I can almost taste it….

It’s cover reveal and pre-order day, and I’m going crazy waiting for the things to share. I have to be patient, though. Just be patient.

Being patient is not easy. Normally I’m quite patient, but this? This is maddening. I mean, all I’ve got to show you is this:

The worst part? Even I haven’t seen the final cover design! I’ve seen versions of it, but all I’ve seen from the final is what you see above.

I. Am. So. Anxious. Not worrying about how it’s going to turn out, but anxious to be able to share it and the pre-order link. I’ve been talking it up for days now, but I’ve just got the one image so far.

Oh well. Back to the wine tasting.

And then there was one….

Tomorrow, folks! Tomorrow Abnormal gets its big cover reveal, and the preorder link goes live! I am so freakin’ excited!

baby opening present excited gif

Now, if you follow this blog on more than one platform (Facebook, Twitter, whatever in addition to here), you may notice that you’re not seeing this cross-posted. There are a couple of reasons for that. First off, I’m attending an virtual workshop on how to market a book, and surprise! Readers/followers don’t like repeat content. You’ve seen my blog post once; you don’t need to see it over and over again ad nauseum.

Secondly, I actually do check my stats on this blog pretty frequently. Obsessively, even. And I’ve noticed that lately, it’s not Twitter or Facebook that gets the most views for me. It’s WordPress reader. So, my hope is that these still get read even if they’re not in-your-face on every platform.

I’m also going to venture into creating a website for myself. There are going to be links to the preorder (starting tomorrow, or when I get the site up–I have no idea how long this will take me), there will be the book trailer, and there will even be a link to Whispers of Death, my first novel.

This site will probably take a while to get up and running, because I know zero about website creation. I’ll keep posting here for a while, but soon ajmullican.com will be the place to go. (No point in putting an actual hyperlink there until I know the site works lol)

Off I go down the rabbit hole of website creation and stuff!

Two for the money

Yeah, yeah, I know that’s not how the saying goes… Still, it’s two days until Abnormal goes on preoder sale, so two for the money works for me. 😉

The cover reveal is in two days as well, and in sixteen days Abnormal hits bookstores and Amazon Kindle. Just a little over two weeks. I’m still going a little crazy with the waiting, but I have to remind myself that this is, like, over two and a half years in the making. Another two weeks and some change won’t kill me.

I’m not the only one who’s excited. There are friends and family members who are chomping at the bit to see the cover or read the book. I’ve already made numerous promises about autographs. It’s kinda funny how people who know you want your autograph more than people who haven’t met you. It’s like, you know me, I’ve been to your house, eaten your food, hung out with you, whatever, and now you want me to sign it? I mean, it’s cool and all. Makes me glad I have like almost 100 colored gel pens that I can bring to signings. Lol

Signings. Still none set up, but once the preorder link is live I can send the ISBN to a retail bookstore chain and see if they’re interested in having me. So far, the local bookstore isn’t panning out much. They seemed super interested, but then they kinda fell off the Facebook Messenger radar. I haven’t heard back from them in about a week, but I suppose I shouldn’t let that get me down. Sometimes Messenger doesn’t deliver notifications right away, and they could be busy with back to school stuff. I gotta be patient.

After all, there are sixteen whole days until the book’s release.

Two weeks and two days.

Less than a month of Sundays.

Three, two, one, BOOM!

A couple of days ago, I was discussing Book 2 with the Creative Director at my publisher, and she suggested outlining or breaking down the scenes to figure out where I need to add/change things. It was a good suggestion, except I suck at outlines–especially with the templates she was showing me to help. Then a little light bulb came on inside my head, and I thought “Hey, I can draw little bubbles with plot points inside them and connect them with lines, and that’ll let me visualize the scenes.” Y’know, kind of like one of those conspiracy theory-style infoboards.

Turns out this is already a thing called mind mapping, and there’s even software out there for it. Guess that light bulb was already manufactured elsewhere. Since prebuilt scene templates were already giving me a headache, I decided to go old-school and literally draw it out. I ended up with about half of the “Scribbles” section of my new planner, well, scribbled on. It’s a good thing I know my own writing.

I found places in almost every chapter where I can add onto and/or revise to make the scene(s) longer. Not necessarily fluffing the scenes, but enriching them. Adding flavor, adding depth…and yeah, I admit, adding word count. I even found a couple places where this expansion can create a couple new chapters, with better, more exciting action going on. Book 2 is going to be a little dark, but I think you’ll like it. Especially if you get to the end of Abnormal and think, “WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!?!” 😉

Speaking of Abnormal, three days to the cover reveal and preorder going live! I’m getting really excited–and more than a little anxious–the further down the numbers on the countdown widgets on my phone get. Three days to the cover reveal/preorder. Seventeen days until Abnormal’s release date. Seventy-nine days until Tucson Comic Con. My heart’s racing a bit right now just looking at my phone.

Three days. Two and a half working days (I was off this morning, but soon I’ll be headed in to work for the afternoon). A meeting Friday morning. Then, finally, I can show the world what Abnormal will look like, and give them a link to order it.

Soon. So soon.

Draw Nigh

Someone I knew not nearly as well as I should have passed away yesterday, and I’ve been trying to take time to process my thoughts and feelings on the tragedy.

