If you're in Edmonton this weekend, come say hi to me! I'll be at the Christmas Art Market on Saturday and Sunday. Pick up some signed books, including my novel The New Empire (winner/finalist for 12 awards!). Also, I'll be handwriting personalized poems, with illustrations provided by the fabulous fibre artist (and my fabulous aunt) Linda McBain-Cuyler – you don’t want to miss it!
Speaking of awards, I just found out there are a couple of new ones where The New Empire is a finalist. They include The Eyelands Book Awards, which is a Greek prize. The winner gets to go to Athens to accept their award! Since my sister now lives in Greece and I've never been there, it would be a wonderful honor if I was able to go.
And my novel was also a finalist in the IAN Book of the Year Awards! I'm super thrilled - it was for the multicultural category, and I'm proud to be in such great company.
On top of that, I just got back from Florida to accept an award win from Readers' Favorite Book Awards - my book took home silver in the cultural category. It was a lovely trip, and I'll be posting about it soon.
This Saturday at 7pm EST (tomorrow!), I'll be on What The Book Podcast with the wonderful Dzintra Sullivan, Sean R. Frazier, and Peyton Storm. I'll talk about my recent award-winning book The New Empire, as well as my 52-book project Author Versus AI that I'll be doing next year.
Check out the live podcast here: https://bookers.podbean.com/ - it's an interactive session, so you can jump in and ask questions! Looking forward to hearing from you then.
Who would be crazy enough to write 52 books in a year?
Well... I guess that would be ME. That's my plan for 2024. You can learn more on my Author Versus AI website HERE, including what led me to this idea.
In other news, I'm ridiculously happy that my book The New Empire just won silver in the Readers' Favorite Book Awards! And huge congrats to all the other fabulous winners.
As we move into summer, it's also award season! I'm thrilled to announce that my book The New Empire has gotten two more amazing recognitions. It was one of five finalists in the multicultural category of Next Generation Indie Book Awards. And it won SILVER in the adult fiction category of the Readers' Choice Book Awards!
I'm also thrilled that my friend Julie Cadman was a finalist for the Readers' Choice Book Awards with her great book UnMasked - and her book isn't even out yet! It comes out June 13, so be sure to check it out.
Hope everyone's having a great June so far, and I'll maybe have more exciting news soon. Until then, stay cool and enjoy your summer!
It's funny - I tend to go through cycles of posting/updating my website more regularly or just ignoring it completely. Considering I haven't posted since January and we're almost at May, you can probably guess which cycle my website is on right now.
BUT what that means is there are a lot of things going on behind the crickets that are chirping right now over here. I have a story coming out soon in Litro Magazine. I'm a writing coach for Pitch Week and we just finished our first week of workshopping this year. And I've been doing some fun writing, editing, and award projects, some of which you can see popping up over at the Fairfield Scribes.
On top of that, there's a lot of great news surrounding my recent book The New Empire. On the review front, it just got a lovely write-up at Review Tales by editor Jeyran Main, a 5-star review on Amy's Bookshelf Reviews, a wonderful review at The Ottawa Review of Books, and a glowing review at InD'tale Magazine.
And my book has also been getting lots of award recognition - it won silver in the Feathered Quill Book Awards, was a red ribbon winner at the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, and a finalist for the Foreword INDIES Awards (winners announced in the summer).
If you're tired about reading all about that, I'm definitely tired from DOING all of it, ha ha. Perhaps if I get the crickets organized to help me out, you'll hear more from me before too long. Otherwise, the crickets are welcome to chirp around my website and I will be off writing somewhere, hopefully about something really fun and exciting for you to read soon.
Happy spring, everyone!
I'm going to start out by mentioning the really exciting news: The New Empire received another 5-star review, this time from Readers' Favorite Awards. The reviewer really enjoyed it and wrote a completely glowing review that made me blush:
"Author Alison McBain perfectly captures the spirit of the historical novel with such credibility, atmosphere, and detail that I can readily imagine the alternate universe where this history is playing out right now. I was absolutely fascinated by the tribal confederacies and the way that the settlers divided the land and governmental systems. I also especially enjoyed the unique relationship that develops between Jiangxi and Onas, which took turns I wasn’t expecting and played out in a suitably Dickensian fashion for the era, but without glossing over all the gory, difficult details of the reality of the life that starts with slavery. McBain delivers a sensitively portrayed clash of cultures that never relies on stereotypes but is based on the very plausible and dangerous reactions of humans who find themselves in total control of others, and that is what makes the work so believable and thrilling at its core. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend The New Empire to alternative history readers everywhere for its accomplished concept and no-holds-barred storytelling style."
I'm so thrilled - it's wonderful to get such great feedback! I also got a lovely review on Wildwood Reads, and she mentioned: "The premise for The New Empire was so intriguing to me, and it was executed quite well. ... McBain brought her world to life while still respecting the history that was already established."
