Book Covers, Tea Cups* and Blustery Cold

In certain scenes in The Glass Wives, Evie and her friends Beth and Laney drink coffee at Evie’s kitchen counter.  Nicole, on the other hand, drinks tea. And yes, I know the cover isn’t literal, but I can’t help it…I like a little literal now and then, and there is both literal and metaphorical meaning in this cover. As there is in the title.

But more importantly, what’s in your cup today? 

Today I had Starbucks Blonde Roast (made at home) which is my weekend coffee (too $$$ for every day). But tonight in my cup I think I’ll take something a little stronger, just to offset the cold and add to the ambience as the dogs and I hunker down for movie night in front of the fire!

And yes, this is the final cover, which I just happened to see today as I was poking around on Goodreads!  64 people have added it to their to-read list, and two early readers have given it five stars. I know that opinions vary with all books, but that was a very nice way to start a very cold Saturday!

Amy xo

Why the asterisk after Tea Cup? Because technically, based on a few China cup experts I know, these are indeed coffee cups, based on the shape and the absence of a saucer. Not that I needed them to be coffee cups because I’m literal and the characters drink coffee not tea. But I’m just saying.  That my friends, is called cover karma. 

Pink/pink, blue/pink, or pink/blue. I think it's  the perfect cover for The Glass Wives.  Hope you agree! (If you've read it, or when you do, chime in!)

Pink/pink, blue/pink, or pink/blue. I think it’s the perfect cover for The Glass Wives. Hope you agree! (If you’ve read it, or when you do, chime in!)

Do You Hear What I Hear?

listenI am huge fan of audiobooks. On any stint when I’m a gymrat, I listen to books while I work out. For me, the time passes much more quickly than when I listen to music. I listened to the entire collection of David Sedaris books one summer on the treadmill, and that fall I made my way through Jen Lancaster books while huffing and puffing on the elliptical  After that, I realized how time would fly if I was listening to a great story while I was doing something else I really didn’t like doing. Housework!  So I started listening to books while I folded the laundry or scrubbed the bathroom. When my son started college in 2010, and ever since, audio books are my steady companions on my four-hour drive to visit him in the depths of Indiana.

And while it’s an odd thing to suggest, this Spring you will be able to listen to The Glass Wives while scrubbing your own bathroom or running on the treadmill or on a long, flat drive to visit your own kid somewhere!

That’s because The Glass Wives audio rights have been sold to Brilliance Audio! That means when the book is available to read, it will also be available to hear.

No, I won’t be the narrator. But I will be a listener.

That’s right, I plan to listen to the book. After all, I might have written it and read it aloud to myself seventy gazillion times, but I’ve never had it read—to me!

I love to read. I read almost every day, but listening to a book is a wonderful way to experience it. If you’ve never listened to an audiobook (although I almost always refer to them as a books-on-tape, jeez) know that the book isn’t just read, it’s performed. It’s a sensory experience different from reading because while you can rest your eyes (not while you’re cleaning or driving, please) the pace of the story is determined by the performer. It’s like watching a movie and sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for something to happen, but not being able to hit fast forward. I tend to read quickly—and audio books slow me down, which I appreciate.

It’s true, sometimes I’m so engrossed in the story that I do more listening than anything else, and I have a feeling it will be difficult to concentrate on anything other than The Glass Wives when I’m listening to it.  I’ll report back and let you know! And if you listen to The Glass Wives, please let me know.

I look forward to hearing what you think!

So, are you a fan of audio books? And what do you do while listening? If you’ve never listened to a book (no, not on tape, I caught myself) is it something you’d consider? 

Neither snow nor sleet should stop you from entering to win THE GLASS WIVES

Yes, it’s my dad, but still! It’s a blizzard!

Okay, no excuses! Sign up to win your copy by clicking here

WFW will be back on Tuesday with a short review of the newly released historical novel, THE PLUM TREE, by  fabulous debut author, Ellen Marie Wiseman, along with her interview!  It’ll be a great way to kick off 2013, I promise!

Start 2013 With An ARC Of My Novel—THE GLASS WIVES

A real live book. With real live typos. Advance Reading Copies aren’t perfect but they are perfectly wonderful!

You knew this was coming, didn’t you?

