waiting for spring

Another Waiting For Spring review!

I don’t like to play favorites (probably a side effect of being the mother of two) but this is, by far, my favorite review of Waiting For Spring.  It’s from Moriah Jovan, author of The Proviso.

Check it out!

http://moriahjovan.com/mojo/book-review-waiting-for-spring

The twin hyperbolic allegories of “until she ruined my life” and “Seven years old. And already I knew I was in some deep shit” are not, actually, hyperbolic or allegorical, but the reader doesn’t find out why or how until far, far into the book. You might be tempted to point out that this is simply excellent fiction infrastructure, to which I would say…yeah, I know. But I don’t see that a whole lot anymore. […] A good portion of Tess’s internal dialog and her observations are written as wry asides to herself and she is inviting you, Random Reader, to chuckle along with her. And I did. Even while I had tears running down my cheeks.

waiting for spring

Working on some updates

This coming week, I’m going to begin work on a Waiting For Spring F.A.Q for the WFS page. I’ll start with questions I’ve received already by email, but if you’ve read the book and have a question about the story, characters, setting, or anything else, please either email me at rjkeller.wfs@gmail.com or leave it in the comments section of this post.

Just one request: If your question or comment is spoilery PLEASE post a warning stating so before the question or comment, or send it by email, for the benefit of those who haven’t read or finished reading the story.

In the meantime, don’t forget to vote in the ‘favorite character’ poll at the bottom of the WFS page!

Thanks a bunch!

waiting for spring

Waiting for Spring – New Podler Review

The New Podler Review posted a review of Waiting For Spring. Naturally, I’ll only quote the praise here:

What impresses me about Waiting for Spring the most is the writing. R.J. Keller is a good writer…and there are some good lines in the book that are worthy of a good independent film.

Another impressive aspect of Spring is the humanity of its characters—Tess and Brian seem human for two reasons. They have personal struggles resulting from understandable yearnings and conflicting emotions.

Not only are the characters real, they inhabit a realistically portrayed world populated by secondary characters who seem alive. Someone once said that you should write about that which you know, and R.J. Keller certainly knows the world that she chose to portray in her novel. I think that there are more books to be written about the characters in these two towns.

You can read the full review here (warning…there be spoilers there):

http://thenewpodlerreviews.blogspot.com/2008/12/waiting-for-spring.html

baseball, indie book, Red Sox, self-publishing, waiting for spring, writing

Another fresh page to soil

aka: a warm and hearty welcome.

 Well here it is…my first official post made directly from my new blog. You’ve probably already noticed that I’ve imported all of my old blogger posts so it’ll feel more like home. Hopefully you’ve also noticed the new pages up yonder, namely my new About Me page, Indie book page, and – yes! – a Waiting For Spring page (don’t worry!!! No spoilers!!) There’s a new poll on the WFS page. I’ll be adding some new stuff in the next few weeks, and will keep you posted on the changes. 

In other blogging/writing news, I want to direct your attention to a new indie publishing blog that got its official kick-off today: Publishing Renaissance. Contributors include Zoe Winters, Moriah Jovan, Rae Lori, Robin Altman, and myself:

We are a group of indie writers putting our work out into the world and trying to navigate the web, social media, and all the new opportunities available.  Each of us has different perspectives on what it means to be indie, why we’re indie, and the unique challenges that indie publishers face.

What we share in common is a desire for community with other indies, and a goal toward raising the quality of the work put out by indies.

Today’s post is entitled The Ever-evolving World of Indie from a guest blogger, Mr. Cliff Burns, whose very excellent blog you can read here. For now, you’ll find the link to the blog itself, as well as to each contributor, in my blogroll. Those links will have a more prominent spot in the sidebar very soon…

varitekIn the meantime, if you need me you’ll find me alternately praying to the baseball gods for Captain Jason Varitek’s safe return to my beloved Red Sox and cursing the name of Scott  Boras, his agent. There is not enough profanity in the English language to express the bitterness and near-hatred I feel for that man. I’m hoping that at least one of my faithful readers is bi- (or even tri-) lingual and can help me out in this regard.

waiting for spring, writing

The moral ambiguity of a writer’s world…

Alternate title: “Kel’s morals are a little shaky.”

** (Warning: there be Waiting For Spring spoilers here. Be strong, KC!) **

I’ve always been a bit nervous about readers’ reaction to the rather gruesome murder of Tim, Rachel’s abusive, drug-dealing boyfriend; the asshole who was responsible for her death. I mean, as hideous a man as he was, murder is still murder, right? And I wondered if readers would be okay with the fact that Rick is never brought to justice for taking the law into his own hands. Or, to be much more honest, I wondered what they’d think of me for not bringing him to justice.

Here is the answer to my question (culled from various reader emails):

  • “Tim so got what he deserved.”
  • “I’ll admit to cheering aloud at my computer screen when you described the manner in which Rick dispatched with Tim.”
  • “The way Tim died was perfect! Rachel got justice, Rick got redemption.”
  • “Yes! If there was any justice in the real world, that’s what all wife beaters would get.”

