Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First review and my promises to you, the blog reader

On Monday the 19th, I received an email from Dave Bartlett at Harvest House, congratulating me on my review in Publishers Weekly. He attached a PDF of the review.

Dear reader, I nearly had a heart attack. By the grace of God I did not pass out, but it was a a close one.

I really wanted the chance for Plain Jayne to be reviewed by PW, but I didn't know if it would happen (they don't review everyone) or it they would say nice things (they eat CBA releases for breakfast).

So it was with literal fear and trembling that I opened the PDF and took a look...

"Plain Jayne Hillary Manton Lodge. Harvest House, $13.99 paper (300p) ISBN 978-0-7369-2698-0

Debut fiction author Lodge, a freelance photographer with a background in journalism, enters the popular arena of “plain people” fiction with a surprisingly funny, refreshing and strong story line. Lodge creates the lovable and always acerbic protagonist Jayne Tate, reporter for Portland's Oregonian. Forced by her employer to take time off to regain her edge, Jayne goes hunting for a feature in Oregon's Amish country. What this independent and thoroughly modern journalist finds is an alternative lifestyle that keeps her slightly off-balance even while, in good reporter form, Jayne tries to remain coolly objective. Enter Levi Burkholder, formerly Amish, presently a carpenter, and Jayne's heart goes off kilter as well. Jayne joins the household of Levi's estranged parents for some real Amish experiences, learning to respect the hardworking family. Smart, fast-paced and chock-full of endearing characters, Lodge's entry into inspirational fiction is a keeper, plain and simple. (Jan.)"

The next several hours provided several reactions:

1.) Someone in New York (or maybe not, maybe they contract out their reviewers, but either way, someone somewhere else) read my book. SERIOUSLY????

2.) That someone liked my book, despite the fact that they probably hold to a very, very different belief system.

3.) The reviewer found it "fast-paced," which means all the times when I was freaking out over how BORING this book was was apparently all in my head. PW does not lie. (Or my editors, for that matter, or my husband, or any of my other compatriots in editing...fine. Writers are insecure creatures.)

Honestly, knowing other people are reading your book is a weird, weird experience. My PR person told me she was going to read my book, and for a moment I kind of froze. Then I remembered that, truly, the book was going to be released in a few months and even more people were going to read it. And have their own opinions about why Jayne did what she did, or why Levi responded like that, or why Spencer turned out the way he did (which is a bit of a mystery to me, but hey.)

So there you go. My first book, and I got a good review. This will not always be the case. I'm sure some day I'll get raked over the coals; bad reviews happen to good people.

Crazy Season is approaching. The publicity campaign is locking and loading. Things are going to get weird for this writer, but here's what I wanted to tell you:

1. When I share good news about Plain Jayne or whatever book we're talking about, I want to make sure I'm sharing out of happiness. I do not want to smack you over the head with internet-brags; they make for dull copy.

2. Therefore, this is the last time the happy review will be mentioned on this blog, unless something concerning it comes up.

3. In all likelihood, something resembling a blog tour will probably be launched at some point. It would be unfair to the launcher for me not to tell you about where I'm blogging, but I'm not going to super-hype it here. The point of the blog tour is to introduce me to people outside my readership. Y'all already know who I am and what I'm about, so the blog tour is really not meant for you. I'll tell you what's posted where, but that's the end of it.

4. I really enjoy connecting with beginning writers and answering questions about writing and fiction. If you have a question you'd like to see addressed in the blog, leave a comment or send me an email at hillary (at) hillarymantonlodge (dot) com (I'm not sure why everyone's being cryptic about email addresses these days, but I felt like following the trend this morning).

In other news...

1. Norah Jones is coming out with a new album in November! I'm curious to see how her sound changes...I got to catch a the last bit of her song on DWTS last night. Was not a fan of her Not Too Late album, but loved the first two. Either way, always happy to hear about new music.

2. The basil is circling the drain. Danny thinks it's getting too cold.

3. The Superhero Symposium is this weekend! My throat's a bit scratchy, but I'm really going to push the fluids to make it work!

4. Speaking of the scratchy throat...I've been really sore lately (back, neck, jaw), and really worked yesterday to make sure that I'd actually get a good night's sleep. We took a walk, I did my PT exercises, and I went to be with Advil, Tylenol PM, and a cough drop. And I'm sleeping fine (for the first time in several nights) until I'm awakened by the CRACKLING OF VERY VERY LOUD THUNDER at five in the morning! I woke up and was like, "Seriously, God? You knew I haven't been sleeping well and you couldn't hold off the crazy loud thunder for a couple hours??" I'm over it (mostly). I'll try to get another walk in today...can't have two nights with crazy thunder, right?

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