Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To Touch the Sun

Today's the day! It's finally here. To Touch the Sun, my vampire novel set in Chicago, is finally available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle format. It's been quite a ride. Years of searching for a publisher. Finding Dagda Publishing out of the blue (they've been great to work with). The back and forth on details. And finally it's here. And of course now the real work begins as I strive to get the word out about my 

My editor posted on YouTube my reading of the prologue. Hope you like it.

And if you'd like to know more about the novel or the writing process that went into it you can check out my Sentient/Feral Vampire series blog. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Approachng Launch for To Touch the Sun

The poster on my wall says it all!
Well this is pretty exciting. The big day is coming up and Dagda Publishing will be having a Facebook book launch for To Touch the Sun Feb. 25. I'll be popping in as often as I can during the day and am looking forward to meeting people and discussing the novel. And those who attend will have the chance to win a copy of the novel. 

She's on the case!
As I've stated often before, this novel is my baby. I've even taken publicity photos for press releases and I do NOT take photos.

Finding a publisher for it was like finding gold. I've been doing some interviews on it and writing a few guest blog pieces. It's given me a chance to reflect on the story and the various inspirations that went into it. I've been covering that in my blog for the series, The Sentient/Feral Vampire Series

I remember when I was writing Chicago's Most Wanted: The Top Ten Book of Murders Mobsters, Midway Monsters and Other Windy City Oddities (My first book published in 2005 by Potomac Press). The day I signed the contract for that was the happiest and scariest day of my life. Happiest of course because I was finally going to be published. Scariest because I wasn't sure if I could pull it off, especially since I'd never done anything like that before. Once it was published, and I looked back on the writing of it, I have a lot of good feelings (even though I was going crazy while actually doing it). I guess it's all hindsight. 

On the left you'll see Lake Point Tower, home to Narain Khan
It's a bit like that with this book. Slightly different though because I didn't have a contract for it and it was a work of fiction, so there was nothing pressing on me in the way of deadlines. But I remember, once I had fallen in love with it, being very concerned that I'd never find a publisher for it. I really wanted that story out. And as I say, looking back on it, I can see things perhaps I didn't realize as I was writing it. For example, I didn't realize how vital the character of Sophie is to the plot even though she really only appears in a few reminisces. Sophie helped Narain live a relatively normal life (in light of his condition) for decades. When she died, his motivations were colored by trying to retain that normalcy. 

The trenches of World War I
I used World War I as a backdrop for Narain's conversion to vampirism. I was inspired when I read that Albin Grau, producer of the film "Nosferatu" served in Serbia in World War I and heard the locals tell folk tales of vampires. It's what inspired him to produce a vampire movie. Narain left that war a very changed man. But it wasn't until I was writing up a blog entry that I stopped to consider that even if the feral attack hadn't occurred to so drastically alter his life, Narain would probably have returned to his family a very changed man. As most veterans of war do. Whether they wear that change on their sleeve or keep it buried deep inside, there's no way that the violence of war wouldn't change them in some way.

On a more personal note, and this is something I realized shortly after writing it, Narain's family dynamic somewhat mirrors mine. There were four siblings (though we had two and two). There's a wonderful scene in It's A Wonderful Life where Mr. Baily tells a young George, "You were born older." That's how I feel about Narain. He was actually born 12 years before the next child Aziz comes along, 15 before their brother Zaheer and a full 20 before their beloved sister Ujaali. So in some respects, even before he goes to war, he's on his own among the siblings. 

Denny and old time radio
It was such with my siblings. My older brother Dennis was only two years older than my sister Barbara (I came along seven years after Barb, my brother Robert a year after me). Yet from an early age, he was off working on jobs with my dad, an electrical contractor, while the rest of us had more to do with each other. Often, he came home very late at night, whether he was off working late, or with his friends. When I was ten, he had moved out of the house and popped in infrequently. I'd never even been to his apartment. Consequently, I knew very little about him. So while the age between us wasn't as expansive as Narain and his siblings, Dennis was just as apart. And sadly, as Narain was "lost" to his family (though he survived the war), my brother died at the relatively young age of 42. 

It's possible that's why I wrote Narain with so many regrets (and why he feels he needs to see if his sister, who would be in her late 90s, is still alive). He regrets never taking the chance to try to reunite with his family and help them understand what he'd become. It's that stuff that was left unsaid, for whatever reason, that makes loss difficult.

So reflecting on the novel for pieces to publicize it has led me to consider what went into writing it. Some of it done without even thinking about it. Which can be some of the best kind of writing.

And as I say often, I hope people get as much enjoyment out of reading To Touch the Sun as I got out of writing it.

My reaction to finding a publisher.
Visit the link above on Feb. 25 to stop in at the launch on Facebook and say hello. The novel will be available on Amazon for Kindle and paperback format. There have already been some wonderful reviews on Goodreads for it also. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

We're getting close to the book release day. To Touch the Sun will be released Feb. 25 and the excitement is building, as is the worry.

More so than my other books, this is my baby. It's my first fiction book to be published (not self published) and while I discovered a new found love of nonfiction (and plan to write more) with my books Chicago's and Vampires' Most Wanted, fiction has always been where my heart is. 

The other reason TTTS is such a dear project for me is that it was so unexpected. As I stated on the blog for the Feral/Sentient Vampire Series, I never had a desire to write a vampire novel. I did it hoping to catch the interest of an agent. I was also fortunate to have an idea for a character. And when I say "idea" I'm being kind. It was a two word description: Vampire chef. I had no idea what to do with the character, no focus on plot or motivation. Didn't even have a history on the poor guy.

Five years later look at me. I'm awaiting the publication of the first novel in an entire Sentient/Feral Vampire Series.

That's why I say it's so special to me, more so than any other novel I've written. I felt my way in the dark on this (I appropriate I suppose since it's a vampire novel) and created a satisfying story.

The worry comes around because, like any creator I want to make sure I do right by my creation. That I help it grow and be strong.

That's how it is with any project you've sweated over and are preparing to show the world. Literary stagefright I guess you could say I'm experiencing.

I guess like any parent watching her child take its first steps, you just have to stand back and hope for the best.

Right now there's a give-away contest on Goodreads. Visit to the TTTS page to enter.

And Dagda Publishers is working on a Facebook book launch to coincide with a Google+ hangout session where you can! This will hopefully take place next week. I should have more details in a day or two. I'd love to see everyone there and touch base. Keep an eye out for information on this blog or visit the Sentient/Feral Vampire Series blog.