The Bereaved comes out in August, and the launch party is days away. I wanted to share some fun stuff with you. For one, there’s a Goodreads Giveaway going now through the end of the month. (Click the link there to enter.) No charge to enter, of course. Don’t be silly. Of course I want you to win a copy!
Then there’s The Bereaved book trailer. I’m working on posting it to the site here; it goes live on Friday on social media. Which, by the way, for me now is mostly Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, although I am definitely on TikTok, and I have a toe in the water at Spoutible and Post, and my old account still lingering on Twitter, aka X. Follow the links on the main page to find me!
The Bereaved book trailer:
And then there’s just the joy of holding the book and seeing friends reading or receiving their books. This makes me so very happy.
Thanks, Simi, Ann, Laura, Lisa, Dad and Glenn!
Not to go bonkers here, but it’s all part of the book release, marketing and all that. More to come! Stay tuned.
Countdown is on for my book launch — August 8, in Grass Valley, 6-8 pm, at the UUCM: Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains. I’m ordering cake! I’m placing ads!
You like cake, don’t you?
We’ve been collecting reviews, including this starred review:
Planning the book tour, writing essays and blog posts, and the like–it’s the kind of zany fun part of getting published. It’s midsummer, and ideally I’d be sitting out in the hammock with a book or a notepad. But not this year. Why, you ask? A couple of reasons.
Weird weather– it was chilly for most of June for some reason (cough–climate change–cough!)
I’m doing some research that involves reading old family letters and they would blow around outside.
We have a ton of ants and mosquitos this year, probably because of high rain and snowpacks over the winter. Too many bugs– on and near the hammock.
I must admit it — I have a small case of breast cancer. I was diagnosed in March after a wonky mammogram, had lumpectomy surgery in May, and have been undergoing radiation treatment over the past few weeks. Two more weeks to go, and I will be super radiated and ready to launch. My diagnosis was early, and it’s a Stage 1A, one breast, and they have high hopes for 100% cure. So my fingers are crossed as much as anyone can cross them. I haven’t posted about this on social media but it’s true. I was planning to post *after* I finish radiation. As in, fait accompli. So far, so good.
So bear with me as I go squiggly with book release excitement. Know that I am finishing up revisions on my historical novel slated for next fall release through Sibylline, and the letters? Research for the next novel, also historical fiction based on my an-sisters, as I like to call them. Won’t this look good on a cake?
It has been a long winter and spring, and we are finally in the home stretch before The Bereaved arrives at bookstores and Kindles everywhere.
Nervous? Not really.
Big plans? Yes!
I loved this “Eye” artwork and was so happy when Sibylline’s art director chose to use it on the cover. I’m leaving the cover image large so you can see the details, and I’ll tell you more about it. Take a look at how it turned out:
The theme is Victorian mourning, and the Eye artwork centers the book cover. The background is a flocked Victorian wallpaper. It was more golden in an earlier version, but the red really pumped up the energy. The Orphan Train is the bottom photo, an old photo from as late as 1900, or as early as 1870. Hard to tell from the kids’ clothes. This is kind of the quintessential Orphan Train photo that shows up when you Google the term. On the right is a portion of the New York Home for the Friendless, which was an orphan “asylum,” or orphanage, where children who had lost their parents, or whose parents couldn’t keep them fed and housed, landed, if they didn’t make it another way. And on the left? That’s little Willie Gaston, about 8-10 years old. Hard to tell, because children dressed like undertakers in the 1860s.
William L. Gaston was my great-great grandfather, and I have several photos of him throughout his life. He married Winifred McDonald, and had two daughters, then one of them (Laura) had two daughters. Little Winifred (named for her grandma) was my Meemaw, but I never knew her; she died when I was less than a year old. The stories die out over time and no one remembers who came from where — until Ancestry came along and helped me find all the footprints and arrows and signposts.
The Bereaved is the story of how my 2x great-grandpa went from New York to Ohio as an orphan–but it’s told from his mother’s point of view. Who was Martha Seybolt Lozier? My third-great-grandmother, whose DNA runs in all my cells and mitochondria–who was this, and how did she lose her child? Read the novel and find out.
