Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for THE DEATHSNIFFER’S ASSISTANT!

We’re running a giveaway where you can win a free signed copy of THE DEATHSNIFFER’S ASSISTANT mailed to your front door! There are tons of different ways to enter by signal boosting the giveaway or otherwise supporting me and the book online! With less than two weeks left before the book is out (eek!), I appreciate all the support I can get!

Click here to enter the giveaway!

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Seeing Your (Literary) Baby for the First Time

“You’re not going to believe this,” one of my closest friends texted me to say a week ago. “There was a box from Amazon on my doorstep when I got home from work.”

He then sent me this photograph:

book
Oh my god.

It seemed that Amazon had made an error. Everyone who’d ordered the  book in those first few hours it was up on the site had a copy shipped to them — almost a full month early!

I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t believe it. Look at that. That’s my book! That’s my title, my characters, my cover art, my name! It looks so… real! It’s a real book! I couldn’t wait until my own copies arrived and I could hold it in my hands.

Well, it seemed that someone else had made an error — me! I had just expected the books to be sent to me automatically, not knowing that I had to put in an order with my publisher to get them! So here I am, a two weeks before release, and I don’t have my book!

It’s a strange, strange feeling. More and more pictures of my book have been seen floating around on the internet, and every single one makes my toes tingle! But despite all of it, I still haven’t actually touched or even seen my book for myself!

This thing I created is out there, in the world, and I have no way to get to it. All those copies have been arriving at places too far for me to reach. Some days, I just want to scream with anticipation! But other days, honestly, I’m a little glad. Odd, maybe, but it’s the truth. It’s heightened my excitement and it’s coated the stress and nerves of the pre-release hustle with a sense of wonder and glee and eagerness. Will they come today? Tomorrow?

Until I hold a copy in my hand, it still doesn’t feel real. And so long as it doesn’t feel real, I’m able to keep my chin up and keep working on the hundreds of little things I have to do before The Deathsniffer’s Assistant hits shelves for real!

… but it sure would be nice to see and hold my baby!

Here’s a little gallery with some of the pictures I’ve been sent. If you have one of those sneaky copies, be sure to take some pictures and send them to me! I’d love to see them!

The Way That You Cheer and Scream For Me

I’ve documented my shameful and yet devoted adoration of contemporary Pop Music. I love all music! Really I do. From trance to drum&bass, from country to world, from alt-rock to folk-rock, from classic rock to just plain classical. I don’t think there’s a single genre that I don’t like, and I can have one window open with Blackmore’s Night while another right beside it is paused in the middle of a Kanye West B-side, and meanwhile I’ve got Allie X playing on my phone.

But despite my eclectic tastes, well… there’s just something that keeps me coming back to that Hot Top 100, year in and year out.

I’m not saying it’s good music. I’m saying that oh my god I love it.

And today, I want to talk about one of my favourite songs, which barely cracked top 40, by one of my favourite artists, who isn’t seeing much top 40 success these days. So take a minute and listen to that modern classic… Applause by Lady Gaga.

Oh hell yes.

Are you still here? Have you closed the window in disgust, yet? Because I’m actually going somewhere with this, other than just publicly shaming myself!

As the release date of my debut novel draws closer, I’ve been thinking a lot about Applause. I’ve been thinking about the truth of Applause. The song has a very simple message: Lady Gaga likes it when you like her. When you click the little thumbs up under her Youtube videos, that makes her happy. When you tweet her to tell her that you like her album, that makes her giddy. When she walks out on stage and the audience erupts into applause, that’s the best feeling in the whole wide world. It’s an uncomplicated sentiment that’s been said a thousand times before, and yet…

It’s not a popular one. We like to think of artists as altruistically placing their creations in front of us so that we can either like them or not at our leisure. We don’t like the thought of them watching us, breathing down our necks, waiting impatiently for our reactions, and then being filled with joy if we smile and devastation if we frown. We want to think of them as proud of the creation for its own sake, willing to stand by it and by unswayed by either praise or criticism.

Well, bullshit. I think every artist is breathing down necks. I think we all live for the applause.

Since the time our first cave-dwelling ancestor told a story instead of keeping it in her head, creative people have sat with bated breath waiting for the cheers or boos to follow. Homer didn’t fictionalize the siege of Troy in the Iliad because he wanted to keep his ideas to himself. Shakespeare didn’t write Hamlet so it could play to empty theatres. F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby to prove himself a literary giant and was devastated when it was poorly received at the time. And Lady Gaga lives for the applause.

(Oh, yes. I just compared Homer, Shakespeare, and Fitzgerald to Lady Gaga. I can always be relied upon for casual literary heresy.)