I should’ve talked with him more. I should’ve engaged and not shrunk into my shell when he said “Hi” to me at SCA events and meetings. I should’ve … Well, I could fill the whole Internet with shoulda/coulda/wouldas here. Suffice it to say, a great man died, and rather than using my words to console friends and chosen family–other than to send my condolences in a private message to his wife–I spent my day reading how he touched others’ lives and wondering why I wasn’t touched the same way.

In the end, I determined it was my fault. My shyness and social anxiety kept me from knowing this man as well as everyone else did. Sure, I said “Hi” back, and I hugged back, and I answered any questions he asked about how I was doing and such, but I didn’t force myself to really listen and ask questions of my own. The last thing I said to him was something along the lines of “Oh, gallbladder surgery is a piece of cake.”

His gallbladder, it turned out, was not the problem.

So why didn’t I send a Facebook message to him when his wife, who I know a little better, sent out requests for kind words, silly memes, and comfort? I certainly had been Facebook friends with him long enough that I should’ve been able to send a meme to cheer him up in the hospital, right?

There’s that shoulda again.

Maybe it was guilt. I mean, he was already in the early stages of whatever-it-was that killed him, and I brushed it off as a piece of cake. I’d had my gallbladder out over ten years ago with no complications whatsoever; surely this tall man with the booming voice and ever-present smile would make it through something like that just as easily.

There it is. There are the tears that wouldn’t come yesterday. But am I crying for the loss or crying for myself?

I don’t really know for sure, but considering it was seeing “booming voice” that set me off, I’d like to think there’s enough humanity inside me to be sad at something other than my own inadequacies.

I think I’ll miss that booming voice most of all. Of all the heralds I’ve met in my short time so far in the SCA, his was the loudest, the clearest, the strongest. Even in his day-to-day conversations, he sounded like a radio announcer or movie voiceover actor. There was depth to that voice. Confidence. Strength.

“Draw nigh for court” will never sound quite the same. A great voice has been silenced, and it’s going to be a while before any of us are really okay again.

Revealing

Five days. Just five little days to the cover reveal for Abnormal. Five days til the preorder link goes live. Nineteen days to the book release.

Not that I’m counting down or anything.

The excitement is getting to me just a little bit. A lot. I can’t have a cover reveal party because I didn’t find out the date for the reveal until after I’d made plans for that day, but I’m hoping my husband will let me have a few friends over on the day the book releases. A few friends and some alcohol. And books. They’d better have books. Lol

Ooh, I need pens! Lots of different colors! Or Sharpies. I’ve seen authors use big, bold Sharpies to sign books. Back to school sales are still going on, right? Maybe I’ll find a sweet deal Friday. Because autographs are a thing.

I’ve nudged the local bookstore to see if they have a date when they’d want me there for an event/signing. I need to step up my game though. There’s radio stations, newspapers, TV stations, libraries–I have to get all the things done, and I’m running out of time. Man, it really snuck up on me. Five days, dude. Less than a week until the world sees what Abnormal will look like. Less than a week until they can place orders for Abnormal. Wow.

My mind is continually being blown here. It’s a whirlwind of dates and things. I’ve got X due for the SCA on this day, Y to do for Abnormal on the next, then work and work and work and Z for Abnormal and…. Well, you get the drift.

So. Bloody. Exciting. And Book 2 is still well underway, so we’ll see what I can come up with for that. I’m looking over it again after some “time off” from it to get a fresh look. Seems like solid writing, but I know I need to add more to it. The word count isn’t quite up to par yet, so I have some work to do there as well. I need to tweak and fidget and adjust until it’s ready for submission.

Shit. I have to do an outline. And a query letter. And a synopsis. And…and…and…Oh, hell. I forgot about that part of the process. Well, better get to it.

Backlog

Why do I take on so many projects at once? Oh yeah, because I enjoy the outcome.

So here’s the deal: in addition to the book promotional stuff and prepping for release, the promotion at work that I need to train for, and the SCA arts and sciences stuff, I’ve taken on three more embroidery projects. All three are pretty important: some small embroidery for an elevation garment, a patch for our household for a banner that gets displayed every year, and some high-profile embroidery for the current King and Queen to wear to an out-of-kingdom event. Yeah. All that.

It’s something that I can do in my spare time, but more importantly it makes me feel good when people like my embroidery. My husband got me a new book on embroidery that has really good photos of how to do different stitches, so I can build my stitch repertoire. I’m excited to get started on the embroidery that I have to do, despite the chunk of time it will all take.

I might have to do what my husband does for his tablet weaving, which is setting up a spreadsheet or something like that to keep track of what I’m doing and when it’s due.

I may have to table the embroidery I wanted to do for Kingdom A&S, but that’s okay. I wasn’t planning on entering for Champion anyway, so it’s not a huge loss. Better to get the commission work done first. Gotta prioritize.

Book promotion is slowly chugging along. I tweet, I Instagram, I update the countdown (20 days now), I have been contacting local bookstores to try to get events set up…. It’s a lot, but every step forward makes me feel good.

Speaking of work, I should really get back to the elevation embroidery. That’s the next one due. Until the morrow! 🙂