Promises, tears, and magic

Remember back when I won a book on Goodreads and it led to me accidentally working with an author?

On May 13th, that manuscript, the one I got to read and puzzle over and love – it was published.

Suzy (I call her that cuz we’re tight, remember?) and I probably shot pieces of this book back and forth over the course of four or five months? Let’s call it six because that makes it sound like we did half a year’s worth of hard work and let me tell you, writing is hard work. She’s a total hack-n-slasher; she’ll remove entire sections, if necessary, in order to make her story go the right way. It’s like she is all the forces of nature wreaking havoc upon her poor characters but the result is amazing. In turn, her early readers are like FEMA workers in that they have to see what the lay of the land looks like after the restructuring. We’re responsible for testing the new spots, making sure everything fits together, sometimes reading the same thing over and over again. It’s a lot of work and I don’t think I’ve enjoyed or taken as seriously any other project in my entire grown-up life.

Anyhow, when time was up and she had to relinquish her baby to the publishing house, she told me I’d been a big help. I don’t know how much I believed her – my opinions are only opinions, after all – but it was nice to hear nonetheless. She reaffirmed she was going to put me in the acknowledgements, something she’d said a million times already, but this time she said I would be first. Again, I don’t know that I fully believed her because I know I get overly-enthusiastic about stuff from time to time and make promises only to forget them later. She asked me how I wanted my name to appear and if I wanted her to say anything specific. I said I wanted my full name because I’m vain and no one would be able to doubt it was me she was acknowledging but, otherwise, she could say whatever she wanted. Then I promptly forgot about all of this. Well, not forgot but it sort of went to my background consciousness.

As the publication date drew closer, I started hyping the book to co-workers, friends, and family, using the “You should buy this book because I’ll be in the acknowledgements” line but even then, I don’t think I really knew what that meant until April 18th when Suzy announced on Facebook that the pre-order was live and that if you went to Amazon and did the “Look inside!” trick, you’d see the people she’d tagged in the acknowledgements. I did as instructed and then died.

Talk about making good on promises.

People, when you say you’re going to do something, do it big like Suzanne Palmieri. I cannot tell you what this did to me (but I’m going to anyway).

Here’s the book:

Go get this book. If this isn't your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

Go get this book. If this isn’t your kind of story, buy it as a gift for someone else. Just go get it.

And here’s the Acknowledgements page which is right at the beginning:

Yes. That's me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Yes. That’s me. The very first acknowledgement, just as promised.

Not only am I first, but I have my own sentence. Two of them, actually. If you read the book, you’ll appreciate the sweetness of “shine,” too.

When I saw this, I cried. Not pretty little tears trickling down my cheek at a beautiful pace. No, it was the out-n-out snotty nose, puffy eyes cry, the Ugly Cry. You would think ugly-crying would not be the proper response to finding out you were mentioned with gratitude in a book and got a place of honor surrounded by swirly, lovely words but the thing is, not only had I not been expecting something this big, this special, but about ten days earlier, I had found out my mom has cancer and I’d been in a bad place ever since. So seeing this was a gift, a hug, a bit of love on the wind coming to give me comfort during a turbulent bit of life. Yes, of course, part of my joy was centered around my vanity – who doesn’t want to see her name in print, right? But it was more than that, two things more, to be precise.

One: My mother was going to be able to see this before she dies. I owe her and her mother, ZZ, credit for my reading addiction. Because they showed me how to love words, my name gets to live with words. My mom always wanted to be a novelist but never got around to it. I think she has the same hope for me but even if I never make it, this is close. I loved seeing her smile when I gave her this book and she read those words. I can keep that with me forever.

Two: Praise is a wonderful thing but, for me, it’s what’s behind the praise that means the most. I know that I helped Suzy, that I gave her a piece of me and she was able to weave my thoughts and suggestions into her story, that she was able to take what we all gave her and she made something that was already good into something absolutely…well…magical.

I feel the shine. Can’t you?

The Witch of Belladonna Bay is available at Barnes & Noble, Target, Amazon, and other fine book retailers or you can order it through your local bookstore. Can’t buy it? Try the library!


Filed under Adventures, My journey to writerhood, My Opinions on STUFF

22 responses to “Promises, tears, and magic

  1. “Because they showed me how to love words, my name gets to live with words.” Love this…((((hugs)))))

    • Awww, thanks! For stopping by and commenting, for loving what I said, and for hugs. Thank you for all of it, new stalker/stalkee!

  2. Congratulations!! It’s super cool to know someone who is published! WTG Erica!

    • Yes, you know someone famous now.
      If you buy the book, I will totally sign the acknowledgements page for you. Heh heh heh (no, really, I would do that)

  3. This is beautiful. All of it. Much like you, darling! I’m really glad you got to share this with your mother. ❤

    • Oh, thank you, beloved boyfriend of the internet.
      Such a roller coaster of emotions but this little gift tied everything together nicely, I think.
      Getting the book, I mean.
      Well, also your comment because your comments are always delightful and usually very loving and sweet, so that’s always a nice gift.
      Gah. I’m going to go shut up now.

      • No worries. I’ve been shutting up all day. It seems to be going around.

        Wait, does that make any sense at all? Probably not. Dang. Sorry!

        • Bwahahahaha! We are having problems with English today.
          and I love you so much because of that.
          the problems with English, I mean.

          I’m not even drinking! WTH!?
          Well, no, I mean, I AM but it’s just water and lemon, not alcohol.