I’m not afraid to admit it. I want people to read my book and I want people to like it! Everytime I get any positive response from anyone, even my mother, it’s like a perfect dumb flower of joy bursts into bloom right in my heart. And anytime someone says they they hated one of my characters, it’s like a kick in the crotch. And why is that bad to admit? I don’t think I’m different than anyone else. I maintain a professional bearing and don’t go after people who don’t like it. I try not to get upset by negativity, because it’s unavoidable and inevitable. I won’t be one of those authors clambering all over the Goodreads statuses of their readers. My mantra for my career is: “Be cool, Kate. Be cool. Come on. Just be cool.”

But inside I’m a roiling storm of READ IT, LOVE IT, AND THEN TELL ME IN EXPLICIT DETAIL WHAT YOU LOVED ABOUT IT AND WHY. The same as, I believe, Homer and Shakespeare and Fitzgerald and the honorable Lady Gaga all did before me. I don’t think I’m different than anyone else.

I think we should stop being ashamed of it. I mean, by all means: be cool. Act like a civilized adult. Do not stalk your readers. Do not let yourself be destroyed by criticism. While as a writer, I’m struggling everyday not to turn the most annoying person in the world, as a reader I find desperation as unpleasant a trait as anyone does. But acting mature and admitting that you love being appreciated for your talents are completely different things.

If artists didn’t want their work to be admired, we wouldn’t have art. It would exist in basements and backrooms and hard drives, where the humble creator hides it from human eyes and doesn’t need anyone’s appreciation and the act of creation is its own reward.

I say it again: bullshit.

I feel you, Gaga. I live for the applause – applause – applause, too. We all do.

And no one can convince me otherwise.

10 Ways You Can Help

Well, here we are. It is now June 13th, and there is only a month left before the release of my debut novel, The Deathsniffer’s Assistant (which you can preorder now on Amazon.)

I’ve been in an almost constant state of anxiety for two months now, and every day it gets a little bit crazier! I’ve poured so much of my life into this novel and in such a short time, it’s going to be turned out loose into the world. Already, strangers have their hands on ARCs and are weighing in with their thoughts on Goodreads and Amazon. The Deathsniffer’s Assistant is rapidly outgrowing the little enclosure it was born and raised in, and when that gate gets thrown open a month from today, it’s going to be truly out of my hands… and into yours.

Presumably, everyone reading my blog are already fans of mine. You’ve come here because you like my thoughts on fantasy, feminism, or are just interested in my book. You might want to help me out. How can you do that? Well, here are ten things you can do if you want to put yourself at an inconvenience to help me out:

(Note: If you don’t want to do any of this, that’s fine! This is for those who want to go above and beyond to support me. Just reading my book in any context is awesome and wonderful.)

1. Buy my book.

This one is obvious, but it’s important! Buy my book. This will give me money, which is good, but it will also boost me on the websites that are selling it, making it more visible to readers who haven’t heard of me or my book yet, but would really like to.

2. Buy other books at the same time as you buy my book.

Amazon’s algorithms will associate books together if they’re bought often enough. If you’d like to buy something alongside my novels to try and tie them together, I suggest anything by Gail Carriger or the Lady Trent novels by Marie Brennan. They’re all fantastic, and I think there’s a lot of overlap between who would like them! If enough people do this, there’s a higher chance that Amazon will suggest my book to people who buy those books.

3. Leave reviews for my book.

It’s super important to get reviews in this digital age. The more reviews something has, the more vendors notice it exists. It only takes five minutes to write a decent review, so if you want to help me out, writing reviews and posting them on Goodreads, Amazon, and/or the CQ site is the best thing you can do other than buying my book. Maybe even more than buying my book!

4. Leave ratings for my book.

If you hate reviews and just can’t bring yourself, just a star rating on Goodreads, Amazon, or other applicable site helps, too! While not as important as reviews, a rating does the same thing: bumps the book up in search algorithms so that other people can discover it!

5. Subscribe, like, and share.

Following me on my social media platforms helps a lot, especially if you like and/or share my content! It’s a big, wide, and ferocious internet where you can shout into the jungle for hours and have nobody hear you. The more people you have shouting too, the more someone is likely to notice. And ten people shouting something slightly different is a lot less obnoxious than one person shouting the same thing over and over again! We writers have to be really careful about how much self promotion we do, because too much can turn readers off. You can connect with me here on my site, on tumblr, on twitter, on Goodreads, and on Facebook!

6. Tell a Friend.

With the advent of self and independent publishing, there are so, so many great books out there, more than ever before. There are more amazing books than even voracious readers will ever be able to get through. I have books on my “to-read” list on Goodreads that I bought five years ago or more! But when a friend tells me I’ll like something, that book gets bumped way up my list and I’m way more likely to get to it quick.