Al-righty, then.

I think the reason for this response is obvious. In the real world – as in the fictional world I created – there is a sense of being powerless against the Tims we encounter, and it’s a great feeling when we see ‘justice’ being done; even if that justice is of the vigilante sort.

In the real world, however, we can’t just go out and off abusers, as much as we’d love to, because murder is immoral as well as illegal. In the fictional world of Waiting For Spring, Tim’s guilt is an absolute certainty. I created him, and the situation, and so I was able to say to you, the reader, “This guy is responsible for Rachel’s death. He’s going to get away with it, because he’s smart.” That’s why it was ‘acceptable’ to most readers for him to die so violently; for justice to be done outside of a court room. In the real world, though, we can’t ever be 100% sure we’ve got the right guy. And even if we feel we are, as flawed as it is, that’s what our justice system is for. End of story.

So if I truly believe the above arguments (and I do), why didn’t I use WFS to explore them? Well, mostly because it’s not what this part of the story was about. It was chiefly about Tess Dyer and Brian LaChance dealing with (among other things) their guilt and powerlessness in the aftermath of the tragedy. It was also about – as stated above – Rick finding a measure of redemption for his sins (something I’m diving even more deeply into in the new book I’m writing).

Also, I was more interested in exploring the human and societal – rather than in the legal – aspects of the situation. For example, Tess struggles with guilt on the night she knows Tim is going to be murdered, even though she sanctioned it, had earlier tried to do it herself:

“I stayed awake for another hour, imagining Tim as a little boy. I wondered what his family might have been like; wondered what had happened to him that had turned him into a monster.”

She had similarly wondered about the fate of a dirty little boy she’d seen at the market earlier in the novel, whose mother was an alcoholic:

“I wondered how much longer it would be before he realized exactly what kind of family he’d been born into. Before he understood that the twenty dollars his mother was using for liquor should have been used instead for soap and shampoo and laundry detergent. Would he grow up resentful? Bitter? Would he rise above it, determined to make a better life for himself? Or would he grow up thinking that it was normal to live that way?”

With the little boy, she was powerless to improve his situation. All she could do was offer him, in front of his mother, a friendly smile. Was this small gesture something this boy would remember and cling to in the bleak years ahead, or would it be forgotten as he slipped silently into a world of poverty and alcoholism? Was there something more Tess could have done for him after all? And what about Tim as a child? Was there any such moment in his life, when he could have been reached by a friendly gesture – or by ‘something more’? And if so, how do we explain the fact that Brian – who was abandoned by an alcoholic father, and given nothing in the way of outside help – grew up to be a decent, even heroic, human being?

Still, I have to admit that I can’t think of anything else I’ve written that gave me more pure joy than when I wrote about Tim’s death. Like Tess, I reasoned this way:

[Rachel] was lying cold and dead right now, waiting for spring to come so we could put her in the ground near her mother. Then I thought about Little Miss Seventeen and little Samantha and her mother. The boy who had died of an overdose last summer. And about the families of all those people. Their hearts were aching, right now. They were counting days and weeks and months, just like Brian and me. Soon we’d all be counting years. And soon, maybe already – maybe right now – Tim wouldn’t be. And he wouldn’t be taking them away from anybody else, either. Not anymore.

Because in the fictional world of New Mills, Maine, I am King. I have the power to make the rules, the laws, the morals, however shaky or ambigious they might be. And that’s why it’s great to be a writer.

waiting for spring

Waiting For Spring available on Smashwords

Hey all!

Waiting for Spring is now available to view or download in several formats on Smashwords:

  • Kindle (.mobi)
  • Epub (open industry format, good for Stanza reader, others)
  • PDF (good for highly formatted books, or for home printing)
  • RTF (readable on most word processors)
  • LRF (for Sony Reader)
  • Palm Doc (PDB) (for Palm reading devices)
  • Plain Text (download) (flexible, but lacks much formatting)
  • Plain Text (view) (viewable as web page)

I’ve uploaded it to Amazon as a Kindle download as well, which should be available there within the next few days.

AND sometime early next week, the trade paperback will be available to purchase from Amazon.

Who’s excited? That would be me! And hopefully you guys, too.

UPDATE: Waiting For Spring is NOW AVAILABLE at Amazon.com as a Kindle download! You can also leave a review there if you’ve read WFS already.

waiting for spring

Tess Dyer’s take on Black Friday

From chapter 26 of Waiting For Spring:

~~~~~

I looked out the window at Portland Maine. It was Black Friday. Early bird specials for early Christmas shoppers. Streets and parking lots that were packed with cars. Stores that were packed with angry customers in crowded aisles, fighting over the latest Must Have Toy. This year, like most years, it was some stupid stuffed animal that, when properly stuffed with too many batteries-not-included, spit out three different phrases. It was outrageously priced and in high demand because supplies were short. Supplies were short because the manufacturer had kept production low. That way they could create a high demand and charge outrageous prices.

Ho ho ho.

~~~~~


Read more of Waiting For Spring . . .