As soon as I received my ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of THE GLASS WIVES, I knew what I needed to do!  Okay, knowing what I need to do came after about an hour of ogling my books.  I knew I wanted to thank all of YOU at WFW and on Facebook and Twitter and WU and Backspace and In Real Life and everywhere else, for being excited and supportive and engaged and did I say, supportive? I only get a few of these puppies–but I’m offering you the chance to win one. And yes, I know many people are still steeped in holiday hoopla and New Year’s Eve hangovers, but wouldn’t it be fun to read a book months before everyone else?

So, if you want to win an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of The Glass Wives by ME, just sign up for my infrequent yet delightful newsletter! Yep, a winner will be chosen from the list subscribers! Subscribe = Entered to win

But, you have to live in the USA or Canada. Many apologies to my blog readers overseas.

SIGN UP HERE TO WIN YOUR ARC!  

For extra chances to win, share the giveaway love by adding to your Facebook feed and/or by Tweeting. This is all on the honor system, so just let me know in the comments—and your newsletter subscription info will be added in one extra time for FB and one extra time for Twitter. So you can have up to three chances to win the ARC!  And don’t feel any pressure (ha) you have 10 days to do it!

Need more convincing?

“Reading The Glass Wives is like driving down a familiar street and having one of the houses you thought you knew open up on hinges to reveal its secrets. Nathan firmly but with good humor peels back the layers of suburban “normal” to reveal ethical ambiguity under a publicly rigid moral code and tenuous bonds between strangers under strict definitions of family. Evie Glass is the neighbor you want to know all about, and her story is told with charm and frankness to create an illustration of friendship and motherhood that feels very real.”—Lydia Netzer, author of Shine, Shine, Shine, a 2012 NY Times Notable Book

I’ll choose a winner at random on Friday, January 11th, 2013. If the winner does not reply with his or her mailing address by Monday, January 14th at noon CST, I’ll choose another winner at random.

If you do not want to sign up for the newsletter but really, really, really want to enter the giveaway, send me an email at amysuenathan @ gmail . com telling me just that, and I’ll enter you that way. I know we don’t all like to get delightful newsletters, even if they are infrequent, and I want to be fair.

If you’ve already signed up for the newsletter, you’re entered. No worries!

I know you have time, but what are you waiting for?

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP AND ENTER TO WIN YOUR ARC!

What did you say? You’ve already pre-ordered the book, now what? First, thank you!! Second, enter anyway! You can have this book signed for yourself— or someone else. Then you can keep the “real” book when it arrives or give it as a gift. So many choices! 🙂

Sign up to win!

Amy xo

The fine print: The Prize is One signed Advance Reading Copy of The Glass Wives, published by St. Martin’s Griffin, mailed to any address in the USA or Canada via USPS.  Who Can Enter – Anyone over the age of 18 with a valid USA or Canada address to receive the prize. Duration of the Giveaway – The giveaway starts when this post goes live and ends at 11:59 pm CST on Thursday, January 10th. The winner will be chosen on January 11th and posted on Women’s Fiction Writers, Facebook, Twitter and the winner will be emailed directly. How to Enter – Sign up for my newsletter or send me an email saying you want to be entered by that you do not want to get the newsletter (I’ll love you anyway, promise). For extra chances add the news to FB or Twitter, but you still have to sign up for the newsletter or send that email. How the Winner is Chosen and Contacted – Random.org will choose the winner and I will email the winner at the email address given in the entry form. The winner has until Monday, January 14, 2013 at noon CST to reply with a valid US mailing address. If there is no reply, another winner will be chosen at random and have 72 hours to accept the prize. And so on, and so on, and so on. Hopefully no more than three so ons.

 

Holiday Hoopla! ARCs Of THE GLASS WIVES Have Landed!

The holidays are a crazy time — and a slow time. Around here, it’s perpetual Sunday. Both my kids are home, with no school, no studying.  They’re staying up late and sleeping late.  Meals are wonky. Schedules are non-existent. I’m still getting work done but not as much as I’d planned.  But—as you may have seen on Facebook or Twitter, my Advance Reading Copies of The Glass Wives arrived!

