Saturday, August 30, 2014

How is it even POSSIBLE to be bluesy in Paris? But it is. And then whammo--a surprise.

Here's the scoop.

This morning, my mom packed up her bags and kissed me goodbye and flew back to Texas.

Officially off vacation, I speed around the house like Rosie the Jetson maid, whipping everything into pristine-clean writing condition (because who can write with a messy house staring at you?). And then I hear the "ping" of my Google notifications. I look at my phone: "Some Act of Vision." Could it be a new review? My heart thunks in delight. But then I open gmail and click on the link, and this is what I get:

Thanks, "impact0r." If you couldn't read that tiny writing here's a close-up:

I'm not clueless. I know that there are a lot of people out there who are tight on money and don't have easy access to a local library or inter-library loan, or perhaps their moral compass got out of whack by standing next to some magnetically-charged, morally bereft cheapskate. Or perhaps they are truly on a heartfelt mission to make all information free to the masses, which I get. I really do.


But here's the problem. I don't get paid a cent when people share pdfs or pirated copies. Some Act of Vision just won the National Readers' Choice Award (Young Adult 2013 fiction) by the OK-Romance Writers of America, so I think that it must be a decent book. I have a very small publisher who can't chase every piracy site and send a cease-and-desist warning. And so, while I'm grateful that people want to read my books, my heart gets wrinkled or kerfluffled...and sometimes irate...when I think about the fact that neither my publisher nor I are getting our one or two bucks profit because someone wants to read my books--which take years to write and publish, folks, years--for free. Come on, Readers.

Here's a whole conversation about the difficulties writers are experiencing with piracy.

Dang. I'm sitting here, all Down and Out in Paris, and now everything's changed.

Not five minutes ago, I logged on Goodreads, and saw an unread message in my box. I rarely log on to Goodreads because, as most writers will tell you, it's not emotionally healthy to get wrapped up in reading reviews of your work. But this email got me right in the heart. I had to sit back from the computer and cover my eyes for a minute. Tears. It was a beautiful letter from someone who'd read my first novel, Song of the Orange Moons, last month. He wrote to thank me and said some very kind words. Those words just melted all the anger away. So now I'm sitting here, not angry anymore.

I'm not happy.
But I'm not longer angry. I'm grateful.
I'm deeply grateful that my story (written so long ago) has found its way into someone's heart, and that my version of human experience enriched someone else's soul for a short while.

That's a powerful thing. I don't even care if that gentleman paid for the book or not.
It's a complex thing to understand, and clearly I'm trying to wrap my head around it.

Back to writing...
I'm in Paris, after all.

Any folks (especially writers) who want to weigh in are welcome...

Friday, August 22, 2014

On Being Home in Paris

I'm home.

In Paris.

I'm here for a little over five months to get some creative projects completed and to immerse Julien in a French public school. Thanks to my brilliant, compassionate man with the kajillion frequent flyer miles, Mother has joined us for the first two weeks. Here we are walking through the Jardin du Luxembourg.

I've brought along an electric violin to keep up my progress, but mostly in the evening Mother and I play Scrabble. Our bellies full of wine and cheese and pain campagne and other delightful French food.

Here is my agenda for this extended trip, which frankly will be a magnificent feat if I can swing it:
1. Write an opera libretto built upon the previous aria I wrote for Charlie McCarron (Rubie's Aria).
2. Write a sequel for SOME ACT OF VISION.
3. Revise a mess of a manuscript--an adult literary novel.
4. Write the sequel for my middle-grade manuscript, based on Julien's experiences here in Paris.

You guys: four genres. I'm insane. It's a good thing I'm in Paris. The scenery alone will give me strength, right?

I have one more week of vacation with Mother until things get serious.

bisoux from Paris!