My blog book tour for UNTOLD DAMAGE, worked out for me by TLC Book Tours is finished. And let me again add here I could NOT recommend TLC highly enough. If you need to
promote your novel, these people are GOLD, trust me.
Here’s where the book was reviewed:
- Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
- Crime Fiction Lover
- Booksie’s Blog
- Tales of a Book Addict
I’ll update this list as I go. (UPDATED 5/1/13)
All the reviews are VERY good, very strong. The really happy part is the Mallen is resonating with people. They’re rooting for him. A protagonist that people root for bodes very
well for the future of a series.
Check the reviews out, and please leave a comment on these blogs if you can. I know that both I and the bloggers would appreciate it.
Sixteen months ago this road started, and now it’s finally here: my publication day. Again, I want to thank everyone who has supported me, whether by cheering me on, by advising me on what to do next, or just helping me to keep my feet planted firmly on the ground.
I couldn’t have done this without all of you. Trust me on that one.
And to celebrate, I’m going to have my first book giveaway. I’m going to give away THREE copies of UNTOLD DAMAGE. Just leave a comment in this thread and I’ll choose three people at random (or I’ll just roll my twenty-sided dice) a week from today.
Also: UNTOLD DAMAGE gets the Fresh Meat treatment over at the greatness that is Criminal Element!
I also start my blog tour today. Today I’ll be at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile. Tomorrow it’s over at Crime Fiction Writer. If for some reason there’s a hitch in the machine, I’ll let you know when those appearances will be rescheduled.
AND, to top it off, I have my first ever book signing. I’ll be at the Books, Inc. in the San Francisco marina district on Wednesday, May 22nd @ 7pm. If it’s at all possible, I’d love to see you there! If you come to the signing and buy a book from the store (doesn’t even have to be mine), I’ll take you across the street to the bar and buy you a drink. Yes, yes I will. Gotta keep the
So, there we go: my pub day has arrived, I’m giving books away, and I have my first book signing set up. A good start!
Okay, so here we are, less than a month now before UNTOLD DAMAGE is released. I found out today that the Kindle version will be available on April 1st! I thought they were doing an April Fools gag on me, but it’s for real.
So, let me see… what’s been going on?
Well, I’m working on getting signings and readings in order. Due to a few glitches, the signings will be happening in May, not April like I’d hoped. But, sometimes stuff happens and you just have to
play it as it lays.
I will be getting my author copies soon and then I can begin the book giveaways! I’m REALLY looking forward to those, trust me.
Went to a great launch event for a friend of mine, Sophie Littlefield, over at Diesel Books in Oakland. Her latest novel, called GARDEN OF STONES is getting rave reviews, and if you ever get a chance to hear Sophie speak in person, go for it! She’s a ton of fun. And man, what a great store Diesel Books is, staffed with incredibly friendly book lovers. I am so hoping that I can work some sort of appearance there.
Oh, and have I told you how awesome the people I’ve been working with are? From my agent to my editor to fellow writers, everyone is being so helpful. Really putting their hand in the pile, pulling together on the rope etc. All of their support keeps reminding me just how very lucky I am.
And finally, I’m working on one of those events that only happen once in an author’s life: the book launch party for their debut novel. A friend has donated their live/work loft for the space and is also going to make their legendary martinis. My sister and brother-in-law are donating a couple boxes of wine, and my wife is handling the catering (if I can let her, as I’m a control freak dickhead). I’ve invited everyone I know (all ten of them, lol) and it should be a great celebration. A real coming-out party. The last time there was a party for me was my birthday party back when I was like nine or something. And I’ve NEVER thrown a party. Not a one. It’s a whole new world, this party throwing thing, that’s for sure.
So, that’s about it. We’re almost, almost, almost there. Getting very excited, and um… well, very stressed.
Thank God for wine, that’s all I gotta say.
Well, last week was a GREAT week, publicity-wise.
FIRST, let me share with you what Kirkus Reviews had to say about UNTOLD DAMAGE:
“Equally rooted in the struggle for justice and the struggle for sobriety, Lewis’ debut makes it clear that there may be no clear right or wrong.”
That’s huge, and bodes well for the book.
THEN there’s this:
I’m in the March/April hard copy edition of Writer’s Digest! In Chuck Sambuchino’s “Breaking In” column. It should be on newstands in about a week or so. Please check it out!
So, a nice one/two punch on the publicity front.
So, I got “tagged” by the greatness that is The Next Big Thing. I definitely have to thank Jayne Denker for giving me the opportunity to answer these questions and then tag a friend.
1- What is the working title of your book?