ARCs

This milestone kicked-off a weekend-long celebration that included:

  • Reading random pages
  • Looking for a few favorite scenes to see how they read “for real”
  • Staring at the font on random pages
  • Holding the book in different positions just to see how it looked
  • Leaving the book in different rooms just to see how it looked
  • Sharing the fun news with friends and family IRL and online
  • Mailing a book to my parents, which resulted in marathon reading, even in the park, in the cold

TGW park

And once we’re all settled into 2013, I’ll have an ARC giveaway, so be sure to check back!

This week, I’m over at The Debutante Ball today instead of tomorrow (see what I mean about wonky holiday schedules?), appropriately talking about Endings. Book endings, specifically.  Don’t worry, there are no spoilers, but it might surprise you to learn how the ending for The Glass Wives actually came to be.  You can check it out here.

Another tidbit that might interest you are the acknowledgments that DIDN’T make it into the book.  There is no dedication or acknowledgments pages in the ARC, and I’m glad, because that’s one final surprise for the folks who do read it.  But there are many who couldn’t or wouldn’t make it into the book…and quite a few reasons why.  You can read The Acknowledgments That Won’t Make It Into My Book on Huffington Post Books, by clicking here.

See you one more time before next year!

Amy xo

I’m Thankful For Big Libraries, Small Towns, And A Smidgen Of Chutzpah

Learning to be an author in addition to being a writer is an interesting process. While in the midst of planning publicity, working on a new website, and sharing news both regularly and prudently (I think both are important), I’m very aware that yes, book sales are going to be an important factor if I don’t want to become a one-book wonder. (No intention of that, mind you, and WIP is coming along nicely, if I do say so myself. Which I do. Also have a tickling of a story for book 3!)

And then last week I learned that THE GLASS WIVES will be published in hardcover for the library market. That means that libraries can purchase a copy (or ten, um, book clubs!) of my novel and it will be sturdier and last longer than the trade paperback edition.  Because libraries are book buyers, this is a good thing. Whether we all like it or not, not everyone can afford to buy every book. And some people can’t afford or choose not to buy any books.  And this doesn’t mean they’re not book lovers or voracious readers. It means that I want libraries to have copies of my book so that everyone who wants to read it has the opportunity to do so, no matter where they choose to obtain their [legal, I’m looking at you, book pirating sites] copy.

The point here is to garner the attention of readers any way possible. This is not lost on me.

So, after I was finished with a personal celebration, knowing that my editor and publisher have confidence that libraries will want to stock-up on THE GLASS WIVES, I printed out THE GLASS WIVES page from the St. Martin’s Griffin Spring catalog, the first three pages, and a copy of the cover. And I marched my debut author behind over to the library in my town.

Small town. Big new library.

I introduced myself to the adult services librarian, leading with “I live in Small Town and St. Martin’s Press is publishing my first novel in May.”  Yes, that is a way to get a librarian’s attention. She was lovely, and interested, and her smile stretched across her face. She asked if she could shake my hand (heartily, I might add) to congratulate me.  She asked questions about how long it took me to write it, the agent-process, and she made many correct assumptions about the excitement level in my brain and heart.  The librarian needed to pass along my information (complete with actual telephone number) to the person who purchases fiction for the library because of course she was at lunch when I showed up.

I’m fortunate to live in an educated, education-centric community. I’m in contact with the local book club that started in 1938 and boasts over 100 members. It’s also not lost on me that the fact that THE GLASS WIVES is set in a Chicago suburb and about a divorced mom, and that I LIVE in a Chicago suburb and am a divorced mom, may send 9200 locals scampering for the book in stores, online, in this very library, looking for something or someone familiar, looking for answers and insights to my real life, or—gasp—theirs. They won’t find it, but hey, I’m no dummy.

I just nod and say, “You’ll have to read the book.”

Amy xo

A short synopsis of THE GLASS WIVES has now popped up on Goodreads! You can see that by clicking here—and if you’re so inclined to add it to your “to read” list, I think that gets you on Santa’s good list. I know it gets you on mine. xo

A Book Cover Is Worth A Thousand Words…And A Sneak Peek Inside!

Okay, it’s more like this cover is worth 84,000 words.

My words.

I’m beyond thrilled to officially share the cover for The Glass Wives. Can’t wait to hold this baby in my hands. Okay, yes, I did print a copy and wrap it around another book, you know, just for kicks, but you know what I mean.

Big hugs and thanks to an amazing cover designer and my editor Brenda Copeland, and the team at St. Martin’s, who have always had the perfect vision for The Glass Wives.

