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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Holiday ARC

It's that time of year! The holiday season is upon us, and, old jaded ex-retail employee that I am, I'm hiding out avoiding the crush, the endless loop of "Jinglebells" and "I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus", the frantic rush, the shrieking sales ads: in short, everything. A friend recently asked me, "What are you doing for the holidays?" and my response was straight from the heart: "Hopefully, as little as possible." It's not that I don't like the season, really . . . well, let me rephrase that.

Working in retail / fashion for as long as I did, for most of my twenties, does tend to sour one's view of humanity at this time of year. I recall one Christmas eve in particular when I was working on the floor at a large department store (I was the buyer at the time for accessories) and I came upon two very well-dressed women literally engaged in a tug-of-war over the last ivory-colored cashmere scarf on sale. I went up to them and tried to explain that a) such behavior really wasn't permitted in the store; and b) we had other scarves. I suggested they settle the dispute amicably. Without taking their hands off either end of the now frighteningly streached-out scarf, they retorted, in unison, that I should go *bleep* myself. And then they proceeded to continue their verbal and physical intimidation of each other, trying to establish who had seen the scarf first and therefore who had the superior right to purchase it. Needless to elaborate, since then I have been less than enthusiastic about it all, though I must admit, I love New Year's, when the previous twelve months give way to a whole new slate.

However, despite my humbug ways, the holiday has been good to me. I got my Advanced Reading Copy of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici (due out in hardcover on May 25, 2010, from Ballantine Books) the other day, and, oh, does it look stunning. It's full color, and it sits proudly on my bedside table, so I can reach out whenever I like and caress it. For a writer - or at least for this writer - the arrival of an ARC is like birth pangs. The baby is not far behind - well, in my case, about 6 months, but, hey, it's publishing! - and you finally can see the result of those endless hours spent at the computer writing, revising, editing, despairing, re-writing, hoping . . .

Of course, the ARC has all the errors that I found on the proof pages and red-lined for correction for the finished book, but those are minor complaints compared to the fact that I can look at it and know, I did it. I wrote it. More importantly, I finished it - even if now I can't read a word of it. I skim the pages, oohing and ahhing over the typesetting and chapterheads, but I cannot focus on the actual text for fear that I'll find an error or typo I missed, a sentence I thought was fabulous but now reads like lead falling on glass, or . . . well, you get the point.

I also got very good news regarding my next books - yes, the plural is intentional - but my agent has sworn me to silence until the deal is officially announced in PW and I sign on the dotted line. Maybe that can be my New Year's post . . .

I hope those of you who flee the tinsel like me find refuge. I hope those of you who enjoy it have a very merry time. In the meanwhile, I'm going to go hug my ARC!

13 comments:

CelticLady said...

I like the looks of the new book!!! I will look forward to reading it.

Happy Holidays!!

Daphne said...

How exciting to have a copy of the book in your hands! Have a great holiday.

lizzy J said...

Really a scarf? That is a shame those idiots stretched it out anyways.

You are such a tease. How did you know I was thinking about Confessions of Catherine De Medici today? Bookssss....hum No matter which direction your heading I am following. I look forward to a New Years post about it.

Happy holiday to you and your warm hugable ARC.

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

It is gorgeous! Congrats!

Can't wait for the post about your new book(s)....you know, it's not very nice to tease us like that!

Hope you have a wonderful holiday Christopher!

Marg said...

Can't wait until you can officially announce your news, and that ARC looks very, very pretty sitting there! Can't wait to be able to read it myself!

Heather J. said...

Congratulations on having the new book in hand! And can I say how much I am looking forward to getting a copy in MY hands?!?!? :)

Heather J. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Justin Aucoin said...

Ooh yea, I don't miss the retail days either. Especially when it's Christmas Eve and you've closed for the night and people are angry you won't let them in 'cause, y'know, you don't have family or anything better else to do yourself. I had one lady angry at me during Earth Day, too, for lack of Earth Day books (I guess earth science wasn't enough). :P

Congrats on the book. I'm looking forward to it!

franceshunter said...

The new book looks great! You must be so excited. Congratulations, and enjoy your quiet holiday. I'm planning on a low-key time too. Avoiding the malls is a MUST.

Meghan said...

Your new book looks just lovely! I can't wait to read it. And I'm really looking forward to hearing the news about forthcoming books!

I'm not in love with Christmas personally and it's nice not to be alone on that.

Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

C.W. Gortner said...

Thanks for all your comments! I'm working on my new book, figuring out character voice, timeline, etc. Research is a process I really enjoy, and it's a fine way to spend the holidays, I must say.

I promise to post more about the new books as soon as I have signed the contracts. Thank you so much for your continued enthusiasm and support of my work; it makes all the hours spent at the computer worthwhile. Happy Holidays to you!

Allie ~ Hist-Fic Chick said...

Oh goodness! I laughed so hard when you said that working in fashion for so long left you with a bitter taste in your mouth about holiday shopping time. I love to shop any...other..time of year! But too much time spent managing sample sale craziness makes me avoid it at all costs until January!

I am so happy you got to have a nice early Christmas present! The book looks beautiful sitting perched up on your table. I can't wait to read it.

And yes, how dare you tease us like that about what (sounds like a potential series??) awaits us in the future. :)

Hope you have a nice holiday! (bah humbug).

Robin Maxwell said...

Just saw that THE LAST QUEEN was Marie Burton's favorite fiction about royals for 2009. Well deserved, my friend. Cannot WAIT to get my mitts on CONFESSIONS. They say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but in this case, screw it, I'm going to, and I know I'm going to love it!