Monday, September 14, 2009

Reflections as the Ohio Book Tour begins...

I'm writing this from the childhood dinner table.

It's a grounding, humbling, overwhelming moment. I'm thinking about when I began my first novel in this house, at age 12 and how I kept it a secret from everyone save my best friend. That dear childhood best friend just got back in touch with me, with all this time having passed, because my novel writing is no longer secret. Now that once secret habit is out there in the world, on shelves... after such a long time of trying and dreaming and crying...

Funny, while that old childhood novel will never see the light of day (it no longer exists) - it was also set in 1888, and while it was nothing like Strangely Beautiful, it was a Gothic novel. So looking at it, it appears that the majority of my life has been spent in preparation for the release of my debut novel. That's an interesting thing to think about while sitting at the childhood dinner table, that all roads led to a particular artistic historic home and hearth...

Riding the old country roads again- like Over the Rhine says "... The back roads... I know Ohio like the back of my hand..."- doesn't feel foreign though so much has changed, or that it's another world. I have three worlds that I shift between. Home in Ohio, Home in New York City and Home in Strangely Beautiful (a world I live in just as much as the former two). And I flit between these worlds now with excitement, glad to be in this formative home for the time being, glad I can allow myself this moment of reflecting upon all my worlds, a perspective that sometimes only can come with returning to one's first world and looking outwards.

I've been running hard. Really hard for the past many months. I've been dropping what amounts to post-it notes with pictures on this blog and hardly pausing to breathe or sleep - or to share what it looks like from a reeling stratosphere when I do breathe. I'd kind of like to remember this - and while I've written what amounts to another full-length novel in blog posts, interviews, ghost stories, haunted tour stops, it takes a silent house in a silent countryside for me to just stop a moment. This is a moment where no one but me is asking the questions.

Perhaps this reflection on the nearly 20 year span between the stirrings of a first novel and a published one is also prompted by tomorrow's visit. Tomorrow I go to speak to my former K-8th grade school, in Oxford, Ohio, a spirited school rich in love and ferocity of education, unique in its approach to letting kids be who they are, learn at their own pace, and discover their own talents. It set a formative track for my life. The next day I go and speak to a Miami University English class - to visit my Victorian Literature professor to whom I owe so much. And the day after that to my former Theatre department where I was a BFA major, and the writing department where I wasn't a major, to talk about wearing my various artistic hats - about how being a 'renaissance' type of gal can be a real identity crisis but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I wonder how much I should talk about the hard stuff. About that spastic and scared teenager I once was - terrified that if I told anyone that I was writing my book with characters in my head and heart that felt so stunningly real that they'd send me to an asylum on the spot. Funny. I didn't put it together until just now that Miss Percy's fear of admitting to visions comes precisely from that childhood fear that I'd be thought crazy for dreaming up such vivid realities in my head. Artists are visionaries. And sometimes visionaries are afraid we're going to be labeled as crazy. Great thing is, we are kind of crazy. The journey towards not really caring about that fact has been one of my favourite parts of this process.

I think yes. I think I do say those things if they organically come about. I've no problems admitting that the hyper teenageer has grown into a woman who's still a spaz and still sometimes scared. Sure, I'll talk about the heaps of rejection. About the 'industry'. About the self-doubt. The hitting the wall and almost quitting but for the grace of God and best friends. The worries that when you do sell how well you'll sell, then what about the next book, next contract... Sure, all of that important and heartbreaking stuff. And then I'll talk about how incredible it feels to sit at your childhood dinner table after nearly two decades and ruminate on a wild, crazy dream coming true. And that no one should ever abadon theirs.

For my fellow Ohioans:
I'd love to see you at any of the following events!

Tuesday September 15th
Reading / Speaking / Signing
Folletts Co-Op Bookstore Miami University
110 E High St., Oxford, OH 45056

Friday, September 18th
Central Ohio Fiction Writers multi-author booksigning
Worthington Holiday Inn - 7007 N. High Street, Worthington, OH 43085

Monday, September 21
Lexington, KY Joseph-Beth Booksellers
Reading / Discussion / Signing
161 Lexington Green Circle, Lexington, KY, 40503
7:00 PM

Friday, September 25
Westchester Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Reading / Discussion / Signing
The Streets of Westchester, 9455 Civic Center Blvd. Cincinnati, OH
7:00 PM

Saturday, September 26
The Stately Raven Bookstore
Reading / Discussion / Signing
1315 North Main Street , Findlay, OH 45840
2:00 PM

For maps / to link to this list, visit my Book Tour page.

For you Ohioans who have been with me along this mad journey, many of you I hope to see and hug and appreciate in person, and all those former Ohioans who are now scattered across this great country and have sent me messages and phone pictures of my books in stores, I just want to say that I love you and tell you thanks for shaping me and affecting me and being a part of an often over-dramatic, sometimes difficult, adventurous life that I'm very, very grateful for. For those of you I met after my life in Ohio, you too. I've an incredible family spread across this fine globe, and family yet to meet, and no matter What Dreams May Come - this one's feeling more than blessed.


