I did it! I survived the CSFF blog tour.
For three days, readers commented, critiqued, and discussed The Strange Man, and I think I anxiously bit my nails the entire time. I'm grateful to everyone who participated. They were all very kind and I learned a lot from their reactions to the book. Here's a few highlights for me.
The book is scary. More than one reader commented on how scared/unnerved/creeped-out/disturbed they were by the book, so I'd say mission accomplished :p Rebecca LuElla Miller even went so far to say in the comments section of this review:
"...this is definitely the spookiest the CSFF Blog Tour has ever featured. It's not for everyone, that's certain, but people who like roller coaster adrenaline rushes will probably like this one."
Spookiest ever! Not sure if that was intended as a compliment, but I certainly take it as one :)
Even my publisher--Realms Fiction--shared in the praise:
Dona Watson said, "I applaud Realms for taking on this project. It is an exciting time to be in Christian speculative fiction."
I'm exceptionally happy when people have cause to celebrate my publisher because of the book. Publishers take a financial risk with every book they contract, and I always understood Realms perhaps took a great risk putting out an unapologetic "horror" book about monsters and ghastly things in the Christian market that is dominated by prairie romance (not that there's anything wrong with Bonnet love). In a business-sense, it seemed like an unwise move, but they took a chance on me, and I'm forever grateful to them for that. I'm glad others are noticing Realms' innovation with their "supernatural suspense" line, as well.
It wasn't all sunshine and roses on the tour. The actual writing took a couple hits--a big one being my POV-hopping, which I've already admitted to in the commentary for the book. So, I wasn't surprised, nor offended. There was some "logic concerns" about how fast a spinning tornado of flesh-eating gremlins are, but thankfully these things didn't distract too much from the story for the readers. I'll take these lessons with me as I head into edit mode on Book Two: Enemies of the Cross.
What was most exciting, however, were the discussions. Finally people were noticing the subtler points of my story and I saw discussions ranging from bogeymen, to the reality of devils and their power, to the legitimacy of Dras' childhood conversion. Great conversations.
Noah Arsenault also conducted a brand new interview with me, for those interested.
The blog tour was a very positive and encouraging experience. I've learned a lot about my craft, about the expectations of readers, and about how my words come across to someone not living in my head. I feel like I've returned from a trip and I've got that "pleasantly exhausted" feeling like the tail end of a vacation. Now it's back to work on my writing.
In the meantime, I leave you with this vintage trailer from John Carpenter's 1980 classic The Fog in honor of The Fog Day! On April 21st, a mysterious fog enters the coastal town of Antonio Bay...and brings something with it. Grab your popcorn, turn off the lights, and enjoy :)