Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Rock, A Hard Place

Donis here. I found out minutes ago that my latest book, The Drop Edge of Yonder, is a finalist for the 2008 Oklahoma Book Award in the adult fiction category. I'm so happy. The awards banquet is going to be held on March 8 in Oklahoma City. Unfortunately, I've already committed to teach a workshop on mystery writing in Fountain Hills, AZ, on the same day. I'm so sad. Shall I dump said workshop, for which I am being paid real money, to attend glitzy award ceremony among rich oil barons and patrons of the arts? I'm so confused. I've e-mailed my editor for advice, and when I decide what to do I will not keep you in suspense, Dear Reader. By the way, the other fiction finalists are Rilla Askew, the lovely Carolyn Hart, my friend Will Thomas, and Deborah Williamson.

This has been quite a day. This afternoon I sent the manuscript of my fourth book, The Sky Took Him, to my editor. Now I'm tired beyond human understanding, both physically and emotionally. I always get this way when I send a book off. I suppose it's the letdown of having worked so hard for so many months and now it's finally out of my hands, at least until she sends it back to me for revisions. I always feel both exceptionally gratified and a mite testy when someone tells me she loved a book of mine so much that she couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in one day. I can't help but think, that book took me a year to write, darn it. The least you can do is read it four or five times.

In any event, my brains are fried at the moment. I'll be dull and slow-witted for several days, if things go as usual. Sadly, I can't just take a few days off. I'll be doing a talk at the public library in Ajo, Arizona, on February 12, and I need to prepare.

I'm always interested to hear what other authors have to say about the talks and programs they give. I believe many authors give substantially the same talk over and over again. I usually prepare a general talk for each book and then fiddle with it and make changes for each venue. I get bored saying the same thing over and over and so I try to mix it up. But the truth is, when you do a program somewhere you've never been before, there are certain things you want the audience to know, and you do end up repeating yourself a lot. Besides, being witty and spontaneous takes a lot of work and preparation, and if you're in new book promotion mode, and doing a talk or two a week for several weeks, it becomes almost impossible to come up with something new every time.

So for my speaking engagement in the charming desert city of Ajo, I'll try to pull up my mental socks and write an entertaining speech using the few brain cells I have left standing. When I return, I expect revisions will be waiting for me, and I'll be properly refreshed and able to rise to the task. And in the meantime, please wish me luck in the Oklahoma Book Award competition, whether I'm able to actually be there or not.


Debby said...

Wow, Donis! Congratulations on the Oklahoma Book Award. Way to go! I don't know what to tell you about your quandary, but you'll figure it out. Something will fall into place for you. Good luck.

Donis Casey said...

Thanks, Debby. Truth is, I expect I've known from the beginning that I just can't bring myself to back out of a committment, so I'll probably corral some relative into going to the book awards for me. At least they'll get a nice dinner.

Charles benoit said...

If Amy Winehouse can do a remote from London for the Grammy's, surly your publisher can set up a remote broadcast for you, right?

Congrats on the much-deserved nomination.

Rick Blechta said...

I'm sure all of us would like to be in a similar situation.