Open Journal: #WilderharkParty Recap

The Vent

Transparency. People supposedly like that in an author/artist/celebrity, right? ‘Cause it makes them come off as relatable or human or some such thing.

I don’t know. I can’t think why anyone would really want me to be transparent. What good would it do them to know how I really feel the majority of the time? The truth would sound an awful lot like whining/grousing/b*tching, and there’s already more than enough of that in the world. I don’t want to hear it from anyone else, so why would I foist it upon my public?

But this is an Open Journal post, meaning I’ll come closer to telling the whole truth, instead of just the bits I can deliver with a pleasant smile.

Behind the smile.
Behind the smile.

So. My launch/farewell party for The Wilderhark Tales.

I put a lot of time into planning it. Came up with a variety of content to try to keep guests engaged – games, read-aloud videos, topics of discussion. Worked hard on making the prizes – from fighting a charm onto a chain for a necklace, to formatting and printing pages for a wall calendar. I personally invited all my Facebook friends, and threw the link up in a couple of Facebook groups, and talked the party up on Twitter live, during those five straight days of all-day, upbeat, smile-with-exclamation-points socializing.

I wore. Myself. Out.

Me for five days.
Me for five days.

And I had about five regular guests.

Out of the thirty-ish who said they’d come. Out of the hundreds I invited.

A handful more poked their heads in, on rare occasion. But it was mostly just those stalwart five. And I appreciated their presence.

But transparently? It was nothing like what I wanted.

Other authors – not realer, not better, just not me – get parties and signings and readings in bookstores. That is what I wanted. That is what I tried for months (years?) in advance to get. Y’know what happens when I contact bookstores? I show up in person, and the person to talk to isn’t there. I send them an e-mail, and the e-mail goes forever unanswered. Basically, it’s the same thing that happens just about any time I have to rely on other people for a thing to get done: It doesn’t.

So, yeah. Behind the scenes of the only party I could make happen for myself, I was privately miserable. In between moments of painful excitement when it looked like people might actually be interested in what I was trying to give them. My heart jerked up and down, up and downer, up and downest, all day for five days. I sighed a lot. I cried surprisingly little. By the last day, I kind of got numb. I just wanted it to be over. To not have to care anymore. Since all but five-ish people didn’t.

No I won’t.
No I won’t.

I could start getting really angry now, but it’s not worth it. Instead, let’s cut to a song that pretty much encapsulates how I felt throughout most of the party. (Credit to my sisters, one of whom stopped by a couple times to troll the party. Thanks, Di.)

We ain’t got no money
We ain’t got no friends
Roll up in a Caravan cuz we ain’t got no Benz
We just lost the lotto
We behind on all the trends
But we gon’ keep on rappin’ even though we got no fans (leggo!)

Yo. We out on the floor
We in this heezy all alone
All we wanna do is be successful in our craft
So it’d be nice if we had some support

Don’t worry. I gon’ keep on rappin’ regardless.

For better or worse, I can’t seem to help myself.

The [E]vent

In an effort to go against my personal grain and focus on the positive, here are some of my favorite moments from the party.

– The shameless ogling of Welken lookalikes

– Ionquin Wyle utilizing the phrase “Netflix and chill”

Tirzah’s flawless “Sun’s Rival” selfie

Tirzah's ''Sun's Rival'' Selfie

– The utter adoration from every quarter for Lumónd #TheySeeHim ❤

– The straight-up prettiness of the graphics for the “Words of Welken Translation Game” *pats self on back*

Welken Words, sample

– The fact that I was given cause to look at a side-by-side pic of Edgwyn Wyle and “Once Upon a Time”s Rumplestiltskin

– Me: “Discuss! The Anarchwitch has appeared in a lot of guises, over the course of the series. How do /you/ tend to envision her? What do you suppose she /really/ looks like?”

