Join Prism Book Alliance® as Edmond Manning goes Outside the Margins today.
As an author, release day is a lot like the first day of school—you’re sending your kid out into the world. Will people like him? Will they appreciate him? Will kids make fun of him and point out his deficiencies? You already know that although you are not your kid, you will feel the sting of whatever criticism he receives.
Did you put enough work into this one, so that he’s well-adjusted, thoroughly edited, and has a pleasing ending? Will he like the lunch you packed?
Wait—that’s taking the metaphor a bit too far.
But I think I’ve made my point: that a book is like your kid, and with each new book you have to wonder, “Will I love this one as much as the last one I wrote?” I’m not a parent, so I can’t attest to how it works with children, whether you love them before they’re born or if you worry about loving them as much as your other kids, until the moment of birth and then suddenly find yourself overwhelmed by emotion. I only know how it works with books.
I must admit that, at the very beginning, I was more nervous about King John than the other books I’ve published. Would I love this one the same way?
Years ago, I designed a six-book story arc for The Lost and Founds. I had ideas (and still do) for Books Seven and Eight (possibly Nine), but the first story arc was really the first six books, the tale of loveable loser, Vin Vanbly, and his sometimes torturous path to finding true love.
Immediately, I knew the first book was King Perry, to be set in San Francisco. This made me very happy because I had recently returned to Minnesota after living in San Fran for five months on a work assignment. I treasured the bay area and was eager to commit into a book my raw love for the ocean, the redwoods, and the outrageousness of that glorious mecca. As I wrote, the crazy tale poured out of me, my fingertips flying over the keyboard as if I were a piano virtuoso playing some really challenging song (clearly, if I were skilled on the piano, I could have named some really challenging song just now. And if I weren’t so damn lazy, I would have at least Googled one). I laughed and cried while I wrote, laughing at how ridiculously purple my narrator’s prose had become, and crying for what Perry went through with his beautiful, broken heart.
I loved King Mai for different reasons. I loved those damn Bubbas. They reminded me of the straight male friends I’ve made who let my fabulous gay self into their hearts. Also, I went to college in DeKalb Illinois, and I grew up in a much smaller farm town. My friends and family are farmer stock. Writing this book allowed me to love the world I came from…small town prejudice and all. My loving King Mai is me loving my roots.
If King Mai represents where I came from, The Butterfly King represents more of my grown-up self. The setting for this one, New York, intimidates me. Nevertheless, I rented an apartment on craigslist and moved there for a month. I slept on a mattress in a small studio apartment and ate meals off a barren card table, seated on a metal folding chair. I was scared. But I sacrificed for something more important to me. In addition, the idea of trying to represent a powerful black man’s thoughts and life experiences intimidated me even more. How dare I put words in his mouth about race? And yet, I did dare. I stepped up. I stepped into some big adulthood shoes to write that book. I’m still a goofy idiot—that’s never changed, despite my adventure into adulthood—but the risk-taking in that book made me love The Butterfly King from the beginning. In that book, I dared.
I wasn’t sure about this one. Could I love it the way I did the others? I had decided the setting would be Burning Man, a logical place for Vin to refine his kinging mojo.And though that made a lot of sense while planning the overarching story arc, I myself had never attended Burning Man. I assured myself I would go in the intervening years, and writing Book Four was a few years off, so I didn’t worry about it too much. I made casual references to Vin’s history at Burning Man in the other books and didn’t sweat the details.
It’s easy to dream big, but at some point, you have to execute.
Sooooooo….I had to write a book that took place at Burning Man, a festival I had never attended. And thanks to the tight relationship I had created in the first three books between the physical setting and the man being kinged, I had to not only understand how Burning Man worked—the details, the physical layout, the events, and the people—I had to really honor the spirit of Burning Man, represent the deep love of that powerful community as I had with the other settings. Gah!
I was afraid I had bitten off more than I could chew.
Researched some more.
Asked beta readers for feedback.
And gradually, I fell in love.
