Stephen Blackmoore: “Terror And The Debut Author”

Today, a guest post from the mighty Stephen Motherfucking Blackmoore, debut author extraordinaire. He’s got this book out now, CITY OF THE LOST. I read this book and blurbed it, saying, “Bruja, demons, bloodsuckers, the living dead and bucketloads of bloody magic – you’ll find all of those in CITY OF THE LOST, but the real magic is how Blackmoore deftly breathes secret supernatural life into the City of Angels. This is an auspicious debut that’s at turns violent, hilarious, and tragic. Can’t wait make a return trip to Blackmoore’s voodoo version of L.A.” — I genuinely truly loved this book. What’s doubly fucked up is how Blackmoore only ups the ante with the coming sequel, DEAD THINGS, a book so good I want to read it twice. And I don’t read many books twice. So, here is the author resplendent in his glory — give him your ear, and if you trust me to steer you straight, give him your money, too.

As of the time of this posting my first novel, CITY OF THE LOST, a noir urban fantasy, will have been out for two days.

I’m writing this on Monday, the day before it officially comes out and I have no idea what the sales will look like, if people will pan it, or even if they’ll buy it. It’s gotten some good press. Kirkus liked it. Romantic Times, surprisingly, reviewed it, and unsurprisingly, hated it. It was on the January recommended reading list for L.A. Magazine. Got some good stuff over on Rex Robot and My Bookish Ways and I hear The Qwillery enjoyed it.

One guy on Goodreads couldn’t get past all the swearing, but a lot of other people seemed to dig it. There are, as yet, no Amazon reviews.

Tomorrow night, Friday, January 6th, I will be having my book launch at Mysterious Galaxy, my first book signing ever, in Redondo Beach, California and on Saturday afternoon, January 7th, at 2:00 I’m signing at their store in San Diego. If all goes as planned I’ll be doing the same in San Francisco sometime in February at Borderlands Books.

I have never been in the public eye as much as I am right now. It may not be much, and it might not even be a blip on the radar, but it’s a hell of a lot more than I’ve been in the past and though I keep expecting to be terrified, keep thinking I should be terrified, I’m not.

Have you ever gone skydiving? I recommend it. Provided everything goes right, and even if it goes wrong, I suppose, it’s one of the most awe-inspiring things a person can experience.

I went on a tandem jump years ago. Which means I was strapped to a guy who was going to do most of the work of not leaving a crater or a wide, red smear when we hit the ground. That or static line is really the only way you’re going to go out your first time without a lot of prep and training. And even then there will be someone holding onto you most of the way down.

The entire time I kept expecting to freak out. Driving out there, sitting through the “Don’t Panic, You’re Probably Not Going To Die,” training video and pep talk, signing the waivers, getting into the plane. Every step of the way I kept thinking, “I’m going to lose my shit any second now.” But I didn’t.

At 12,000 feet up in the air, they opened the door.

From that high up, from that wide a field of view, the world doesn’t look right. All sense of space is, oddly, gone. You’re too high up to get vertigo. You don’t have those visual frames of reference that tell you just how far up you really are. 12,000 feet is just a number.

I thought, “This is the coolest shit ever.”

And I jumped.

Free fall is a trip. You don’t really need to breathe so much as just leave your mouth open. The air will shove itself into your lungs whether you like it or not. You’re in the throes of gravity. It is surprisingly loud.

This experience with the book is a lot like that jump. Only without being strapped to someone who’s going to keep me from cratering when I hit the ground. This time it’s all me.

At no point during that jump was I afraid and I think I’ve finally figured out why.

It was about jumping out of an airplane. It was never about reaching the ground safely.

I hear a lot of things from a lot of people about what I should do and what I have to do to make this book “successful.” I’m sure they’re all right. Some of those are things I’ll do. Some of them aren’t.

But it’s not about being successful. It’s not about reaching the ground safely.

It’s all about jumping.

20 comments

  • I just stumbled upon this blog yesterday and I’m already hooked!

    Good advice and now excellent reading recommendations… I can’t wait to check out this new author… sounds right up my alley!

  • I’d put City of the Lost on my “must read” list of 2012 back when you interviewed Stephen a million months ago (or somewhere around then) and this just reminded me why. Now I definitely can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

    Words to live by: It’s all about jumping.

  • I’m already freaking out over my 2013 book launch. Hopefully the world will end before them, but if it doesn’t, can I strap myself to you, Stephen Motherfucking Blackmoore? If not, I’m laminating this one for my wallet: ” … it’s not about being successful. It’s not about reaching the ground safely. It’s all about jumping.” Love it.

  • “You’re too high up to get vertigo.”

    Says you. :)

    I really want to skydive even though I’m deathly afraid of heights. Or rather, I’m afraid of being on the edge of very tall places. I’m sure that once I start the falling part, I’ll love it. But the jumping…. Oy, problem.

  • Chuck,
    read your review of City of the Lost, went straight to Amazon, read the first few pages and bought the damn thing.

    Can’t wait to read it; I’m sure I’ll dig it. Anyone else who buys it, go for a “new” copy so that Mr. Blackmoore makes a little coin.

  • So publishing is like skydiving.
    Except if you get publishing wrong, you might actually get a second chance … if you get skydiving wrong you’ll probably not get another chance unless your name is Wile E Coyote.
    It reminds me of the joke:
    Q: What’s the difference between golfers and skydivers?
    A: Golfers go “whack, SHIT!” & Skydivers go, “SHIT, whack!”

  • Awesome post, Stephen! You almost convinced me that skydiving is no longer to be put at the very bottom of my To Do list, below having all my teeth extracted without anaesthetic and watching more than five minutes of reality TV.

    Almost.

    But I love the analogy. I shall bring it to mind come April, when my own novel makes its way into the hands of the book-buying public, and indeed in coming weeks when the reviews start popping up on blogs (ARCs are already out there…). I’ve already jumped out of this plane – I just have to hope I miss the ground :)

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