How an Author Becomes an Astronaut

Nine years; 500,000 words; one dream; one week to go.

The eighteen months since my agent, Sandra, sold my debut novel have passed much faster … and much more slowly … than I imagined.

At times the days dragged out with unreal slowness. The time between the sale and publication seemed never-ending. Weeks passed without any word from my editor, and even though those weeks were a normal part of the publishing process, the stretches of silence weighed on my mind like the world on Atlas’s shoulders.

At other times, I marveled at how fast the time flew by. I’d barely signed my contract before the edits arrived, and shortly after that it was copy edits, first pass pages, and finally printed ARCs.

Last week, my agent emailed me to say she was holding the finished book in her hands.

Two days later a copy arrived in my mailbox.

13G Book 1


It exists in the world, in warehouses and on trucks, and in library catalogs around the country.

When I think of these last eighteen months, the image that comes to mind is that of an astronaut approaching the launch of a new experimental craft.

I’ve watched the specialists build each piece, from engine to wings to paint. I’ve watched it fueling in the hangar and, recently, seen it rolling onto the platform.

There it waits, ready to launch.

No one has flown this one before, and though the early reports suggest it could soar like an eagle, the truth is I don’t know whether this craft can fly.

And I find that thought pretty scary. But I’m going to ride it anyway, and the truth is, I’m excited about the ride.

Like an experimental rocket, the novel could blow up on the pad, or possibly fail to launch at all. It could streak toward the heavens with startling speed, or hover above the ground for a moment and plop to earth with a sound like a deflating whoopee cushion. No way to know in advance. All I can do is strap myself into the cockpit and wait for mission control to push the button that lights the ignition fire.

The funny thing is, I’m ready. Not without some nervousness, but truthfully most of the real fear has passed. I’ve done everything I can do, and well as I could do it. From here, the flight is out of my hands.

13G Book 2

It’s time to enjoy the ride.

If you’re in the Sacramento area, I hope you’ll join me on Thursday, July 18 at 6:30pm for the Claws of the Cat launch party and signing at FACE IN A BOOK in El Dorado Hills:

El Dorado Hills, CA: Thursday, July 18, 2013: 6:30pm
Launch Event: Face in a Book Bookstore
4359 Town Center Blvd., #113
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
Map Link

I hope to see you there!

One final note: CONGRATULATIONS to WALT MUSSELL and CHUCK HARRELSON – you are the winners of the July 6 comment contest! I’ve sent you both emails and will be sending each of you a signed hardback of CLAWS OF THE CAT!