Category Archives: My New Novel

A New Book Contract!

Contracts are due to land on my desk today for the publication of my latest book, Martini Moon.

This is sweet for me for a variety of reasons.

First, I love this book, and am more than delighted that I will be able to share it with my small, deeply-disturbed fan base.

Secondly, this indicates to me that the economy is on the upswing. Not only did the Dow close above 10,000 yesterday, and a headline today reads “Recession Ends in 79 Metro Areas,” but I got a book contract.  That means my publisher is investing in me and my readers, libraries, and the book buying public in general. We will not let them down.  Publishing provides jobs, from artists to copyeditors to box manufacturers to bookstore baristas.

And, of course, the sale of this book provides both public and private confirmation that I’m writing what people want to read. One person told me one time that I write “grim stories about unattractive people.” This is true. I do not write Danielle Steele books. But the people I write about are the people I know about. They’re real people. Real people have grim stories and many of them are unattractive. But they all have the spark of the beautiful inside them. This story, a mystery, is also about the little guy fighting city hall for what’s right.

I don’t have a publication date yet for Martini Moon. Most likely this time next year. Stay tuned, either here or on my website at www.elizabethengstrom.com.

I’ll let you  know when the launch party is.

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Filed under Beauty, editors, My New Novel, Personalities, Promotion, Reading, Writing

Has Summer Destroyed my Work Ethic?

I’m out of practice. Out of sync.

And I think it’s because I don’t have a deadline.

Normally, I get up, get coffee, and get to work. I stop briefly for breakfast with the husband and dog, and then I’m back at it until I’ve either finished my page count or am ready to shoot myself because the words won’t flow. Fiction, nonfiction, school papers… I get up and go to work.  My deadlines are met, my papers are in on time, and I get books written.

Not any more. This summer I seem to have begun to hone the fine art of fiddling around. Like now. It’s 10:40: prime writing time for me, as I’m my fictional best in the morning and the worst in the afternoon, and what am I doing? Blogging. Sweeping the kitchen floor. Doing the dishes. Brushing the dog. Hanging out on Facebook.

Frittering.

Well. The summer will soon be over and I’ll have not only my thesis to write, but school papers, not to mention the current novel in progress, which I’m deeply into in my mind, but clearly not on the page. So this has been a nice summer break, puttering in the garden and making delicious home made bread for Al’s sandwiches, but the time has come to get a renewed grip on myself.

Henceforth: I will get up in the morning, get coffee, and get to work, and I will not fritter until my page count is in on fiction or I have accomplished a nonfiction goal.

This is the way things get done in my office.

This is the way my books are written. Not by inspiration, but by daily page count.

Here we go…

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Filed under Coffee, My New Novel, time, Writing

Pre-Ordering When Darkness Loves Us

You can now see more information as well as pre-order your copy of When Darkness Loves Us from the Publisher here.

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My New Old Novel(s)

Apex Books just announced the new cover for the re-release of my very first published book. I’m very pleased with it, and I’m very pleased with Apex Books. You can see more information here, but for now, here’s the new cover:

When Darkness Loves Us cover art

When Darkness Loves Us cover art

Don’t forget that the book launch will be at Orycon in Portland, OR, this November.

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New Cover Art!

The cover art for my new book has just been released. I’m very happy with it. Stay tuned for more details.

Darkness Cover

Darkness Cover

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My ugly first draft

I think the members of my writing group are saints. I have just started reading a new book to them, and it is the ugliest first draft ever.

I began last night, prefacing my reading with: “For at least the first forty pages, I’m feeling my way along, trying to figure out the design of this book…” and while they liked what I offered, and had incredibly astute insight about a few things, I sure feel odd about it.

After all, we all like to put our best foot forward, right?

Well, maybe not in your writing group. It pays to be willing to be vulnerable, and this is a safe place to do it.

I’ve always been an advocate of the ugly first draft. I’ve always given my students permission to just “Get on with it and fix it in the rewrite.” But it’s been a long time since I’ve presented something this raw to my writing group. I’ll have to get used to it, though, because this is going to be a long process, and as I’m a very busy girl, I won’t be able to carve out the time to polish a piece before reading it every Monday night.

And the truth is, I don’t mind when one of the other members brings something equally raw to share. We’re getting the story down. We’re making progress.  And we’ll fix it in the rewrite.

I know myself, and I know that if I allowed myself to edit the first three chapters of a book before I went on to complete the entire first draft, I would waste away the day agonizing over the placement of a comma, and I would never advance the page count. So this is the only way it works for me: Write, and keep writing until the entire first draft is finished. Then let it cool, read it in as close to one sitting as possible, make copious notes, and then write a second draft. Because by the time I know where the ending actually is (as opposed to where I imagined it would be), I need to change the beginning to coincide.

So I’m writing ugly these days, and it makes me cringe, but these are the times that my writing group, and their astonishing patience, is golden.

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Filed under Discipline, goals, My New Novel, Writing

A good time was had by all.

One of the golden moments of an author–there are quite a few, actually–is the big hometown booksigning/reading/talk/party that launches a new book.

Last night we had a fairly decent turnout, despite competing with the first Presidential debate, and we all had a good time. I read a story from The Northwoods Chronicles, Alan M. Clark presented me with a matted print of the cover art for the same book, we ate, drank and made merry. Lisa Alber even came down from Portland with her adorable little pooch.

After the party, seven of us came back to our place to watch the debate.  Anticlimactic, to be sure. The crock pot chili that we ate while watching the debate was definitely the highlight of that event.

In addition to everyone who went out of their way to come help me celebrate, I received literally dozens of cards, emails and phone calls from people who couldn’t make it to the party for various reasons. All of which made me feel good. I have lots of friends, lots of fans.

What a great evening. Thanks, everyone.

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Filed under Friends, My New Novel, Promotion, Reading, Writing