So what have I been up to in the middle of the first month of the launch of The Robot Scientist’s Daughter? Well, I’ve sent out all my postcards by now, I did my first reading in the middle of a torrential storm on Bainbridge Island. Now I’m prepping for my Seattle book launch reading and party on Thursday, April 16 at Jack Straw Cultural Center – I helped Glenn put together a flyer which we still need to put up in a few places, wrote and sent out a PR release for it, and created a Facebook event for it. I also edited (along with partner Kelly Davio) a really fun manuscript for the Gailey and Davio Writers’ Services, went back and edited and reorganized my own fifth manuscript, did some tax work and…Whew! Now I need a nap!
Speaking of…Achy, tired, brain-foggy, fatigued, need to nap in the middle of the day? In my experience, it’s possible that it’s not all in your head. My thyroid meds were doubled a few months ago, but after some blood tests a couple of days ago, my TSH is still higher than it has been in years, which means more tweaking is needed, and possibly another ultrasound of my pesky thyroid nodule. On the plus side, my b12 is almost completely low-normal now, not just low, and the number is higher than it’s been in ten years, so that’s good news!
Anyway, whenever I’m having trouble sleeping – sleeping too much, or not enough enough, feel grumpy and brain-foggy all the time, it’s usually either my thyroid acting up or my lack of b12 that’s to blame. Which is good, because I’ve been exercising and eating less and otherwise attempting a healthy lifestyle, and it’s so frustrating when you’re still tired and heavier than you want to be after all that work. At least now I know why! Hopefully the little tweak in my thyroid medication will result in a more energetic me in time for the Seattle book launch!
Thanks to Jim McKeown at KWBU in Texas for this feature on Becoming the Villainess, my first book of poetry.
And a new blog post up at the Gailey and Davio Writers’ Services blog on Poetry Book Cover Art. well, if you’ve ever struggled with what makes for good and interesting cover art for a poetry book, I hope it’ll be helpful!
Thanks to all of you who have bought The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, reviewed it on Amazon and Goodreads, or talked about it on your blog. I can’t tell you how much it perks up my day when I see something related to the new book! The first month of releasing a book feels so fraught with peril, to borrow the cliche – you worry no one will like it, or no one will talk about it, or no one will buy it or come to your readings…so any little lift kind of acts as a calming agent to that time of fraughtness.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I hope you are enjoying some spring weather wherever you are. I always like to take today to remember to read a little Irish poetry and some Irish fairy tales. I found out recently through DNA that I am almost 70 percent Irish genetically, though neither set of my grandparents really knew much or talked much about their Irish heritage. (I may also watch The Secret of Kells, which, though set on the ancient Scottish island of Iona, depicts beautifully pieces of ancient Irish folk culture, including a Miyazaki-esque spirit-fairy-type character who can change into a white wolf, and follows the history of the famously illustrated and historically-important-to-Ireland Book of Kells, which you can view online here.) You can also support a genuinely Irish poetry press by buying a copy of Unexplained Fevers (published by New Binary Press) today!
I’m blogging elsewhere today – on Tahoma Review’s blog about Poetry and Science!
We had a lovely reading on Bainbridge on Sunday and got to see some good friends there, though we had a nasty storm that day (that made the three-hour round trip commute, complete with hydroplaning on waterlogged roadways, a bit dicey). I am thankful for my poetry community that turned out despite the deluge and it was nice to see Eagle Harbor Books, a charming Bainbridge Island bookstore. Here’s a pic from the event, with my fellow reader Carol Levin and some local poets and spouses – you may recognize some current and former Crab Creek Review and Two Sylvias editors in there!
Speaking of Two Sylvias Press, I think you should sneak a peek at April’s issue of Oprah Magazine, which features the fab local women-run press on one of its pages!
Sunday Robot Scientist’s Daughter reading on Bainbridge; new review of Unexplained Fevers; a little post-publication letdown
First, my very first reading for The Robot Scientist’s Daughter happens Sunday, March 15 at 3 PM on Bainbridge Island at charming local bookstore Eagle Harbor Books, where I’ll be reading with Carol Levin. Hope to see some of you there! Read more about it on their site here.
And I have to say thank you to The Next Best Book Club and their reviewer Lindsey for this unexpected review of Unexplained Fevers.