          • Water and Lemon is supposed to be really good for you, so probably it’s not to blame. Brains are funny things, dude. Very funny things. Not funny-ha-ha, either. Although sometimes they are, because humor’s a thing.

            Achtung! Pelligro! Danger! [reboot from start]

            • Yeah, I’ve heard about The Humor.
              I’m always worried I’ll get it.
              I have enough problems already.

              And now I love you more for the Achtung! Pelligro! Danger!
              Pretend I’m hugging the hell out of your head and squealing way too loudly right now. Because that’s what would be happening if we were in the same room. It would be alarming for everyone.

              • It might even be alarming for me, because today is one of those days when I’m not even sure how to be a person. Skin? How does having that work? I HAVE NO IDEA. So screaming would be a little bit frightening. Like a big ball, or something.

                I totally stole Achtung! Pelligro! Danger! from your sidebar! Since I read that, it’s one of the little things I frequently say to myself, especially on the internet. Today has been full of A!P!D! so it seemed appropriate.

                And now I’m whining about my mental state in your comments-section, so I am going to go curl into a sad-ball somewhere where I’m not doing that. Love you, sweetie. Congratulations on being in an acknowledgement!

                • Yay for instability!
                  Only…not really. Not yay at all.
                  You go have your fetal times. I hope it helps a little. I hope you have something soft to hold or to lie upon. And I hope it’s dark and warm where you are and that you just accidentally drift off to sleep and wake feeling magically better. Or magically delicious. Whichever you prefer.
                  I’m going to go to bed and hope to wake up feeling at least functional.

                  Tomorrow’s another day, Scarlet.

                  I love you, too. You are one of the MOST BEST people.

  4. I am so thrilled for you and would love to shoot off a rocket launcher full of fireworks that spell out “YOU TOTALLY ROCK, MS AUTHORESS-BY-ASSOCIATION!” but I have no fireworks, or even a rocket launcher. This is an unforgivable lack of planning on my part. I shall have to be content with saying WOW I can’t believe someone I (sort of) know helped get an actual novel published, which is out in the world and I can’t wait to borrow it from the library 😉 Also thanks for the link to the exposition post; how absolutely fantastic for you to see and work behind the scenes and gain inspiration for your own writing! If you wrote a book I would borrow it from the library in a heartbeat.

    • YAY! Pretend fireworks work just as well as real ones AND they are a whole lot safer so…I’ll take them!
      St. Martin’s publishes in Australia, yes? If so, you guys should be getting this book soon. Soonish, at least. Definitely make sure your library buys a copy or two (or twenty)

    • We’re working on her next book right now. I just sent it back this week with notes and we talked over it all last night. I can’t wait to see how it turns out in book form! That’s the most exciting part.

      • OMG are you are like her official writing partner now? Even a co-author? Shit no wonder you’re not blogging as much lately! THATISTOTALLYFINEOFCOURSEIMNOTTRYINGTOGUILTYOUORANYTHINGJUSTFORGETIMENTIONEDIT.
        So stoked. (I STILL haven’t read WOBB though; not at QBD and is still ‘on order’ at my library but I’m first in the hold queue. They better hurry the hell up because I just finished Simon Pegg’s autobiog and the next book on my bookshelf is The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon. And it’s looooooong.)

        • Do you know what I am doing RIGHT NOW? Aside from writing this comment, I mean. I’m editing tomorrow’s ghost story and I mention YOU in it because it takes place in YOUR neck of the world! I’m hoping it spurs you into research mode and you come back with your own set of haunted stories that relate to what you found out about my story. Because that is how it would work in the movies and this is kind of like the movies.
          Anyway, I wouldn’t say I’m a writing partner in any sense. Just a helper. An overly-honest helper. She’s got a couple of us, plus her editor and her publishy people. I’m part of a team, really.
          But, seriously: If you want to send me your mailing address, which you can now do via Facebook, as I am a stalker, I will send you an American copy of Belladonna Bay. Hell, I’ll even sign it by my name. 🙂 This is not a joke, I’d really send you your own copy. Because this book needs to become international.

          • I had to take a day or so just to process what you said to me… and work out the appropriate level of grovel. First, the shoutout in your post (and ideas for some spooky-ish stories) … thank you so much! Second, I’m practically a stranger and you’re offering to send me your almost-foster-child in the post. That is supermega generous and totally unexpected; I reallly hope it didn’t seem like I was fishing for a freebie! BUT I did belatedly realise there was something I could do while I was waiting, so I found a copy of The Witch of Little Italy, the story that started all this for you. I’m an idiot, I could’ve thought of that weeks ago.
            Third, your Haunted Highway post freaked me out – and not to freak YOU out or anything but yes, our forests and isolated highways are very creepy. And that’s even without knowing how many backpackers and travellers have been murdered or gone missing from or been dug up in them. Am very glad you guys put your foot down and just got the hell outta there!

  5. Loved your piece, loved that you got acknowledged.

    • Thank you!
      I love that you stopped by and left a comment!
      I still tell people about meeting you in the little cafe in New Orleans during the American Library Association conference. That was, what? Two years ago? You made a strong impression.
      I look VERY forward to reading your latest post soon because it sounds amazing! Doing voiceover work seems quite interesting.

  6. Hi Erica! Haven’t seen you here in a while, just hoping everything’s ok. Or that if it maybe isn’t, that it soon might be a little more ok.
    From a random friend across the world, thinking of you x

    • Hello, friend!
      Thank you for checking in on me. It’s taken me a few months to wander back here and I’m not here for good, but I wanted to tell you I appreciate your thoughtfulness. Thank you so much!

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