know how to take a vacation.
I sent out an e-mail a couple of weeks ago to about pre-ordering Able to.... And I actually got a pre-order! Woo hoo!! And today I got an inquiry about another. So I thought I should mention on my blog that, well---Able to... is available for pre-order. There, I said it. The retail price is $15.95, but the pre-order price from neoNuma Arts is $13.00, postpaid. Send check or money order to neoNuma Arts; P.O. Box 460248; Houston, TX 77056 or e-mail me at email@example.com for instructions on how to order with a credit/debit card.
The first sentence of the first story in Able to... goes like this:
"Flowers didn't actually fall from Evita's lips--not at first, and not all the time. "
"Gates of Eden" was the first story I received after I put out a call for stories with super-powered characters. I opened the envelope outside the post office and read that first line and was enchanted immediately. I had no idea what kind of super-powers would be coming to me. I was even a little worried about what I might get. That first line surprised and delighted me. I would never have thought of a super-power like that! Flowers falling from a girl's lips! By the time I finished the story, I knew I also had the first story I wanted to use in this anthology.
Becky Haigler, the author of "Gates of Eden," wrote a story that has a distinct voice, it seems to me. It's charming. Just the notion of the power charms me. But it's not just charming. Becky tells the story episodically, taking Evita from pre-school to the end of her first year in college. As Evita grows, we see her charm--and her power--change subtly as she learns to compliment people (for flowers only fall from her lips when she gives compliments) to her own ends.
There is a fairy tale quality to the telling. Evita is the daughter of a wealthy family with a house full of servants, so she is privileged and something of a princess, just as her older brother, Cesar, is a bit of a prince. But like so many fairy tales, there is a dark side to the charm. Watching Evita grow and seeing her flowers change . . . well, I don't want to give away to much here. I do, after all, want you to buy the book and read it for yourself!
But I do want to say--there's a reason for why I picked this story for the first in the anthology, and it's not because it was the first story submitted. It's because it lets you know up front that this isn't a collection about superheroes, it isn't a collection of adventure stories, it isn't a collection that panders to any of the conventions of superhero lore (not that there's anything wrong with that!).
It was exactly the sort of thing I was looking for.
In the next blog entry, I'll talk about David J. LeMaster's "Light Readings of Ebony" as I work my way through the book's contents before it's released to the world.