Category Archives: The Juliet

The Juliet is OUT, and the DC launch is TONIGHT

The Juliet was officially released yesterday, and today we brave 66 at rush hour so I can read at Upshur Street Books in DC with my good friend Art Taylor. Tonight’s event (7pm) was listed in Brightest Young Things calendar picks, so if we’re lucky we’ll draw a good crowd. That said, there are lots of literary events going on this week–ahead of the AWP conference in LA next week–so i’ll be happy if just a few good friends show up.  Plus–cake.

It’s a strange but delightful feeling to finally be able to promote and sell The Juliet. I started notes on the book back in 2012, and began writing with seriousness in late 2013. The book was submitted to Pandamoon and accepted in late 2014, so I’ve been nursing this baby snake a good long time.

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The Juliet On My Doorstep

A box of print copies of The Juliet arrived at my home yesterday afternoon, and I’ve been celebrating ever since, but now comes the season of promotion. This morning I tried my hand at cheezy tweeting (tying my cursed emerald to St Patrick’s Day), and that fell flat–possibly because nothing can beat my dog’s photobomb that I posted last night: 12841328_10154653513439202_8325487644328745022_o Next week is launch week, though. I kick off Monday, the 21st, with a presentation about publishing for a graduate class that will also include potential MFA applicants. The official release DAY is the 22nd, I give a reading in DC at Upshur Street Books on the 23rd, and on the 25th I’m reading at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA.


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Blurbs, Blurrgh

Last week was Spring break, but I was doing anything but relaxing. We finished the last round of edits on The Juliet mid-week, and I was panicking about the blurbs that hadn’t come in. See, everything was on track for there to be physical books delivered in time for the Northern Virginia launch at One More Page Books on March 25, but no one told our chief book wrangler that I had a DC launch schedule for two days earlier at Upshur St. Books (yes, both shops are ones that the President has visited on his annual holiday shopping tour). To make that deadline we had to send off the book files at least a day earlier than planned, and by 6:30pm Thursday night I was frantically refreshing my email, hoping that my blurbers would come through.

A quick note on blurbs—the jury is still out as to whether they have any effect on selling your book, but their appearance certainly lends an air of legitimacy to your art. Asking for and collecting them is sort of terrifying and embarrassing—Please read my book and say you love it in public? Writing them isn’t so bad, but I spend too much time crafting those one or two sentences that will permanently adorn a book’s cover, like a tattoo. I can’t imagine how I’d react if someone asked for a blurb turnaround time of only a week. Which is what I did.

So at 7:00pm Thursday night, Art Taylor was commencing a panel at the Burke Centre library, where he would lead a discussion about literary and genre fiction publishing experiences. The panel included me, Tara Laskowski, and Steve Weddle. Just as Art was doing the introductions, I received a blurb—a really fab one—and I frantically copied and pasted it into a message to the publisher, typing on my iPad, which I held under the table, which wasn’t all that clandestine seeing as there was no skirting. Everyone in the audience could see what I was doing, and the only one who couldn’t was Art. Sorry, Art.

From there we all had a great session, but I don’t think we talked lit vs. genre as much as Art had planned. The audience–bigger than I had expected—was mostly writers with significant experience, including several members of the local Sisters in Crime chapter, so we mainly talked about our different paths to publishing. Art has been successful in selling his short stories to commercial crime magazines, Steve Weddle works with an agent, and Tara and I are having truly positive experiences working directly with our publishers.

Once I got home, the next amazing blurb arrived, and by morning the final blurb. They are all so wonderful, and were produced so quickly, I can’t help but feel that I’ve got some serious karma to work off. So once all the blurbs were sent off and the information is updated on my various pages, there isn’t much more for me to do for The Juliet until the book actually comes out.

Which is NEXT WEEK. And if you can’t wait until then you can order a print copy directly from CreateSpace, NOW.

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The Juliet Pre-sale! –and a new rhythm for promotion

The Kindle version of The Juliet is live for presale, and things are hopping as we hustle to get the ARCs out to potential reviewers before the official pub date of March 22. We don’t have much time, but I’m finding that my karma is holding out, and people are being incredibly generous, especially as I’m asking for the impossible—blurbs before Friday. Simultaneously, we are in the final rounds of proofing, and even with five sets of eyes on the manuscript, there’s lots to correct and massage. Luckily, the editing team is a collaborative one, able to translate my MLA habits into CMS ones with nimble efficiency, and our conversations are as real-time as possible:

Z: Is “snorfling” even a word?

LES: I think so. This is from a veterinary site: Does your pet keep you up all night scratching and snorfling (chewing and sucking noise)?

I’ve also been very lucky in scoring events without a lot of lead-time—I’ll be doing two readings during my launch week. The first will be at DC’s Upshur Street Books on March 23, and the other will be at One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia. Technically, these events and venues are close together, but the always congested I 66 is more like a moat than a highway, socially speaking.


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Reston Readings Series Launch Tomorrow

Feb 28, 5:30 is the start of a new local reading series at the Reston Used Book Shop, and I’m delighted to be taking part, reading along with two poets, Carina Yun and Gregory Luce. Though The Juliet is not out for nearly a month, I will have copies of Death Wishing to sell, and I’ll hand out some nifty bookmarks I had made. These are “special edition” book marks in that I’ll get new ones after my blurbs come in. Thanks to Nathan Leslie for organizing this event and inviting me to read at the debut. Best wishes for a successful series.


Signed up for the Pandamoon Publishing Newsletter yet? + Book Tour News

Pandamoon recently launched a super-cute newsletter called Club Panda. Please consider subscribing for articles from all the pandas plus PP news. For example, did you know we’re looking for ARC reviewers for The Juliet, which releases next month.

In other news, I have a few readings coming up, and I’m just so humbled to be welcomed to stores, classes, and reading series on such short notice. Traditionally, events need to be scheduled several months ahead of time, but I’ve already got one hell of a launch week set up, plus appearances scheduled well into Fall. Those are all mostly local (details soon), but if my experience touring with Death Wishing is any indicator, the local events preceded my best spikes in sales. DC/Baltimore/NoVa is a readers’ island, and I’m lucky to be here at this point in my career.

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