My sister: “Never heard of her, but I would guess she wears a jacket like this” *posts pic of an anorak jacket*

– When ‘twas agreed that Ruban was the side character MVP (not counting Jeromey Gant, ‘cause hello)

– When Tirzah jumped in with a brand new piece of Gant-o’-the-Lute fan art

Sunrise Lute 2

– Clem

Clem

– Maritime legumes

Maritime Legumes

– Tirzah puns

Tirzah Puns

– All the incredibly nice, sometimes profound things my dedicated guests said about The Wilderhark Tales and the people therein … like my little books have deeply impacted their lives or something

The work I do may be for too little. But it is not for nothing.

Godspeed, Wilderhark. And I’ll see ya when I see ya, Ever On Word blog, but for now, I’m Europe-bound. Let the sorta-kinda-hiatus begin!

Fair Wind, Fair Warning

Only one week (holy yipe!) until the launch of “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)” (the Kindle e-book of which is currently available for pre-order, by the way!). To mark* the occasion (*you’ll see in half-a-sec what I did, there), have a look at this gorgeous piece of work from my treasured Wilderhark Artist, Yana Naumova!

Vesparya, color final, gallery size

Yep, the West Wind gets a bookmark, this time around (which naturally will feature among the prizes in my Launch/Farewell Party giveaway). And high goodness, those colors! *breathes deep of her living air in awe*

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Alrighty. Sit ye down, now. Candid chat time.

Some readers have expressed to me that they don’t care for Vesparya, particularly much – at least in conjunction with her love interest gained in Book Six. Come to that, there’s been a fair amount of reader discontent with Book Six in general (along with gratifying reports of reader satisfaction. Subjectivity at work, y’all. ;D). While this is in part due, I think, to a human audience not necessarily “getting” the Welken ethic, it’s also largely to do with the book’s ending.

Wilderhark Tales One through Five concluded with the good ol’ HEA – Happy Ever After. They were simple. They were sweet.

“Surrogate Sea” didn’t play that way.

“Whyever not?” Gant-o’-the-Lute speaks for the people, thrusting an imaginary microphone beneath my nose. “Why break with the tried-and-true formula, author? Were you going for edginess? Shock value?”

Truth be told, I wasn’t going for anything. I just followed the story where it led me, same as ever.

Well, no. Not quite the same.

With Books Two through Five, I had a plan. (Not so much for Book One. That one came before my time as a plotter.) With Book Six, I had ideas. The characters had motivations. The South Wind certainly had a plan, scheming sort that he is. But nobody knew what the ending would hold. It was an ending born not of plans, but of consequences.

Readers may not realize it, since the series got published so fast – eight books in under three years, it’ll soon be – but quite a bit of time passed between the writing of Books One and Six. Heck, there was a significant gap just between Books Four* and Six.

(*Fun fact: I actually wrote “Sun’s Rival” before circling back to “Song Caster”. Lute was not amused.)

Within that passage of time, I changed. (As living people will do.) And when an author changes, stories different than before will tend to find her. I used to have a simple, sweet, Happy Ever After kind of heart.

I don’t anymore. At least, not all the time.

I can still enjoy such tales, presented by others. But the words inside me no longer gravitate toward such an optimistic direction. Now, people die. People lose. People live the conseqences of their (sometimes really ill-advised) choices. No good thing lasts forever. Not every affliction can be magicked away with a kiss. And not even my fairytales can avoid the truth of that.

Hence “The Surrogate Sea”.

And hence “The Story’s End”.

It’s okay if you miss the old me. I miss her, too, sometimes. But it is my hope that going in with fair warning will prepare readers to take the final Wilderhark Tale as it is, not as they might otherwise have expected it to be. I’m not looking to pull the rug out from under anyone. I’m just telling the story I saw, though it break my heart a hundred times to do so.

The new me finds a measure of pleasure in heartbreak written well. Perhaps you’ll find that you do, too.

Sometimes... sometimes.
Sometimes… sometimes.

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Story's End Cover, gallery size

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf – pre-order for Kindle – nab on Nook – call forth in paperback form via CreateSpace … Basically, waiting to book blast this baby on Launch Day is optional. ;D