And this is proof.

Take a look. Don’t you just want to reach out and sip from one of those cups? What does this cover say to you?

To me it says: OHMYGODI’MGOINGTOBEAPUBLISHEDAUTHOR!

And a special thank you to Randy Susan Meyers, a wonderful author and mentor, for her kind words which my publisher deemed just right for the front cover. It feels like a hug from a friend to see her name there with mine!

I hope you like it as much as I do!

Amy xo

And there’s more!!

Wouldn’t you know it? Just as I was wrapping up my Debutante Ball post for today, I received an email from my editor with sample pages of my book. And she said I could share them here with you! Truly? This is like Christmas! Or it would be if I celebrated Christmas.

If you click below, you can get a sneak peek of the INSIDE of THE GLASS WIVES! I love the fonts, the design. Heck, I love the page numbers. It’s not the final-final-final version, which means if you catch a mistake, it won’t be there in May. It also means you get to read the first three pages!

The Glass Wives-1  <— click here

Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Amy xo

My (No) Cover Story

While THE GLASS WIVES is now listed on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble, it is there without its cover.  It’s a little frustrating, I know. I assume that one day I’ll just pop over there and the cover will be there, the same way I popped over last Monday and the book was listed. Publishing is full of fits and starts, surprises and delays.  But frankly, when the waiting results in something so cool as my book for sale, I’m okay with the waiting. Probably because I’ve seen the cover — or what I hope will be the cover — but the buck doesn’t stop here and I cannot share. Yet. I LOVE the cover and hope you will all love her too. (Yes, the cover is feminine. And since it’s women’s fiction, it totally works for me.)

So here I sit.  I do visit the sites several times an hour per day per week to see what, if anything, has changed.  I count the “likes,” I watch the rank, even though I’m not sure what any of it means or if it really means anything at all.

As I wait for the image to magically appear online — I look at other book covers.  What draws me in? What makes me pass? What colors appeal to me? What images make me cringe? (Sorry, Fabio.)

I’ve notice the trends in a lot of women’s fiction that includes cropped parts of women’s bodies or the backs of heads.  I like those covers. I like NOT seeing faces because I like discovering a character’s face on my own, in my own head.  But the back of a head, or an arm, or dangling legs? Yes, that evokes the right tone for many novels.  I also notice a lot of flowers on book covers for books that are not about flowers.  Flowers are pretty, so that makes sense to me.  I don’t require literal covers for the books I pick up — just something eye-catching. What confuses me sometimes is then a cover does not really convey the tone of the book.  I may pick up a book because I like the cover, read it and love it and realize the cover has nothing to do with the book and is even a little misleading.

I was fortunate to meet my cover designer this summer and that’s the only message I passed along, when asked. I didn’t have a specific image in mind for THE GLASS WIVES, I didn’t have colors I loved, or really anything I hated.  All I wanted was that the cover convey the tone of the book.  For example, whimsical covers are very popular. Cutesy covers are adorable and I always pick them up, but I didn’t think either would fit the novel, and my editor agreed.  And lucky — so did everyone else who has a hand in the cover process like marketing and sales.  Did you know they have a say? Now you do!

While we wait for the cover of THE GLASS WIVES to be officially released – tell me what you like about certain book covers and what you don’t like.  Tell me what you’d never pick up in a gazillion years.  Tell me what you think of this body-part trend and what other trends you’ve noticed in book covers.

Please help me pass the time as I patiently await the next part of this story!

How Much Truth Is In (My) Fiction? Or…what do you mean it’s not about you?

My all-time favorite story about being a writer is from the day my first column was published in the Chicago Tribune in December 2007.  It was a piece about holiday cookies.  No recipes, just a story about the diversity of holiday cookies and how they don’t kvetch about being on the same plate. You get the gist.  My  friend’s mom read it, called her and said, “I didn’t know Amy was a baker!”

My friend replied, “Amy’s not a baker, Mom.  She’s a writer.”

As you can imagine I’ve been talking a lot about my writing since Friday when news of THE GLASS WIVES and its premise about a woman, compelled to live with her ex-husband’s widow in order to save the home she loves, all while scandals erupt in their suburban paradise, became public.

Point of fact – I am a divorced mom in a small town whose children’s father passed away many years ago, and obviously people who know me personally, know this.