7. Gift a Friend.

An even bigger incentive than someone telling me I’d like a book is suddenly finding it in my mailbox with a note from a friend saying they just need to talk with me about it so read it right away! When someone buys a book for me, it jumps right to the top of my list! If you want a friend to read The Deathsniffer’s Assistant and tell other people about it, nothing helps more than thrusting the book right into their hands!

8. Request it at your Local Library.

Libraries do more for writers than you probably realize! You may think that someone borrowing my book from a library is a sale I lose, but that’s not true at all. People who borrow from libraries will often later buy a book that they liked a lot, and it increases the odds that one of them will love it and have a huge reader’s network that they can share it with! When you request my book at a library, or donate a copy to a library, that makes it more available to everyone else.

9. Request it at your Local Bookstore.

If your local big chain location doesn’t have the book, put in a request that they start to carry it! The Deathsniffer’s Assistant will be available from Barnes & Noble and Chapters at launch, and hopefully more international vendors later! If they don’t have the book on shelves, it’s because they don’t think people will buy it off the shelf. If you ask for them to stock it, they’ll realize there’s a demand!

10. Google Me.

Take the time to Google “Kate McIntyre” or “Kate McIntyre Author” or “The Deathsniffer’s Assistant” and then click on the links that lead to my site, my Goodreads profile, my author page on Amazon, and so forth! This will trick poor Google into thinking that people really care about some debut author in Eastern Canada and her book, and Google will show me to more people accordingly!

There we go! Ten things you can do as we head into release that will help put The Deathsniffer’s Assistant on as many radars as possible. Again: you don’t need to do any of this! Just being here, reading these words… you’ve already made a big difference! However, if you really want to put yourself out to bolster my career, all of any of these things are wondrous gifts given to me from your sweet hearts.

Here’s hoping that I keep my head on my shoulders and get through the next month!

Schrodinger’s Manuscript

I finished my first pass revisions of my second novel this weekend. That’s the first step in my editing process, when I just go through and read the book and fix anything that sticks out. I found some contradictions within the logic of the mystery, which I fixed, and ended up combining a couple minor characters into one. I also added a few scenes to build up the profile of some of the suspects in Olivia and Chris’s murder du jour to support the whodunnit aspect. Mostly though, my changes were just cutting scenes down, curbing my natural tendency towards long-winded dialogue segments, and making sentences a lot shorter and more elegant. The big revisions come later. A first pass is more just about getting the book ready to be seen by someone else’s eyes in a way that isn’t just embarrassing for everyone involved.

That “someone else” has the book now. She’s my alpha reader and she understands story structure like a master.  She does amazing job giving feedback on the actual content of my work, be it positive (hopefully) or negative (inevitably.) She’s also an adult, possessed of a life filled with adult things, and my books are around the 400 pages range. Not doorstoppers, but not afternoon reads, either. So it’ll take her a few days at least to get through the book.

And this, for some reason, might be the part of the process I find most stressful!

Before I do my first pass, my book mostly exists in theory, to me. It’s not a novel. It’s a collection of scenes that I wrote over a period of six months. It’s the legacy of one too many Starbucks refreshers and listening to Electroswing so loud I’m going to have hearing problems in fifteen years. It’s a patchwork Frankenstein’s monster, shambling through the slums of my harddrive. It’s not a book.

But once I’ve read it, everything changes. I see what I was thinking in my outline. How this scene leads into this one and how it all fit together. It’s not just a collection of scenes, some of which I wrote what feels like ages ago. This is actually a book! I start getting excited, I realize it’s not a complete disaster, I like what I’m reading! And then I send it off to my first alpha reader and…

Oh, God.

Something about this step just paralyzes me. Like the cat in the box that is both dead and alive, right now my book is both good and terrible. The thing is, even with all the insight provided by my first pass, I am still in no position to judge my own writing! I know it too well. The characters, the world, the mystery, the plot twists. I am not objective enough to be able to read the book and know if it works.

Until I get the response back from my first draft, it’s like I’m hanging in the balance.

A few days from now, I’ll have that response. We’ll open the box and the manuscript will be either good or it won’t be. Reality will collapse back and I’ll know what I have in front of me. What changes will I have to make before it goes to the next alpha reader on my list? What should my goals be working towards my final draft? How much work does it still need? And then I’ll be fine! Give me a mission and I’ll carry it out.

But, oh, this in-between state could kill a writer! I’d forgotten how it felt when I finished The Deathsniffer’s Assistant. I am definitely remembering now.