The title is Untold Damage.
2- Where did the idea come from for the book?
It came from a deep well of desperation, actually. My previous novel had bombed out with my agent. She just didn’t dig it, and I see now that she was right. The protagonist was all wrong, but I DID feel that the story had something. Something strong. The protagonist for Untold Damage, Mark Mallen, had existed in a previous book I’d written and that had been shopped to publishers unsuccessfully. I was struck with the idea of combining the story from the one and the protag from the other, and voila!
3- What genre does your book fall under?
4- Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hahaha… good question! Well, I saw Clive Owen as Mallen, Morgan Freeman as Oberon the homicide detective, and I’m not sure about who would play Mallen’s sidekick, Gato.
5- What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It never really had a one-sentence synopsis actually, as I sent it to my agent rather than having to query it. This is what’s on the book’s Amazon page: “Estranged from his wife and daughter, former undercover cop Mark Mallen has spent the last four years in a haze of heroin. When his best friend from the academy, Eric Russ, is murdered, an address found in his pocket points to Mallen as the prime suspect.“
6- Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The publisher of Untold Damage is Midnight Ink Books. I’m represented by the greatest agent in the world: Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency. She’s like Wolverine and Bukowski all rolled up into one.
7- How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well, I had to go all the way back to square one once I began to combine the story from one book with the protagonist from another. But for all that, the first draft flowed out of me pretty quickly. I’d say eight weeks or so.
8- What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Anything that is dark and hard boiled, with a broken protagonist on a road to redemption.
9- Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Well, first there’s my love of 1970’s New York films. Films like The French Connection, The Seven Ups, Panic in Needle Park, Taxi Driver, etc. Also, I lived many years in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district, where the book is mainly situated. You see a lot in that hood, trust me.
10- What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, if you love gritty, hard-boiled stories and gritty, hard-boiled characters, you’ll be interested in Untold Damage.
* * * * * *
Tagged for next week (Week 29) is one of my very talented writer friends, Calista Taylor. Check out her blog next Wednesday, December 19th, when it’s her turn to post answers to these same questions about her own works-in-progress.
Crazy, but it’s true.
Yeah, I know… you’re probably sitting there, saying to yourself, “Well, duh, Robert.”
I’m sorry, but I just really never really believed it. Not down in my bones, you know? I was usually giving a big “roll eyes” whenever somebody told me that. Police save lives, man. Firemen save lives. Doctors, too, right?
But now? After these last few weeks?
Yeah, I believe.
After my mother’s death, writing turned into a lifeline I desperately held onto as I was tossed about the ocean of my stormy emotions. A page a day, even half a page, was something firm and familiar that I could clutch in the darkness.
It was the needle, pointing north.
I’m working now on a short story. I WAS going to begin work on the next Mallen book, but that felt sorta too daunting at the moment. I needed something I could more easily wrap my head around. And it’s working. I actually did four and a half pages yesterday. Did almost four today. For a first draft, it’s… well, pretty shitty. But that’s okay, because that’s what first drafts are supposed to be: shitty.
But again, it’s not necessarily what I’m writing that’s of paramount importance here. It’s that I’m writing. That writing was there for me when I really needed it, waiting patiently, its hand held out to me.
Without writing, where would I be right now? Not even four weeks after my mother’s death? I’m not really sure I have the answer to that, actually. I DO, however, know that I would be in a much darker, more sad, place. I would be COMPLETELY lost, probably lying on the floor of my office, staring at nothing.
So yes: writing saved my life.
I couldn’t leave without sharing a new crime fiction fan site with you. Mrs. Lewis hipped me to it after stumbling across it in her cyber travels. It’s called Crime Fiction Lover, and it’s very awesome. Hope you enjoy it!
Oh yeah: I’m only waiting for the official “OK” before I can post something VERY, VERY cool. It’s the very cool thing I mentioned at the end of the previous post. I hate to be such a tease about it, trust me.
Well, okay… maybe not.
Maybe I love to be a tease.
In my effort to get the great Criminal Element site (and me, I have to admit) as much publicity as possible, I figured it would be good to start posting a “teaser” of my latest post over there, over here. Hope this doesn’t make everyone super ill, or anything.
Here it is. The post just went live this morning:
You Gonna Drink That? The Class System Colors of Booze
So there I sat, at the stick in my latest hangout, The End of Times, having another Scotch on the rocks. The guy on the stool next to mine reminded me of Orson Wells during his “We will sell no wine before its time” Paul Masson phase. For some reason, this guy kept looking over at my drink and snickering. After he did it about five times, I turned to him and said, “Something funny, Orson?”
