Out Of My Hands

It has come to that point in the life of any book where it is out of the author’s hands. I can no longer make any changes to Cold Glory, even though I wake up at 3:30 a.m. and think, “Why didn’t I say it this way instead?”  But now, the book is fully in production and it’s time to let it go.

 Oh, it’s in capable hands, all right. My Forge editor is both brilliant and cool—and is a fellow baseball fan. (Irrelevant to being a brilliant editor, perhaps, but an important characteristic nonetheless.) The art department has created a terrific cover. Seeing the Glory Warriors seal that previously existed only in my head has been very satisfying.  We’ve gone through the entire editorial process. Now I’m left thinking, “What do I do now?”

 I’ve been living with the idea that became Cold Glory since the great Oklahoma ice storm of December 2007. I wrote the first draft between February and June of 2008, revising in various guises since then, while working on the marketing of it: finding a new agent, more revisions, then the sale, the contract, more revisions…you get the idea.  I’ve been living with it for a long time.

There’s a parallel here between my writing life and my family life.  My oldest son will be going off to college in another year. We’ve already been on his first college visit, and another is coming in a few weeks.  I am excited for him to begin making his own way in the world, but the dad in me is anxious about the transition as well. Have I prepared him as well as I can?  Is he ready?  Am I ready?

Same thing with the book.  I’ve poured heart and soul into it, more so than any of my previous books.  I had no guarantee of a publishing contract, whether the market was right, whether I could make a “comeback” as an author.  But the story came from the place within myself where all writers go when they are mining deep, looking into corners, scraping away outer layers to find the heart of a story. And while I wouldn’t mind one more crack at it (Did I fix all the dangling participles? Did I remember to change that character’s eye color in all references? Did I get rid of most of the adverbs?), it’s time to let go.  I’ve done all I can.

Now I’m thinking about promotion, about making sure the book gets into your hands. I’m already scheduling events, ranging from Thrillerfest in July and Bouchercon in September to my launch parties here in Oklahoma when the book is published in October.

And of course, I’m working on the next book. Nick Journey and Meg Tolman still have much to do, after Cold Glory. History is loaded with mysteries and conspiracies that provide interesting places for storytellers to go. The next book in the new series, set to publish in 2012, is called Silver Cross.  Research for it took me to the North Carolina coast, to the Caprock Canyons of west Texas, to a ferry in the middle of Lake Michigan.  I’m excited about it, and I can’t wait to tell you more.

In the meantime, Cold Glory makes its way through the process of becoming a book. It will be published in hardcover and digital editions on October 11, and should be available for pre-orders soon.  I hope to see you somewhere along the road in the months to come.

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