I will be posting more about my upcoming book launch, book tour, and some side quests along the way, to illuminate Martha’s story, and Will’s, and my own. It’s always more complex than you think. But get this: As I learned about Martha, I also found her parents, and their parents, and so on, back to Puritan times, where another long-forgotten grandmother appeared, just in time to become my next historical novel. That woman’s name was Silence Greenleaf, and I went on a trek last fall to find her.
I’d like you to meet here here, first, and next fall (September 2024), in the pages of my next novel, Silence.
That’s the topic for another day, so I’ll leave you wondering about that, and anticipating the release of The Bereaved, my eight-years-in-progress baby. Links for preorder below. Thanks for checking in!
Excited to announce that I have signed a contract and my historical novel, The Bereaved, will be in bookstores in fall 2023. Prepare yourself for nattering and humblebrags with a side of shameless self promotion.
Ever feel like a schmuck? I have the cure. In no particular order, here are some exciting or dreary adventures that happened to me whilst on the road or giving local readings. Feel better about yourself immediately upon reading!
The bookstore owner giving the reading got my name wrong, my genre wrong, and said the novel (Tongues of Angels) was self-published when it small-press-pubbed. I may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. (Read more about this memorable event here.)
The Portland bar that was supposed to premiere the Rebel Girl cocktail for the Doris Diaries debut forgot and did not buy any of the ingredients. Disappointing, after much ado, publicity, hoopla and advertising. Luckily, they had other alcohol. Lots of it.
A second bar later on the same tour also did not buy the ingredients for the drink, and the owner was sick, leaving his right-hand man, a waiter, in charge. The right-hand man was annoyed at having a reader in the restaurant and only grudgingly set up the mic. He then stood in front of me, blocking me from the audience, as I was reading, and later, yelled at me in French from the back of the room. Yes, I was heckled in French in a Mexican restaurant in Arizona.
A city library had zero attendees for my reading. I had bought advertising in the town ahead of time, sent flyers around, PRed like crazy, and so did the library. Two librarians came and listened to my presentation. We all felt like schmucks.
I basically had to change my entire poetry reading at the podium because someone had brought impressionable children, just old enough to ask questions. The selection I had prepared was a romantic/sexy set of poems, and – I just couldn’t do sexy talk in front of the kids. Awkward? Yes.
I pride myself on my vintage costumes when reading from The Doris Diaries. At a local reading for the first volume, I’ve Got Some Lovin’ to Do, I wore a lovely green ensemble, authentic from underpinnings outward. When I took my seat, I heard seams tear, I felt elastic give, and suddenly I was a sausage bursting its casing. With 50 people watching. #Sexy? You betcha.
At another reading soon after, I wore a different vintage dress, less sausagy, but with some beautiful ribbon scrolls all around the skirt. As I waited for the reading to begin, I sat at a table and signed books. When I rose to go to the platform and read, the ribbonwork caught on the arm of the captain’s chair and tore out the back of the dress. I kept my front to the audience and kept smiling, despite the draft.
I prepared a standard bio for the bookstore host to read in introducing me, but he scrapped that and instead, rewrote it in rhyme form (not his strong suit). I have blanked out most of the words, but what still haunts me is that final jarring line: “She’s always racy – Julia Park Tracey.” #fml
I gave a poetry reading and had brought along my book, Amaryllis, for sale. As I grabbed one of them to sign, the book flipped open and I realized that the innards of the book were wrong. The inside sections were put together incorrectly, and the poems and acknowledgements were mixed up. Obviously a mistake at the printer – five years ago. I wonder in horror how many of those have been sold. #thingsthatkeepmeupatnight
The time I was on tour, taking Amtrack from city to city, and the crew got my suitcase off the train but not my books. That’s right. Book store, no books. Ring this up: No sale.
I’m not done writing books or giving readings, so I expect I’ll have more adventures to add to this list in the next few months. (I’m in the throes of promoting Veronika Layne Gets the Scoop as we speak.)