Friday, October 31, 2014

Letters to Plums

Hello, Plums!
I have finally got nearly everything straightened out with the Anon, Sir, Anon kerfuffle on Createspace. The second proof looked gorgeously out-of-line and I had to call the company up and discover whether it was an error in printing or my file--a little of both, it seems. The book should very shortly be available (Remember, remember the fifth of November!) and will be available for pre-order on Kindle even sooner! For anyone who is nervous about issues coming up if you decide to indie-publish, it helps to have someone like my St. Rachel on hand who has a door on which you can bang rabidly till they pop out to answer your frantic questions. Also, Createspace was amazing over the phone. They make the problems, so I suppose it doesn't much matter how good their customer-service staff may be, but I was helped by a very nice German woman who remembered my name at the end of the conversation and gave me terribly sensible advice as for how to proceed. The entire call took three and a half minutes and my issue was resolved by the end of the day via email. So don't fear: if you a get a problem, tech support is there for you. I was polite and waited to call after 9 AM...turns out their customer service is available 24-7. Well then. Anon, Sir, Anon is coming.
I haven't written anything more in Scotch'd the Snakes. I gave myself a break, realizing that I needed to focus on actually releasing this mystery and getting my brother's wedding over with, and all that sort of thing. Anyway, how soon can anyone possibly want another of my books? There have been three this year: buy one for yourself, request another for Christmas and another for your birthday. When you've used up a year's occasions, let's talk. But while I've been shirking the mystery, I have been pegging away at a Christmas novella--since I'm not entering this year's Rooglewood collection contest, I have time to take up my old habit of producing a Christmas story. This one is Ring the Belles and is semi-autobiographical in tone. In my other spare moments which really aren't so spare, I've been making new friends. Doesn't that sound childish? And yet, I have. And something I've learned is that as a writer and reader and a very verbose person, my speech is considered quaint by them. I never realized how many things I say that very few other people say until I was with this group. Following is a list of some things that have been remarked upon and laughed over:

"Your laugh is so adorable. It sounds exactly like a screen door squeaking."
"Oh crumbs."
"Great Jehoshaphat."
"Draw five? Last I checked the penalty was one card! This is steep."
"I have no idea what color that was supposed to be." (having stirred food dye into icing) "It looks like a piece of bubblegum that was chewed while drinking Coca-Cola and then spit out."
"Dash it all, you meanie!"
"Haven't the foggiest." 
"Silly goose."

Apparently, this set of friends has a long way to come before they are accustomed to "Rachel-isms" as these expressions have been dubbed. I can't remember where I picked up my manner of speech...probably a combined effort of books, whimsy, imagination, and the BBC. It sometimes reminds me that I live in a world where most people are not writers. It can be easy to sit here in the blog-world and think I know a lot of writers. But the reality is that I know of not a single novelist I've ever met in person. Except for myself, of course, and I suppose that can't really count. We're not spread so thickly as we think and it's funny to me that my way of looking at the world could be so highly unusual to someone. New friends make you do a double-take. It's hilarious, actually.
The other thing I've been appreciating of late is the way that letters can connect people. You know how much I love sending and receiving mail--the thought of no Post Office makes my heart sink. Three and a half years ago, a Kiwi girl named Felicity Deverell won a contest on The Inkpen Authoress. When I sent her prize of a watercolor illustration of her winning poem, I included a letter. What makes me laugh is that Felicity is the artist and I'm the writer...but in that moment, we switched positions. Since then, letters of twelve to sixteen pages have flown across the seven seas between us and cemented a wonderful friendship. I have saved every letter tied up with a sheer pink ribbon. It's quite a stack and I love that stack. Because here's something unusual in this day and age: everything I know from Felicity except one Skype chat is contained within that bundle of paper and words. Everything. Anyone could know Felicity as well as I do by sitting for a day with that brick-sized packet and getting to know her. If our relationship had been conducted through nothing but blogs, Facebook chats, emails, and phone conversations, there would be no such record, but there is...and I am incredibly thankful. Not to mention the fact that Felicity has become a stunning artist, as you can see from this photo of her most recent painting, below.


Well this post was full of randomness. We've covered releases, letters, art, friends, linguistics, and new projects. What have you been up to?


Emily Ann Putzke said...

This was fun to read! =) Are you going to publish your Christmas novella?! Please do!

Your "Rachel-isms" are fantastic! I find myself saying, "Dash it all!" after reading P.G. Wodehouse. It's so fun to say!

wow! Your friend is an amazing artist!!

Abbey Stellingwerff said...

I found a delightful book at the thrift store the other day which I think you would enjoy. It's called "The Up to Date Practical Letter Writer" and was published in 1902. The title first caught my attention, and then the gorgeous cover. What an interesting topic for a 270-page book!

Abby said...

I like the way you speak! I would probably laugh too, though, especially if you said, "Dash it all, you meanie!" But I must say, people laugh at the way I speak too.
Can't wait till the 5th of Nov.! I think I'll try to buy it when it comes out, which doesn't happen often (mostly because I don't have my own credit card to buy things online with, and partly because I like to read things first before I buy them. your case is different of course). I enjoy random posts.

Rachel Heffington said...

Emily: I will certainly not be publishing it this year...however, once I get enough stories in my pocket, I might be persuaded to release a collections of Christmas Tales...we shall see. :)
Abbey: That book sounds delightful! Don't you love when a practically ancient books boasts of being "modern." Puts the perspective back in one.
Abby: I can't begin to tell you how flattered I am that you will do that for me and trust me with your pocket money. :3

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

I wish I had the nerve to talk like that in public. I've absorbed enough of that vocabulary from books and movies over the years, but it seldom comes out except in my writing. :)

I nearly always start feeling the impulse to write something Christmasy as the holidays approach. So far that's produced one published story...who knows what might happen in the future. I never know till about the time the decorations go up.

Hannah Gridley said...

I can't help talking like that...though usually my victims don't know me well enough to laugh. I get the cocked eyebrow-blank look-stare combo all too often, and find myself explaining...the worst is when certain people think I've found a new way to curse at them! ;) The trouble is that I never know when to expect it and can't generally repeat it again for people that might understand...
Glad to know there are other helpless victims of the English language to keep me company!

Random posts are such a treat!