I am not an organized marketer. All I really can do is write. Once written, stories or mss get submitted almost at random, to any seemingly appropriate market that runs across my screen. There’s no marketing strategy, no plan. And I don’t keep records, so I don’t remember what I did. Sales arrive, and I am astonished; on the other hand if they don’t arrive I suffer not at all.
So you can ask me when I submitted the ms of my upcoming novel A Door in His Head for the Diverse Voices award, and I don’t know. Offered by Grand View University in Des Moines, IA, this prize targets authors of ethnicity who are writing about characters of ethnicity. Oh honey, I must have said, a cinch. I’ve been writing this stuff for years. When I saw the notice I popped the ms off immediately.
Then I forgot all about it. Months passed. I was flummoxed to receive an email in January that I had won! I’ve been a finalist for the Hugo and the Nebula, but this is the first time I’ve actually won anything. I flew to Des Moines a couple weeks ago to accept the award, and the University has published the novel in trade paper. At this moment you can buy it here, but eventually it’ll be available on Amazon, B&N, and all the usual venues, and eventually the ebook will be here on BVC.
This is the first volume in the Cockeyed Optimist books, a series set in the middle of the 20th century. Yes, I know that makes this a historical novel, but the cloven hoof of the fantasy writer does peep out every now and then. I had created an entire imaginary country in Southeast Asia for the Marian Halcombe Victorian thrillers, and you can’t waste that kind of real estate. It was obvious that, along with that entire quadrant of the globe, the country of Singii was going to hell in December 1941.
So in 1946, the Second World War is over. Stephen See washes up in California, 21 years old, injured and barely alive, without a name, a past, or a future. A Door in His Head is about how he fights his way back. He builds a life, gets his head straight, confronts the past, and achieves healing. Like Odysseus, it takes him ten years to make his way back from his war. This is not the sort of book that I usually write. But I never do anything twice.