Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Traveling Circus and Snake Handling Show, 
aka Seanan McGuire's Latest Book Release Party

So last Saturday we piled in the car in the pouring rain and went on up to San Francisco for Seanan's book release party for her latest book, Late Eclipses, at Borderlands Books, which is an invitingly warm and cozy place filled with bookshelves floor to ceiling along on Valencia Street. The place was packed when we got there, filled to capacity and the band was playing. We were late and so we missed most of their first set, which included some of my favorites. Ah well.
Part of the band; Seanan and Tony joined in at various points also.
I was a bit overwhelmed by the crowd at first (I don't usually do well in big crowds for whatever reason) and I was almost ready to squiggle back out the front door until Paul reminded me of my camera in my backpack. And oddly enough, pulling out my trusty camera and going into 'look around for visual candy' mode helped me relax tremendously and see everyone there as interesting individuals, rather than as a big mob. So I took lots of pictures throughout the evening; the quality of the shots is grainy and blurry, but most of them are up for people to see if they wish over at my Picasa album site. (Picasa will let you look through them as a slideshow or even buy prints if you feel so inclined.).
Seanan answers questions, as well as imitating a zombie...
Seanan puts on a darned fine book release party. Cupcakes were served, Seanan was her usual wild and entertaining self, joking around, answering questions, signing books for a huge pile of people who waited patiently in line towards the end of the evening. And of course there was the live music from the band, formed this time of Betsy Tinney and her cello, Vixy and Tony, and the Bohnhoffs, and of course Seanan herself. It all made for a wonderful combination of songs and styles and created a festive party mood for the entire evening.
Party atmosphere!
There were raffle tickets and plenty of prizes, balloons which ended up being given to the kids and several Q&A sessions inbetween music sets and book signing.
Balloons make a late night better.
Seanan signed a variety of goodies.
Seanan and her mom take a moment.
Kate ran the signing table with great aplomb.
singing with multi-part harmonies
Jeff smiling!!
Vixy and Maya
Answering questions.
Tony noodling out a part in the back room .
Stealth knitting of socks during a music set.
The Borderlands staff sold a bunch of books with patience and good humor.
Well, there's a sampling. The photos don't really do it justice. Seanan throws a great book release party.

Authors have amazingly difficult jobs, when you think about it. They have to be multi-tasking, multi-talented in so many ways. Not only do they have to be good writers, constantly working at getting better at their chosen craft, but they also have to combine a whole different set of skills in order to be successful as writers. I've heard people say "oh, they're so lucky that they got published", or "how lucky that that extra stuff required of authors now comes so easily to them" and you know, there's not much luck involved at all. It's a lot of hard work, being prepared for any opportunities that come along, doing the research to know what's necessary to get published and promote oneself in this day and age. Luck is a myth and none of the authors I know have had a lick of luck; they all work damned hard for where they've gotten. So I don't want to hear any more comments about how lucky someone is or how easy somebody's got it. The old cliche about 'Luck favors the prepared' is true.

Seanan works mind-bogglingly hard on her writing, but she also is quite savvy about social media, having an active blog as well as her own website, and she puts a lot of work into setting up guest appearances (book release parties among them), keeping up with reviews and fans and all the many other things that writers need to do now in order to become successful in any way. All of that is in addition to all the time she spends writing (she's incredibly prolific). She works full time at her day job and still finds time to write her books and her poetry. She writes and performs her own music, and does many guest spots at various conventions. She jokes that she doesn't sleep much, but it's really not a joke.

She works so hard, and we've watched Seanan work hard for many years to get where she is right now. I've heard some people say that she's an overnight sensation because she's had three books published in a single year, she catapulted onto the New York Times Best-Seller List, she was nominated and won the John Campbell award for best new writer, all in this past year. But the bald fact is that Seanan has been working flat out like a demon for years to get here. She's worked hard at all of it. And she hasn't sold her soul to the devil to achieve it all; she's still her own lovable, quirky, weird and wildly intelligent self that we know and love.

I'm so happy that she's now getting recognition for all that hard work. And of course it doesn't end; she'll keep working flat out to write more books, make more appearances, write more songs and start a new album along with everything else she does. I think she deserves another Mad Hatter cupcake with a Diet Dr. Pepper at the very least.

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