Vin began to navigate Burning Man with the authority of a man who had attended for many years. His confidence became my confidence. His love for the title character became my love for the title character. Once again, Vin led me where I needed to go. Even then, the path was not easy. I struggled with the philosophical heart of this book—how they would share love and when. Apparently, I needed to wander into the desert, lost and confused, so that I could find the gorgeous oasis of a community built on radical acceptance, self-reliance, and giving more than you take.
By the time I had finished, I loved King John just as much as the other books.
When readers see a book in an author’s list, they don’t necessarily see the journey. They don’t know all the self-doubt that led to deleted paragraphs. They don’t see backtracking representing false chapter starts axed in favor of a new direction. They don’t know how the author typed and cried, cried and typed, wiping his or her blurry eyes to make something wonderful (or terrible) happen. Readers don’t know how many times I wrote and rewrote the same paragraph attempting to make the words sing.
What readers see is the new kid standing bashfully in the front of the room, twisting his fingers, stating his name and saying softly, “I hope you’ll read me.”
Well, John will never crack any of the Amazon lists I see other authors so cheerfully ascending with their new releases. He won’t make that honor roll. Still, he has to live up to the reputations of his older brothers, Perry, Mai, and Rance, already making their names in the world. John’s got an interesting tale, too, for those willing to listen.
But it doesn’t matter how popular he is. Despite my jitters as to how he will be received in the world, I love this kid. I love King John. He found his way into the depths of my heart, just like his older brothers.
Get out there, kid. Go make some friends.
Thurs, Sept 10 Facebook Release Party, 7p-9p Central, hosted by Bike Book Reviews
Fri, Sept 11 Reviews by Amos Lassen
Sat, Sept 12 Vanessa North.com
Tues, Sept 15 MM Good Book Reviews
Wed, Sept 16 The Novel Approach
Thurs, Sept 17 Purple Rose Tea House
Fri, Sept 18 Posy Roberts.com
Sat, Sept 19 Zipper Rippers
Tues, Sept 22 Joyfully Jay
Wed, Sept 23 Boys In Our Books
Thurs, Sept 24 It’s About the Book
Fri, Sept 25 Lou Harper.com
Sat, Sept 26 Love Bytes Reviews
Sun, Sept 27 Sinfully Addicted to Male Romance
Mon, Sept 28 Josephine Myles.com
Tues, Sept 29 Molly Lolly
Wed, Sept 30 Coffee and Porn in the Morning
Wed, Sept 30 Stumbling Over Chaos
Thurs, Oct 1 The Blogger Girls Reviews
Sat, Oct 3 On Top Down Under Reviews
Sun, Oct 4 The Hat Party!
Fri, Oct 2 Jessewave
Mon, Oct 5 Prism Book Alliance
Tues, Oct 6 Jaycee Edward.com
Wed, Oct 7 Hearts on Fire Book Reviews
Title: King John
Author: Edmond Manning
Publication Date: 09/10/2015
Cover Artist: L.C. Chase
Genre: Gay Fiction
English attorney Alistair Robertson can’t quite believe an astonishing tale of kingship and transformation he hears at Burning Man, the annual counter-culture art festival in the Black Rock desert. Who are the Found Kings? Is “being kinged” as magical as it sounds?
Determined to find the mysterious garage mechanic named Vin who helps men “remember who they were always meant to be,” Alistair catches his quarry amid the extravagant sculptures, fire worshipers, mutant cars, and lavish costumes. After searching for three years, he’ll finally get to ask the question burning inside him: “Will you king me?”
Wandering together through the desert, Vin Vanbly and Alistair explore Burning Man’s gifting culture and exotic traditions, where they meet the best and worst of their fellow burners. Alistair’s overconfidence in Vin’s manipulative power collides with Vin’s obsessive need to save a sixteen-year-old runaway from a nightmarish fate, and the two men spiral in uncontrollable, explosive directions.
In this fourth adventure of The Lost and Founds, beneath the sweltering summer sun and the six billion midnight stars, one truth emerges, searing itself on their hearts: in the desert, everything burns.
About Edmond Manning
Edmond Manning is the author of King Perry, King Mai, The Butterfly King andFilthy Acquisitions. He spends a great deal of time standing in front of the fridge with the door open, wondering why it’s not stocked with more luncheon meats and cheese.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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