News: I Wrote a Book!

I wrote a book. A novel, to be more specific.

It’s really exciting! Or it was… when I finished it. Last year. Since then, it’s been less exciting and more a test of patience and endurance. Query letters, sample chapters, short synopses, long synopses. The occasional request for the full manuscript.

Between form letters, the literary agents who have responded have been kind and encouraging, yet that hasn’t led to any actual offers. I understand. They are flooded with submissions, it’s risky to take a chance on an unknown writer, and they don’t know me.

Several months ago, I gave up. No more queries to agents. I simply put my finished book aside and went on to writing my next book. But I still love my first book and I don’t want to leave it sitting on my laptop, unread. Especially, when I have other options.

So I’m moving on to Plan B: self-publishing.

To agents, I’m an unknown writer. But I know my writing, and I’m willing to take a chance on it.

After researching the options, my game plan is coming together. Today’s step is this post, publicly announcing my plan to publish. It feels like a big step.

Over the next few weeks, as I finish one final round of proofreading and pull everything together, I’ll be posting updates and thoughts about the self-publishing process. Before the end of September, I plan to have my book for sale online.


I’m so very grateful to my friends and family who have helped me get to this point. From reading my early drafts to offering advice and encouragement, every bit of support has meant the world to me.

Stay tuned… and we’ll see how this adventure plays out together!

*Update: The Insistence of Memory is now available on Amazon.com!

Inside Joss’ Dollhouse: Part 2

As I blogged about a few months ago, an essay I wrote about Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse is going to be included in an anthology by Smart Pop Books. And, said anthology is edited by none other than the amazing Jane Espenson. (!)

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon.com and is set to be released in early October (2010). But guess what turned up in my mail yesterday? Yep, a few advance copies from the publisher!

There are 18 essays in the anthology. I have read several of them and I’m rapidly working my way through the rest. You’ll probably say that I’m a bit biased, but I think it’s a great collection of essays for any fan of Joss/Dollhouse.

Actually, if you’re a pop culture fan and have never read a Smart Pop book, you must immediately check them out. Generally, their anthologies include essays from established writers* that delve into all sorts of wacky elements of your favorite TV shows, movies, comics and books. (*the Dollhouse anthology is an exception, being all fan submissions regardless of professional writing status)

You can even try them out by reading a free essay online every weekday. (I was hooked a few years ago when I discovered Seven Seasons of Buffy.)

I had a lot of fun writing my Dollhouse essay. Of course, by the time I found out about the contest, I was scrambling to write it in time—so that part was a hair stressful—and as soon as I submitted it I found about 80,000 things I wished I had changed. (A.k.a. the way I usually feel after submitting writing to anyone.)

Luckily, once it was selected, the editor from Smart Pop books who helped me polish it up was phenomenal. She really helped me narrow in my theme, throw out some unnecessary digressions and stop over complicating my main idea. So I’m pretty happy with the end result. (I kinda wish I divided it with sub-headings, but live and learn.)

If you pick up the book and happen to find your way to this post, I’d love to hear what you think of my essay or about the anthology in general. My essay is “Negative Space in the ‘House: How Caroline is the Vase.” It’s the one comparing personality in Dollhouse to the optical illusion of Rubin’s vase. The theory might be a bit out there, but it’s what I kept thinking throughout the series. Anyone else have a similar thought?

P.S. I miss Dollhouse.

Inside Joss’ Dollhouse: Part 1

As some of you already know, I had news the other day that left me somewhat speechless (blog-less?). An essay I wrote about Dollhouse (the TV show – not the Lundby variety) is going to be included in an anthology of fan essays from Smart Pop Books: Inside Joss’ Dollhouse! Best of all, the (completely unauthorized) anthology is edited by none other than the amazingly talented Jane Espenson!

For a Whedonist geek girl like me, this is extraordinary, over-the-moon, Cheshire-grin-for-days-and-days news. There are so many layers of goodness to this news that I’m prone to fits of girlish glee at the thought of it all. (I’m neither girlish nor gleeful on an average day)

When I first heard about the essay contest, I thought it would be cool to explore an idea I’d been batting around since the first few Dollhouse episodes. Then I read on and learned that Jane Espenson (Jane Espenson!!!) would be the Editor of the anthology. Which made me all the more determined to submit my own contribution.

The idea that Jane Espenson has read (and enjoyed) something I wrote is thrilling to me. She’s written for Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Tru Calling, etc. etc. Of course, she’s also written for Dollhouse, including one of my favorite episodes: Briar Rose. Though, funny enough, that episode didn’t make it into my Dollhouse essay.

So what is my essay about? Essentially, it’s a philosophical look at what constitutes personality in the Dollhouse mythos, and how it compares to positive/negative space as represented by Rubin’s Vase (the optical illusion that shows both a vase and two faces in silhouette). It’s an idea that occurred to me early on in the series and deepened as the show moved forward. I don’t know if other Dollhouse fans will agree with my comparisons, but I love having a chance to share my theory in this anthology.

If you’ve read other Smart Pop Books anthologies, such as Finding Serenity or Serenity Found (great books for Firefly fans; also Edited by Jane Espenson) you know that they cover a diverse range of subjects. Like Firefly vs. The Tick, which includes an entirely enlightening analysis of evil mustaches in the Verse, or the thoughtful look at Zoe and Wash in More Than a Marriage of Convenience. (Just two of the essays from Finding Serenity that instantly came to mind a year or more after reading it.)

I can’t wait to read this Dollhouse anthology. I’m sure to love some and hate others (in that love-to-hate-a-differing-opinion sort of way). No matter the emotions, I expect it will be a great read to help me cope with the reality that Dollhouse has actually ended (too soon).

The book is due to be published in the fall, but is available for pre-order on Amazon now. Check it out, tell your friends. With any luck, the Dollhouse season 2 DVD will be out by then and you can have a whole Dollhouse marathon before diving in to the essays. (You know you want to!)