Who by Water was Leonard Cohen, Our Lady of the Various Sorrows was Nick Cave, and Like a Pale Moon has been Billy Bragg, especially the song “Tank Park Salute.”
Writing this one took it out of me. I didn’t lose my father when I was a kid but I was in my 20s. Other losses, similar to Jo’s, have been more recent and are fresher. “Tank Park Salute” has always been one of my favorite Billy Bragg songs and I am so grateful for having had his music by my side while writing and in life in general.
Like a Pale Moon playlists:
Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern (for Under the Radar) Article
Hello, reader friends and friendly readers.
Our Lady of the Various Sorrows: Book Two in the Voices of the Dead series will be released on November 16, 2017. You can preorder now on Amazon Kindle and paperback, Google Play, and iBooks. It will be available on Barnes & Noble on November 16 and through Kobo, as well. And you can order a signed advanced reader copy from the store after November 16th. It won’t be an advanced reader copy so much at that point, but it will be a special edition as we only printed 20 copies.
Holed up in a farmhouse in the Slovenian Alps, Jo Wiley is hiding from the personal demons and the dead who haunt her in Ljubljana. When she meets a secretive ghost from the area’s war-torn past, being alone becomes much less interesting. Before she can uncover her dead friend’s identity and agenda, her son’s father visits her in the mountains with his own dark secrets, and a cryptic warning.
Forced from seclusion, Jo returns to the city to find things are even more chaotic than when she left. Vandals have attacked her teahouse and she and her chosen family are on the battle lines between ancient deities with human faces and humans who want the power of the gods.
As more secrets are revealed, Jo struggles with how these new pieces fit together and where her place is in a world where her fate is more determined than she ever believed. As she gets closer to understanding the truth about her ex and her own past, it’s clear she may have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save those she loves most.
But what if her sacrifice isn’t enough? And if it is, what are the consequences of thwarting fate?
Our Lady of the Various Sorrows is off being edited. I got the digital proof for the ARCs today. I thought it would maybe feel old hat the second time. Nope. I still got chills seeing the wrap version of the ARC cover. It’s real, an artifact, proof that I have finished something. Twice.
The book is set in the depths of winter, in that time when it feels like spring can never come. It’s fitting for Jo’s state of mind as she sorts out the aftermath of having her life turned upside down and shaken. Plus, it was great to work on a book with cold and snow in the merciless depths of a Southern summer.
I’ll post links to the pre-orders for Our Lady of the Various Sorrows, as soon as they are available. You can definitely pick up book two without having read the first one, but I’m going to go ahead and say I think you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve already read Who by Water. The second book contains answers to lingering questions and puzzle pieces to collect as the series unwinds.
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Thank you all again for your support, good wishes, and reviews. I have always written, because it’s necessary for my sanity, but it’s a completely different experience to have that work out in the world to share.
Where Leonard Cohen was my muse for Who by Water, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds have been my deep well for Our Lady of the Various Sorrows. Each of them have been nearly lifelong companions to the point I can’t remember what song I heard first or when exactly. Both write lyrics that stay with me for days, in a good way, not like an incessant earworm.
The playlist also contains a hint for the title of book three. I’m itching to get started but I’ve found I have to finish one story completely before it gets its hooks out of me and I can move onto the next thing.
Advance reader copies of Our Lady of the Various Sorrows will be available at the Southern Festival of Books. The final release date will most likely be in November.
As before, availability of tracks on various platforms altered the lists a bit. The White Stripes cover of “Jolene” isn’t available on Spotify so I threw in a little Cake. It isn’t the Dolly Parton-penned song, but it’s fitting in its own way.
Soundtrack for Our Lady of the Various Sorrows
I’ve been busy with the day job and with finishing the initial draft of the second book in the Voices of the Dead series. If you’d like to find out what the title of the next book will be and receive a teaser snippet from book two, please scroll on down to the bottom of the page and sign up for the newsletter.
Between driving all over Tennessee to visit farmers’ markets (day job) and tapping away at my laptop keyboard, I’ve been able to schedule some events for the summer and fall. I’ll be signing books at most of these and book swag will be available including the Renegade Tea stickers.
McKay Books – Chattanooga | 7734 Lee Highway
Sales and signing, Saturday, August 19th, 12 noon – 4 p.m.
Killer Nashville | Franklin, TN
Panelist, August 24-27th (times TBA)
McKay Books – Knoxville | 230 Papermill Place Way
Sales and signing, Saturday, September 9th, 12 noon – 3 p.m.
Mystery Writers Event @ White Pine Books | 1703 Main St. White Pine, TN
Speaking and signing, October 7th (time TBA)
Southern Festival of Books | War Memorial Auditorium & Plaza, Nashville, TN
Griffyn Ink table on the plaza, October 13-15th
Knoxville Writers’ Guild Fundraiser @ Barnes & Noble | Knoxville, TN
Reading and signing, Saturday, November 18th, 2 p.m.