So, what’s the first question people who know me ask?

“Is this book about you?”

The answer is no.

But, I realize (now) that it is a reasonable assumption to think the answer is yes, even though everyone who knows me knows that I don’t live with anyone besides my kids and our dogs and in the book the main character lives with her ex-husband’s young widow.

I realize (now) that it is a reasonable assumption to think the answer is yes even though me + scandal = me +  roller coaster. Not. gonna. happen. in. this. lifetime.

I realize (now) that it is a reasonable assumption to think the answer is yes even though the book blurb states the main character needs to save her home. The only thing that needs saving around my house is the growing pile of laundry.

It IS reasonable to think that the story is my story.

I also think it’s reasonable for me to think you’ll believe me when I say it’s not, so I’ll explain.

Truth is a springboard for fiction. (Word choice thanks to genius, non-writer bff)

Or, like my dear author friend Randy Susan Meyers said about her amazing book, THE MURDERER’S DAUGHTERS:

“No. It’s not me — it’s nuggets of all my fixations blown up into a world of crazy.”

Yeah. Like that.

I mined my own life and plugged in a thousand “what ifs”  and the result is THE GLASS WIVES.

It was a fun and creative, if not exhaustive, process as I discovered I loved writing fiction.

When writing fiction that is believable emotional truths are essential — so the fact that I have wonderful friends and family enabled me to write some characters that aren’t so wonderful at all.  Knowing what it’s like to have a best friend for thirty years enabled me to write a friend who’s willing to drop someone like a hot potato.  I have many friends who have sisters, and my main character has a sister.  It doesn’t mean I wish I had a sister instead of a brother, it means I used the truths in my life to create a world that doesn’t exist.  You know, like JK Rowling but without Hogwarts or magic or Voldemort or spells.  Ok, nothing like JK Rowling, but I did see an interview with her where she said that because she’d lost her parents she was able to write about Harry being an orphan.  It doesn’t mean she wishes she was an orphan as a child or felt like one or thought she was magic.

Fiction is a compilation of emotional truths that writers stretch and mold to fit the needs of a particular story.

For example, I’ve lived in ranch houses for the past eighteen years or so.  My characters live in a two-story colonial.  I promise you I do not wish that my house had a second floor, but it was fun to IMAGINE creaking stairs, kids jumping off the steps and landing with a thud, what might be at the bottom of the steps.

Another nugget of wisdom passed onto me by Randy is this:

“I recently read in The Nobodies Album, a novel by Carolyn Parkhurst, the butter that I can finally put in the cookies, a phrase from Parkhurst’s the main character, a writer, who muses: “There’s an analogy I came up with once for an interview who asked me how much of my material was autobiographical. I said that the life experience of a fiction writer is like butter in cookie dough: it’s a crucial part of flavor and texture — you certainly couldn’t leave it out — but if you’ve done it right, it can’t be discerned as a separate element. There shouldn’t be a place that anyone can point to and say, There — she’s talking about her miscarriage, or Look — he wrote that because his wife has an affair.”

I hope I never forget the phrase (and that I always give proper thanks to Ms. Parkhurst) the butter in cookie dough. What a perfect capture for fiction — taking the elemental issues with which one struggles, giving those problems to one’s characters, and kneading those thorny emotional themes that haunt into the thoughts, minds, and actions of those characters until, hopefully, you can beat that sucker into submission.”

It’s exciting to know that my novel will be published and my words read. I hope that all of you reading this and everyone you know will read THE GLASS WIVES and maybe think a little differently about the composition and meaning of family.

I wrote and published essays and articles for years before even attempting fiction.  I never even made up bedtime stories for my kids because I didn’t think I could.  Now I’m at a point where I don’t write much non-fiction anymore (if you discount this blog, although I’d rather you didn’t) because my life is like any other life. I’m living it. It’s personal – and it’s pretty much the day-to-day existence of a working single mom with a kid in college and a kid in high school and two crazy dogs and a pile of laundry. Or six.

I’d rather write believable fiction by combining my experiences with my imagination, insight, intuition and research to create people, places, events, problems and solutions that don’t exist but that could exist.

Does the fact that I don’t want to write about my life mean I’m boring?

I think it means I’m an author.

(OMG, I’m an author!)