The latest Miss Percy Parker reviews:

1. Top Pick at Night Owl Romance!

Do you have a 'homecoming' story of any kind to share? Whether it's an artistic homecoming or a physical homecoming, I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Strangely Beautiful Release Party!

Right on the heels of DragonCon...

A Strangely Beautiful Release Party at Lady Jane's Salon!

The night was, frankly, pure joy. I had some of my very, very best friends in all the world in one room. That's something that doesn't happen every day. I had friends come in from out of state, fellow writers, bloggers, friends, industry professionals (C.H. Admirand -who took this photo - and Tara Nina brought me flowers, champagne and a Tiara!!!!!! - I DID feel like a princess!! I was excited to see Tara win the Phoenix pendant we raffled off for Share The Love!) - it was such an honour and delight to share 9 years of labour with a crowd full of friends, friends who knew the hard work and tears shed along the way. Plus, getting the chance to thank the people on my acknowledgement page in person, in public, let me again express how none of us gets anywhere on our own, and how grateful I am for the village that made the "book of my heart" possible.

Dressed in my Victorian Regalia, I listened to my dearest Isabo Kelly read from one of my favourite of her many wonderful books, Thief's Desire. We indulged in Strangely Beautiful cocktails (blue-coloured, of course) and signed a lot of books!

And then I took the stage to read two of my own very favourite scenes from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Thanks to Morgan of Miss Media Productions for these great photos!

I confess, I've missed being on stage, so the chance to read from my work (accents included and in appropriate attire) was SUCH a treat.

Thanks so much to everyone who was able to come out on a holiday weekend and support me, and all those who were there in spirit - it was one of the best nights of my life. 9 years. 9 years after my dear Miss Parker introduced herself to me, sweetly and kindly, it's now her month. I hope she's as excited as I am. (She's a little more scared and overwhelmed than me, surely.)

And a special thank you to my sweetheart for sharing his Birthday with this very special Salon night and being a Prince about it.
Oh, and the latest in REVIEWS!
1. I discovered my lovely August Fresh Fiction review!
2. The latest commendation from Bitten by Books!
3. And top ratings at A Romance Review!

DragonCon 2009

DragonCon in Atlanta, GA is hard to sum up. And I was only there for half of it. I'm going to give you the top five things I learned at DragonCon
5. There are A LOT of people in one set of spaces. Hold your wings or the train of your dress tight in the elevator you've waited a while to squeeze into. Many of the assembled thousands of people are pretty cool people.
4. There is no geekery too geeky.
3. There is NO limit to the human imagination for costuming.

2. Saying "why, thank you Gandalf," for holding the door, or "Pardon me, Doctors (as all the various Dr. Who(s) are assembled in your path)," or "they're just past the Storm Trooper battalion but before you get to those zombie Smurfs" - becomes entirely mundane and commonplace language. (Here's me going "Ooh! K-9! K-9!!")

1. Thing I learned at DragonCon: It felt like coming home!
I had an incredible time with my roomie/soul-sister/New York Times Bestselling Alethea Kontis and her dear friend soon my dear friend Chris - aka Token Poet on Twitter. I got in on Thursday, got the lay of the land, and Friday was my big day. 3 panels (with really, really cool writers and new friends - such as Heather Brewer- pictured here - as well as Caitlin Kittredge!)

Capping off my panels on friday was the resounding success I hope is the first of a grand tradition to come... Princess Alethea's Travelling Sideshow! (See the lovely Princess Ringmistress Herself here, reading some of her magical work - please note prominent presence of Skull Bucket.)

I got the chance to read from The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and the numerous attendees got bags full of neat swag - that included my book, thanks to the fine folks at Dorchester Publishing. Psst, by the way, Dorchester is giving away a Kindle - check it out.


On Saturday Alethea invited me into the parade to walk with the Sherrilyn Kenyon minions - I'm certainly a proud minion and devotee of the Queen of the Con herself!

Saturaday afternoon I participated on another panel about characters in fiction, which I loved - I love the chance to share and swap stories about process and writing tidbits with readers and other writers. Plus, at DragonCon - you get to do it all in costume. Or, for me, what I'd like to be wearing daily. Elaborate outfits make everything more fun, plus it meant I could speak about Victorian London with that extra air of authenticity. Gosh I love this outfit...

(Thanks Liz Maverick for this shot!)

(My fellow panelists and dear writing buddies Liz Maverick, Marianne Mancusi and me- yes, I am wearing eerie contacts.)

Did I mention we laughed a whole lot and had a great time being goofy? Really goofy? That, also, was perhaps my favourite part of DragonCon.

Team Joke, subtly different from Team Loser, thanks for breaking me with laughter.

Can't wait till next year!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

DragonCon - the adventure begins!

And now on to the BOOK TOUR part of my whirlwind.
The Strangely Beautiful Haunted London Blog Tour is on hiatus due to my travels and Release Party in NYC on the 7th. It will resume again on the 11th at fellow Dorchester author Elisabeth Naughton's Blog. (see Haunted Tour Schedule).
Tomorrow I leave for the experience that is DragonCon! (And I get some quality time with my separated-at-birth Lee - and hang with my awesome NYC writer buds as well as meet new ones!)