Guild members will be reading and signing books all day and Barnes & Noble is offering a percentage of all store sales with the event coupon.
After I signed my contract with Griffyn Ink, Eli Jackson, indie publisher badass, sent me an envelope with two really nice pens. The enclosed note said they were for signing copies when my book came out. I put them in my desk box, the closest thing I have to a drawer because I work at an old IKEA sofa table with the legs cut down. That I would be signing books seemed like an impossibly far off and surreal thing.
I’ve signed a few now. The first one went to my sister, who has always encouraged me, in life and in writing. A stack went off to Slovenia and a few to heart-friends who have supported me along the way. I’ve also signed a few to readers who bought my book at the first few pre-release events on the mini-tour. Those pens are really nice and the readers were even nicer. It still boggles my mind that someone picked up my book, read the back, and purchased it. That happened. I got to watch it happen.
A book with my name on the spine on my shelf, and now a few others’ shelves as well, is an undeniable fact and yet…
I’m incredulous I finished writing and editing a manuscript, someone wanted to publish it, and it’s a thing out in the world. Surely not me. I kept telling myself if one person who’s never met me and doesn’t know anything about me said something nice about the book, then it would be real. It happened and I still didn’t believe it.
The crushing insecurity of the creative mind is a real thing. Self-doubt or imposter syndrome or whatever name you want to give it, is a giant hurdle for a lot of people. There is fantastic work missing from library shelves and gallery walls and concert halls because it is so easy to talk ourselves out onto the I’m-not-good-enough ledge. Trust me there’s a lot of room out here on this jut of land; I’ve built a house on it and farm turnips.
On this journey from idea to dead-tree book in my hand, I’ve learned a few things. Having the idea is a good thing. Putting my butt in the seat to write was an act of will. Finishing it might have been an act of divinity. I did those three things. Of course there were hours and days of “who could possibly want to read this”? Those still happen; I know it’s not literature for the ages. There was the crushing reality of a typo on the opening page (fixed after I ordered my copies for the mini-tour).
Nothing is for everyone. And everything will have at least one devoted fan (I’m totally cool with the fact that it could be my sister). Someone is going to write a review somewhere savaging my book. It is guaranteed to happen and I might print it out and frame it. Someone might also write a review because they laughed out loud (in a good way) at a scene. Someone might cry when a character dies. I hope I hear about it, but I might not get to.
I fully believe when you put anything you create out into the world – a book, a film, a painting, even your kid – you have no control over how anyone else sees your work. That’s a scary prospect but it’s ultimately the thing that makes it real for me. I told a story I wanted to tell. It made me happy to write it. I hope you enjoy reading it. I’m writing the next book in the series.
Step. Step. Step. Back from the yawning canyon of self-doubt. Don’t look down.
I have been walking around with a completely stunned expression on my face for at least two days. The book is real. It’s for sale.
My. Book. Is. For. Sale.
Well, it’s available for pre-order.
I’ve never really understood that word. Is pre-order really a thing? I mean aren’t we all just ordering things for a later delivery? Whether it’s a legit word or not, it’s happening.
In addition to the pre-order excitement, there are author events where I will be standing in front of people reading from the book or talking about the book or answering questions or possibly just staring in disbelief that anyone showed up to a book event.
But seriously, thank you all. I would have never found myself in this state of disbelief were it not for a laundry list of people who believed I could do this, even when I didn’t. Especially when I didn’t.
Mini Book Tour Dates
Karen’s Book Barn Authors’ Fair, LaGrange, KY, April 29, Book Fair 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Panel sessions Friday evening, April 28)
Collierville Public Library, Collierville, TN, May 1, 4 – 6 p.m.
Online Book Release Party May 4, 1-5 p.m. (links soon)
Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN, May 6, 2 p.m.
Maynardville Public Library, Maynardville, TN, May 11, 3-6 p.m.
Southland Books, Maryville, TN, May 13, 1-3 p.m.
Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN, May 13, 4-6 p.m.
There’s a cover!
(I’m not saying there’s video of me jumping up and down with excitement anywhere, but there could be.)
And, there are book launch events scheduled and getting scheduled.
If you’d like to know when I’ll be out in the world showing off my new baby like this:
You can sign up for the Dead Letter Office Newsletter on the side over there. I promise not to spam the crap out of you. I’ll just let you know when there are book events, releases, etc.
But wait there’s more!
If you sign up for the newsletter before February 15th (it was my Dad’s birthday so it seems like a good time to do something that feels auspicious – at least to me), you’ll receive a teaser chapter in the newsletter premier. You’ll also receive my immense gratitude for your support, though that is admittedly harder to quantify.
If you’d like even more of my gratitude, you can share the link to this post with your friends, family, and friendly strangers who like to read urban fantasy or books set in Slovenia or just like to buy and read books.