I Have Asked To Be Where No Storms Come is on the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards in Novel – Superior Achievement category!
I know everyone acts like they never saw it coming, but I never saw it coming. I have this tendency to get emails regarding my personal writing work in general, or responses from agents and presses, and I squint my eyes at my inbox like looking at the sun, hunch over, and go “Oh well here’s for another rejection…” even before opening the email! I did exactly this when the preliminary information went out and I about lost my mind.
I didn’t realize how much I’d struggled with this book had been until I saw that nomination. I spent most of my maternity leave in the deep dark nights of rocking and soothing my newborn sending out review requests and interview requests, tapping out blog posts and designing pleasing Instagram promotional pictures, and feeling like I just wasn’t doing enough. And I just kind of mentally shrugged and put my nose to the grindstone because anything was better than nothing. After all, would’ve, could’ve, and should’ve ran away from one little did.
And then this happened.
I mean, being on a ballot with Stephen King? Gwendolyn Kiste? Alan Baxter? Nick Roberts? I’m not kidding that I ran around my office like a hamster, squealing “eeeeeee.”
Thank you, Bram Stoker board! Thank you HWA! Thank you readers! Thank you reviewers! Thank you Crystal Lake Publishing!
Very excited to have put my signature to a piece of paper that declares me and another unknown party that I cannot speak to yet will be making a project in the near future.
Vaguebooking, I know. Super annoying for you, but kind of delightful for me. I can’t wait to talk about this new adventure, and all the things that are going to be made. The future is bright and full of stories.
Since the official Bram Stoker Award announcement came out, I’ve been asked a couple of times: Am I bummed about Bram? Um, yeah! I would have loved to be on the official roster and hang out with a bunch of really cool authors and probably buy last minutes tickets to go to the awards ceremony and totally overspend on a fancy dress to look like a million bucks. I would have loved to slap that sweet label on my website and draw my name with “Bram Stoker Nominee” in pink glitter gel pen with a heart above the I, and most importantly, I’d have felt like my book was worthy.
And that’s where my little brain that played out the sad what-ifs after I read the email announcement screeched to an immediate stop. Is my book worthy? Is my book worthy? Buck up, Buttercup, you know it is! I might not have made the official roster, but I was on the preliminary ballot and that was genuinely something I never ever thought would happen. As I thought about what I wished would have occurred, it all really focused on… hanging out with people like me. People who like creepy stuff, who like to be scared and get that adrenaline rush, writers who struggle against the odd, weird publishing industry, writers who are constantly making art.
And, when the preliminary ballot was first announced, that’s what I did. I chatted with authors online. I was inspired by their posts. I had the courage to jostle shoulders with other authors I’d never dream of interacting with, all because we were on the same list. It was cool. But more than that, it felt like an unexpected sign.
I’m always looking for signs. Signs I’m on the write – er… right! – path, that I’m doing what fate foretold, that I’m honoring the gifts and creativity I’ve been blessed with and that I practice on honing every day. Getting on that preliminary ballot was a sign I needed that I was creating amazing work and readers and reviewers saw it and noticed it. Not only that, but would I quit writing if no one in the world read my stuff? Or if I never won an award in all my time on Earth? Nope. I would absolutely be writing, because it makes me feel like a million bucks. It makes me feel like I’m in an award ceremony with an audience of characters I’ve created that I know better than I know myself, and that makes me feel worthy. It’s my art and my calling.
So yeah, I’m a little bummed about Bram. But I’m also a pretty damn happy to be on that list in the first place, that my work got the head nod that it did, that both me and Stephen King didn’t make the cut. Tough breaks but a thousand congratulations to those who did make it, who have probably are just as excited and hopeful about it as I was. They all deserve it. And now? I’m going to write the next story and see where it takes me and what unexpected surprises it will show me.
Oh, and just for kicks, here it was announced in Locus. Locus! Freaking cool.
Arcane by Jess Whitecroft is a bit like being caught in a tornado. You’ve lost your socks, there’s a house barreling toward you on the other side of the cyclone, and you can sorta see where you’re going… until the wind decides differently, of course.
This book is packed. Not only is there romance, but you get a mystery, crime and suspense, an evil billionaire, the supernatural, and even some nice historical padding. Whitecroft’s prose is addicting, easy to consume, and littered with snarky asides or snicker-worthy jokes. The dialogue flowed so easily from one topic to the other that I almost didn’t mind the condensed history of cults packed alongside the mommy issues that both characters had… until I was at the 85% mark and realized, holy crap, this book was going to end and I had so many questions remaining. I clearly needed an extra hundred pages to appreciate All The Plot.
And whoooo boy there was a lot of plot. Breathlessly, the book shot from kidnapping suspense to a cult mystery to a supernatural revelation. And, somehow, Whitecroft wriggled in a romance with characters carrying some serious baggage. By the end, as layer after layer was unraveled, I desperately wanted more motivation, introspection, and history on our characters. I was a bit overwhelmed at times, making me question the why, who, and when of it all. In particular, the romance felt fast to me, when I think we could have easily settled in with a slow burn that spanned a trilogy, even. Instead, we race to pretend-married to betrayal, to some sexy pieces of deep love that would make even Romeo and Juliet’s heads spin, before the rest of the plot (tapping it’s impatient foot) said, “Enough if that already! A mystery awaits!”
Which was fine. I certainly enjoyed the story, but there was a lot left hanging that impeded my acceptance of the events and character motivations. That being said, I will revisit Whitecroft’s other works as overall it was an enjoyable experience, even if it did drop me, befuddled and without my glasses, on the ground before advancing to sweep up another reader.
Overall: 3/5 Stars. A fun, entertaining book.
Science fiction always feels a bit like asking for a tarot reading or having your future read on a crystal ball. Sure, the aliens might be a bit unbelievable, but truth is stranger than fiction.
For Kim Stanley Robinson’s peek into the future, things hit a little too close to home, and open the curtain on a lot of topics beyond science that are inhibiting us from saving the planet from climate change.
I wouldn’t consider this fiction. It’s hard to navigate, the characters aren’t that appealing, and don’t even get me started on the ending for Mary, the head of the Ministry for the Future, when she retires. However, if I peered at it as a place for these characters to speak hard truths, it became something else entirely. And, in that narrative, I started to understand the impacts of economics and global distribution, capitalistic greed, and the need for hard grueling change. The book made me think, and look at our current impending climate doom with both despair, but also hope. I think if it has been written as non fiction, it wouldn’t have reached as many readers, or been waved off as another alarmist climate story (not to imply that we shouldn’t be alarmed… the red warning lights have been flashing for a while now).
Plus, it’s hard not to enjoy the personification of a carbon atom. And, maybe I’ll stop saying I’m reading the Ministry of Magic. One day.