Another unexpected attention for Unexplained Fevers is Sundress Publications’ Best Dressed Feature (that was “Sleeping Beauty Loves the Needle) this whole last week. Here’s the newest: “Rapunzel Considers the Desert.” Thanks Sundress Publications!
So it’s very funny, when you start sending out review copies for one book, sometimes there is accidental attention to your other books it seems! As a writer of poetry, I’m always grateful for attention to my work, no matter when it arrives!
It’s interesting, but there’s sort of a letdown when your new book actually comes out—at first you’re all excited when the book arrives, you take a picture of the box of books, and you send out your e-mails and postcards, and people congratulate you—but that sense that well, maybe nothing will happen with this book, maybe everyone will hate it, starts to creep in after, say, a week. I know I have friends who call me right after their book actually makes it out—not when it’s accepted, but when it’s out into the world—to say how much they hate the book, how other people will hate it, etc—so I know it’s not just me. (Plus, Sylvia Plath killed herself the month after her book The Bell Jar was released, which is not really ever discussed, but I’m sure it contributed to her depression—like oh, the book isn’t getting the attention is deserved, etc.) So even though I’m technically just going to my first event this Sunday for The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, and I’m very grateful to already have a few reviews of the book out there this early—I’m feeling a bit of discouragement, letdown, fear of failure, like oh, this is my fourth book, and I’m still struggling? Like I said, I’m only talking about this here because I feel it is a fairly common phenomenon, and you and all your friends should be ready for it, and have a little party/get-together/ice-cream-coffee-preparedness session in the works. My “official” Seattle book launch isn’t until April 16, which is still a month away, but I think it’s a good thing to have an official celebration, to invite your friends, to have some champagne and chocolate and say “Yes, I did this thing!”
None of this means I’m not extremely grateful for the good things people have said about the book so far (I really am!), it just means that sometimes our negative voices can talk over the positive ones, and we have to guard against that as writers. It’s always: when I get my book accepted, when it gets published, when it gets reviewed, well, things are going to change. And then that happens four times, and things still don’t really change. But I still have goals, I’m still working on the next manuscript, sending out my apocalypse poems: that’s what I have to focus on. Stop checking my Amazon ranks and get to work on the next thing.
If you listen to “The Record” on KUOW today at noon, from 12:25 PM to 1 PM, you may hear me read a poem commemorating the fourth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, about the sunflowers that were planted to uptake cesium from radioactively contaminated soil. If it’s any good, all the credit goes to Elizabeth Austen, who recorded and edited our segment on Fukushima and Oso.
And the podcast will be available later on in the afternoon (think 5 PM Pacific time and afterwards) at this link:
This has been a crazy busy week, plus I was kind of knocked out by the time change (fell asleep accidentally around dinner time two days in a row) but I had to take a second to photograph some of the early cherry blossom frenzy here and to walk through a farm and pet a miniature horse who put out her little nose for me to scratch (hoping for apples?) and watch some baby goats jumping and frisking around a couple of rocks at our local farm/park. (Farrel-McWhirter Park in Redmond—I highly recommend it for both animal lovers and people with kids.) Do you ever get the feeling you’re trying to squeeze in moments of “real life” in between work, doctor’s appointments, physical therapy, errands, etc? Yeah, me neither
Let’s see, I’m doing my first reading for the new book, The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, this Sunday at Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island (3 PM with Carol Levin) and I’m looking forward to it—it’s a lovely bookstore and I love seeing my island-living friends out there—but I’m also strangely nervous. It’s a tough book to pick poems from, for some reason, and because the poems are a little more personal, harder to read out loud.
I wish I could tell you I was being some kind of PR wizard with the book but honestly I still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I ambitiously set out to do. Maybe that is a thing for all poets—most of us have so much else going on, including our writing (!!), that we barely have time to do any promotion for those books we worked so hard to write, send out for publication, and then, after years of suffering, patience, and hard work, have published! And you sort of wish people knew about your book without you having to tell them about it, right? (This is why famous writers have PR people! It saves so much psychic draining.) That’s also why every author is so grateful when someone reviews their book on Goodreads or tweets about it or mentions it on their blog at all because it means “Hey, someone besides me cares about the book!”
I hope it’s all right to document the trials and tribulations of the book’s launch here, and I hope it’s helpful to someone. And thank you to everyone who has mentioned my little book, even if it’s just to your mom or your friend.