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.
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with over two hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. If the Walking Dead isn't on, I draw pictures and do origami meditation in Alberta, where I live with my family. If the Walking Dead is on... shhhh! The Walking Dead is on! For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
© Alison McBain. All rights reserved