So a little thing happened today.
Someone pinch me.
I didn’t think twice about picking up this book. It has everything I love – a romance, a little bit of magic, a girl finding her place in the world. I wouldn’t think of missing it!
What I found when I opened the pages and dove in did not disappoint. In fact, it’s such a unique story that I almost don’t want to delve into the details and give anything away…
Suffice it to say the story follows a young woman who returns home to San Francisco’s Chinatown after many years away (and a not-so-happy parting with her agoraphobic mother). She returns because her mother has passed away, and she’s plagued with sorrow and guilt at having left her mother on bad terms. She finds her community in disrepair and longs to help in a way she couldn’t have before she’d left. According to a mystic, the neighborhood will prosper if she makes three recipes to help three neighbors.
Because Natalie Tan’s recipes come from her grandmother’s magic recipe book–a book that features recipes for the tastebuds, but ingredients for the heart, her cooking contains just as much magic, repairing damaged relationships and helping love to flourish. It’s the story of a woman who finds her place in this world.
But it’s also a story of suspending disbelief, of allowing magical realism to take over. Lim’s descriptions are poetic, her writing lyrical. The book was a delightful read full of mouth-watering recipes that made me wish I had my own personal chef.
In the end, I have only one question. Who cleans Natalie’s kitchen after all that meal preparation?
Okay, okay, so we’re a little more than 6 months into the year. Perhaps I was being a tad ambitious about reading 12 Twitter friends’ books in a year, especially when my own book launched a few months ago and I’ve had several signings and events and I’m still trying to keep up on recommended reading from friends and coworkers (which will bring me to 12 Books—Month 7 in a few short weeks).
Without further ado, I bring to you Planetside by Michael Mammay. It’s been a long time since I’ve picked up a science fiction novel. I veer more toward fantasy. What can I say? I’m a sucker for magic and dragons, and I tend to get a little lost when it comes to hard sci fi.
That said, there was no way to get lost in Planetside. (I mean, there is, but that’s getting lost in the very best of ways.) I’m not even sure I would classify it as hard science fiction. Does it take place in space? Yes. Are there space stations, and aliens, and hostile planet takeovers? Yes, yes, and yes. Okay, I guess it really is hard sci-fi. But that’s difficult to remember that when the entire novel is wrapped up in what’s essentially a murder-mystery. (Missing person mystery? Can it be a murder mystery if there’s no body?)
I must say one of the most surprising aspects of this book…was finding out that the protagonist wasn’t a misogynistic jerk.
What’s that, you say? Why should that be surprising? Well, I’ve read a number of mystery-thriller novels with a smart-ass male protagonist who’s on the tail-end of his career, but somehow manages to solve an incredibly difficult case no one else possibly could have cracked while snagging a beautiful woman half his age, while also admiring eight other women’s asses in the entire length of the novel. It gets old. Really old. Is it a male fantasy thing? Probably. But I like a good mystery, too, and I love a smart-ass protagonist! (Still…he doesn’t need to be checking out every woman’s breasts or rear throughout the entirety of the book!)
Guess what? Mammay not only doesn’t have a misogynist as his main character, but he also HAS MANY WOMEN CHARACTERS ALL THROUGHOUT THE BOOK AND YES I AM SHOUTING BECAUSE I AM HAPPY. Do you know how annoying it is to see 90% of the cast as male in just about any random book (especially science fiction)? Not only is the main character in Planetside happily married and looking forward to retirement, but he also happens to interact with dozens of female officers, soldiers, and hospital personnel throughout the book, all of which is done without a bat of the eyelashes. Women. Treated as equals. It’s a novel concept. (See what I did there? Novel concept.)
All in all, this book was stellar. My only hitch is in the ending because now I have to pick up Spaceside… Well-played, Mammay. Well-played.
So what does one do on the day their very first book launches into the universe? Here’s a list so you can see how incredibly *unusual* today really is.
In order, I…
And if we’re really in the mood to celebrate this evening, we just might go for cupcakes… I’ll keep you posted.
My point? My dear friends, launch days aren’t really any different than any other day. There’s still plenty of poop to clean up and lots of words to write.
But am I celebrating anyway? Yes. Yes, I am.
9:28 p.m. update: Celebratory gourmet cupcakes were had. They were prettier before they were accidentally smashed by 13 y.o. in the car. Tasted yummy anyway.
***This post brought to you by: Anything to Procrastinate Opening my WIP***
With a book set to release in just over a week, I’ve fielded a lot of questions from friends and family, mostly along the lines of “How can we help?” or “What can we do?”
These are fantastic questions to ask any first-time author who’s seeking to build a longterm career in writing. The answers, however, are not nearly so straightforward.
So here’s a quick down and dirty list of things you can do to help an author at any stage of the game.
Every one of these actions can help launch an author’s career, and at the very least, you’ll put a smile on an author’s face. So on behalf of authors everywhere, thank you to everyone who tackles any of the items on this list!
You can purchase A Thousand Years to Wait now. For a list of retailers, click HERE.
Hey, readers! Be forewarned. I’m about to get really honest.
Books are hard.
They’re hard to write, hard to edit, hard to pitch, and hard to release into the world. Did I revise my book so it’s the best it can be? Did I revise so much that I lost the essence? Am I ready? Am I marketing my work enough? Too much? Pushing too hard? Annoying all the people who know me? Annoying the people who don’t?
It’s really difficult to be in a mental space that simultaneously tells me I’m doing too much and not nearly enough all at once. And when things get overwhelming, it’s the most unexpected gesture that makes a difference.
I received an email the other day that quite nearly took my breath away. What was in it, you ask? Was it from an agent wanting to represent my work? Was it Hollywood banging on my door for a movie deal? Was it Publisher’s Clearing House telling me I wouldn’t ever have to work again?
It was…a request. A request from someone who doesn’t know me, has never met me, hasn’t yet read my book, but wants a signed copy of it and asked if I would be doing signings. And so, Shannon, if you happen to read this, know you made my day, my week, and maybe even my month.
This debut author says to you, “Thank you.”
From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
While you’re here: Have you added A Thousand Years to Wait to your Goodreads list yet?