He didn’t get the reference, only smirked at my drink again. It was then that I noticed he was drinking something clear, with no rocks. “What’s that,” I inquired, nodding at his glass. “Everclear?”
(Pick your poison…)
Oh, and on another note: I GOT MY BOOK CONTRACT TODAY!!! I can’t wait to sign it and send it off to Midnight Ink. A very surreal moment in my life, I can tell you. I think this is the FIRST time that it really sunk in, felt real. My agent, the wonderful Barbara Poelle, did a great job on negotiating this contract for me. I’m so damn lucky to have her in my corner, giving me Vodka between rounds.
Have a great weekend.
So, after I got my book deal (see the post below this one), I figured I would now start joining up with some organizations for writers of mysteries and thrillers. It was, actually, a sorta hard decision to make. Why? Well, let me just confess something here:
I’m a lone wolf, man. I drink alone, me and nobody else. Je suis seul. Or, to put it even more clearly, per Woody Allen: “I would never want to be a member of a club that would have me as a member.”
But, here I am.
I found myself WANTING to become a part of this great mass of humans who write and publish crime fiction.
So, my first foray into joining-ness, was International Thriller Writers. I sent off my application, and got an email damn fast back, welcoming me. And I was glad I did! Why?
Well, they have a “debut authors mentor program”. I sent off another email, and got a GREAT and warm welcome email from Allan Leverone and then another from Jenny Milchman, both who work not only with ITW, but also their debut authors program.
And again, this joining quickly paid off. In spades.
Because I soon found myself on a Skype Q&A conference call with one of my favorite writers. Lee Child, author of like 16+ Jack Reacher novels! Man, there I was, drinking my coffee and Bailys at like 9am on a Sunday, hooked up with a few other debut authors, Allan and Jenny, and… LEE CHILD. It was great, and I learned SO MUCH. What did I learn? Well, I learned that I’m approaching this entire publishing thing with the right attitude; that we’re ALL on the same team, and that my feeling that I’ll pull as hard on the rope as everyone else is SPOT ON, attitude-wise. I learned that I was on the right path.
And Lee Child was great, man. SO much about “paying it forward”. And well, just so engaging and generous. It was awesome.
And why did this happen?
Because I’d gotten over myself and joined a professional organization.
No, it won’t always be like this, I know, but it was a great start. I’m learning to reach out… to ask questions of people that know a HELL of a lot more than I do.
Next up: The Mystery Writers of America, and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association (NICIBA). Yeah, you need to have a book sold to join some of these guys, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s important for a writer to surround themselves with as many resources as possible, as they travel along on their journey to publication, and beyond. I had this great opportunity, to speak with a writer, one who is really one of my writing heroes, simply because I got over my fear of becoming a part of some formal, organized group.
It can work. On many different levels. It might make you feel more legitimate, I don’t know. Might make you feel like you’re moving ahead on your path. Bottom line though: you get access to resources you might not otherwise have.
Take the leap. Do it. If THIS misanthropic mess can adjust to joining a group (and trust me, I AM the ORIGINAL misanthrope!), then you can, too. And if not an organization like the ones I mentioned above? Well, there are ones like Sisters in Crime (I LOVE getting their newsletter! Always chock full of goodness!). Or a place like Agent Query Connect. The forums there are FULL of great advice and, well, camaraderie.
Or not. This might be a bit short today as I’m working on getting my website together, which lives here.
Yes, it needs more content. I’m working on a links page to all sorts of helpful stuff for writers.
There’s something going on at Nathan Bransford’s brilliant blog (that was a fun alliteration to type) that I urge all of you to enter: His 3rd Sort of Annual Stupendously Ultimate First Paragraph Challenge.
Oh, and I’m also a Tweeter. You can find me on Twitter as robertklewis. Yeah, I know… very creative of me. It’s been a challenge to live on the net under my REAL name. I’ve always used an alias of some sort. It feels very much like shaving all the hair off your head and body and walking down the noon day street, nude. Yes, really.
Oh, and nothing to do with writing, but definitely with the blues (another love of mine): Booker White doing “Aberdeen Mississippi Blues”, via The Boing.
On yet another note, a quick “you must go here!” sort of thing: the greatest database of agents on the web, plus TONS of informative essays, AND a fantastic forum of helpful writers all pulling together to succeed in what is a crazy hard career choice. I give you AgentQuery!
And finally for today, a small but incredibly informative post over at Editor Unleashed on Authors who are tweeting, and getting it right!
See ya at the bar. I’ll be the guy at the end crying into his highball glass.