I haven't been doing much new writing lately except on Vocal.media, which you can check out HERE. I've been equally surprised and thrilled that my poems and essays there have won/been honorable mentions in a couple of the contests Vocal runs, so I'm glad I'm still keeping my writing brain active. Sometimes when I'm doing too much other stuff, such as editing clients' books or building websites or doing book cover design, I wonder if I'm still able to write. While part of my process is "binge writing" - such as writing a whole book in 2-3 months, which turns your brain to mush - and having long stretches in between where I don't write at all, every time I pick up the pen again, I wonder... have I lost the touch?
That might be the imposter syndrome that many writers always talk about - I know I have it in spades, especially after I win an award. I want to look behind me and say, "Who are you giving that thing to... me?" I'm sure if you ask any big name author (not that I'm saying I'm a big name author, since I'm NOT), they'll tell you that they still sometimes stop and think, "Have I got the magic? Can I duplicate that success?"
WELL, Stephen King - what say you? Do YOU ever feel like that?
Anyways, I guess I DO still have what it takes, although I'm getting a bit itchy because I haven't been writing too much recently. I think it might be time for a good ol' fashioned word binge. I have two books I should be working on right now - the sequel to my first novel and a paranormal romance called Giving Up the Ghost. Perhaps I'll have some news about one or the other of them soon.
Until then, wishing everyone a happy February coming up, perhaps filled with groundhogs and sweethearts (although hopefully not both at once).
I'm so excited to announce that my chat on Indie Book Talk podcast is live today - I had a wonderful time talking to the hosts, Emma G. Rose and Shelley Shearer, about my recent experience winning the When Words Count Pitch Week contest, writing my just-released novel The New Empire, and all the many aspects of publishing and editing I've been up to over the years. Also, I have a bit of advice for writers just starting out - so be sure not to miss it!
I think I'm still in a retrospective mood as we dive into January of this new year. It's been such a wild ride since I first dipped my toes into the writing world. It's hard to believe my 3rd book is now out in print, and even harder to believe that I get to do what I love to do every day - work with authors in helping their dreams come true and get published, just like I did.
Do you ever stop and look back at the last few years (I won't say EXACTLY how many it's been, but it's been more than a few) and think, "Wow, I've come so far?" In the day-to-day slog, there will be moments of triumph and failure, but after a while, those moments add up. You won't necessarily remember your first 1,000 rejections, LOL, but you WILL remember your first acceptance.
So keep on truckin' if you want to be a writer - keep writing, keep sending your work out to magazines, agents, publishers, contests, and anywhere that'll take it. Push hard for yourself because YOU know you have great stories to tell. And if you keep on putting yourself out there, others will start to learn that your stories are pretty great too.
I'm so thankful to my many friends and family members who have helped me come this far, and I'm looking forward to the next few (hopefully more than a few) years and books that are still ahead.
Holy moly, I'm so thrilled to end my year with a 5-star book review from Readers' Choice Book Awards! They said it was "Highly Recommended" and noted:
Wow! What a finale to a year that really was jam-packed with a lot of amazing things.
1) Kids went back to in-person school in January after homeschooling for a year during the pandemic.
2) Sold house in Fairfield, Connecticut amidst lots of nail-biting moments and lots of painting.
3) Moved to Alberta by packing up the car and spending 2 weeks driving across Canada to our new home (yes, I must have been insane to cage myself into the tiny space of a minivan with 3 kids for 2 weeks).
4) Got to our new place with... no furniture. Yep, the furniture arrived about a month after us when it was supposed to come the day after we arrived. We lived very Zen for a while.
5) Unpacked, set up house, and, in the midst of this, my new book came out. Flew back to Connecticut for the book release and to do a few events.
6) Drove back to Alberta in my second cross-Canada trip of the year. Got delayed only a little bit by snow, but it was a very "eek" moment. (Those who know me know I HATE driving in snow. Hibernation in winter is the name of the game).
7) Arrived back home only to vow never to leave again... until the next time, that is.
8) Welcomed my girls' grandparents to visit us for the month of December and the holidays.
9) Santa brought my girls the CUTEST KITTEN EVER (see pic). And that brings us to...
...TODAY, and New Year's Eve eve, the day before the last day of the year.
So I hope that everyone out there had an equally enjoyable year - perhaps not as eventful as ours, but good nonetheless. I'm very excited to see what this new year brings, and I wish you all a fun and merry New Year's Eve.
I recently joined the website BookBub, which is a great place for getting book deals from your favorite authors - you follow the authors you like and get notified on the site about when they're running sales on their books.
So if you enjoy my writing and would like to know when I'm next doing a promotion, just follow me on Bookbub for free. I'll be running several promotions over the course of 2023, especially when I have new books coming out.
I also have some fab news - a creative nonfiction piece of mine recently received 2nd place in a contest on the writing site Vocal - you can read my winning story "Life, Death & Football" for free on their website.
Wishing everyone a happy holiday season. See you in the new year!
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with over two hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. Check out my 2024 writing challenge to write a book a week at Author Versus AI. For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
© Alison McBain. All rights reserved