We're officially underway on the release of The Fear Artist.
How do I know? Well, for one thing, I'm on an Internet connection that's slower than the radioactive half-life of lead, at the Anaheim Convention Center, where the American Library Association is holding its annual convention.
The wonderful people at Soho arranged for me to be here, doing a presentation about the book onstage at the rear of the hall and then (theoretically) signing cartons full of advance reading copies for thousands of adoring fans. I say "theoretically" because the thousands of fans turned out to be dozens (I am NOT complaining) and, out of the 20-30 cartons of books Soho sent to the convention hall, only three went missing, and guess whose books were in them.
Ever optimistic, I entertained a brief vision of signing the slender wrists and smooth shoulders of, umm, comely lasses, but the reality is (as reality so often is) somewhat more prosaic. Instead of an hour of Autograph Anatomy, I'll be sittting with an excitingly decorated clipboard and promising signed books to anyone foolhardy enough to give me a name and address. Then on some future leisurely afternoon I'll sign all those books and mail them. Still, the idea that I'll be mailing out my signature to people who actually want it is attention-getting.
The "stars" part of the headline is a bit cheerier. The book has now been reviewed by all four of the primary publishing trade papers, and it got starred reviews--the highest accolade--in three of them, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. This is a first for me, three stars. The fourth trade, Smirkus--I mean, Kirkus--gave it a good review, refreshingly free of the slivers of glass they slip into so many of their pieces, but they sat on the star, which I hope had very sharp points. So I'm a three-star general rather than a four-star, but once again, I'm not complaining. My editor, Juliet Grames, keeps saying, "So many stars."
In July and August I'll be on a book ramble, popping up in (so far) Phoenix, Austin, Houston, San Diego, and various locations in Southern California, including Rolling Hills, Redondo Beach, and Thousand Oaks. I might also go to Seattle and Portland if they'll have me. As soon as I have all the dates locked down, I'll share them.
Now I'm working on the next book, and it doesn't seem to know what a big deal I am. It's treating me like a duffer, like someone who's never filled out a form, much less written a whole book, and a three-star book at that. And as always, this feels like a brand-new predicament and one I'll never be able to solve.
So what else is new?
Tim -- Sundays