I'm speaking on the following panel schedule on the DARK FANTASY TRACK - if you're at the Con - come say hi!


11:30-am in Mont/Van Room - NEW BLOOD - Debut Authors or New to the Track

1:00-pm in Mont / Van Room - A WRITER'S GUIDE TO GOTH AND PUNK

4:00-pm in Mont / Van Room MEMENTO MORI: GHOST STORIES

5:30- pm in Roswell (Hyatt) - PRINCESS ALETHEA'S TRAVELING SIDESHOW - in which there will be books, entertainment, free stuff, readings, all manner of vaudevillian or perhaps just villian behaviour... And in which I shall be dressed as Miss Percy Parker Herself. All white, all Victorian, eerie contacts and all...

Speaking of Alethea - check out our GENRE CHICKS interview for Ingram! Oh, you should see it in print in the Advance Magazine... it's all teacups and swirlies and script font and gorgeousness... *swoon*
And of course... On September 7th I return to NYC to host
And then comes the Ohio part of my Book Tour I'll talk about when I get closer to that part...

Whee!!!!! Atlanta, here I come!

Hey - don't forget about my CONTEST...


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Strangely Beautiful Week - Thanks Publishers Weekly and RNTV!

Indeed! What a week! It's flown by with stock signings all over this great city, outer boroughs included. I've been delighted to find my books on towers and other visible places. The week also saw me rolling on with the Haunted London Blog Tour, radio interviews and more!

Guess What?

"Six young men and women are called to protect the living world from the dead in Hieber’s Gothic romance debut. Mysterious powers give Alexi and his peers the mission of keeping the restless dead in line and seeking a prophesied seventh guardian. Miss Percy Parker, an albino orphan with a talent for languages, fills none of their expectations, but Alexi is drawn to her all the same. Hieber draws Victorian London as beautiful and grim, with depictions of Jack the Ripper as a nightmarish many-headed hound alongside charming descriptions of the Athens Academy, Percy’s boarding school, and Greek mythology that smartly draws together various elements of the story. The supporting characters are nuanced and appealing but given short shrift by the narrow focus on Percy and Alexi, though future sequels may give them more room to play. Hieber’s debut shows great potential, and readers will want to revisit her intriguing world." - Thanks PW! (See the web exclusive grouping upon which it appeared)
Come see why Stacey at named Miss Percy Parker as one of her favourite heroines during heroines week!
Thank you, Stacey!
New developments: RNTV / Lady Jane's Salon Book Club!
I'm so honoured that The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker has been selected as the launch book for RomanceNovel.TV's Lady Jane's Salon Book Club! You can be a part of it too! The Details.
RNTV has been releasing their lovely video interviews with me! Here's my take on Strangely Beautiful research!

(The rest of my videos with RNTV can be found here)
In other news/reviews:
ParaNormalRomance kindly reflects upon Miss Percy!
Silver says:
"... I enjoyed the story, especially Alexi's and Percy's romance, which is rather poignant and sweet. Gripping and with an on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense, I found myself scrolling down (I read the ebook) as fast as I could to see what's going to happen next, especially toward the end of the book. This book is perfect for fans of the paranormal who enjoy a Gothic setting."
Thanks Silver! (The full review)
The Tome Traveller has lovely words for Miss Percy too! (I was immediately enchanted by the look of this blog!)
Carey says:
"This story weaves together the threads and echos of many beloved aspects of English Literature. It is steeped in Shakespeare and Greek Mythology, there are flashes of Poe, Dickens, Stevenson, shades of Gothic ghost stories and Victorian romance. Alexi himself reminded me of Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre, dark and brooding. Very well done, indeed, and filled with eloquent writing, too. This was a very enjoyable novel for me. ... Like ghost stories? Paranormal? Historical Fiction? Fantasy? English Literature? Then you will enjoy The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, I certainly did!"
(Read the full review)
Out and about:
Kwana of Kwana Writes took me all about her lovely, truly lovely, neck of the woods to help me sign stock out beyond the city limits - thanks Kwana! It was so good to see her, and Stacey and her awesome Dad even came out to support me as they don't hail from far away - it's so good to have people with you in these sweet moments like this who know how long and hard this journey has been to this all-the-sweeter-for-the-struggle point.

Here's a photo of me and Biz of Biz Urban Photography on release day at the Barnes & Noble Lincoln Center signing, please note that poster behind us - Garrison Keillor will also be reading at said Barnes & Noble... Biz and I LOVE Prairie Home Companion and this made me feel like an utter rock star. You can bet I'll be there at his signing!
There are other reviews that have come down river as well and I'm a bit behind - I'm trying to keep up with the full list as it grows, ongoing and compiled at the book page of my website.
Don't forget, if you have a copy of Strangely Beautiful on hand- you can answer the Pop Quiz questions and enter my Contest for cool prizes!
Back to the whirlwind! See you on the Haunted London Blog Tour!