Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kelli Stanley Comes to Jen's

This past year I had the great pleasure to meet Kelli Stanley. You actually don't have to meet this vivacious woman in person to experience the warmth of her personality. She's simply one of the most out-going, kind-hearted people on earth, let alone the crime fiction community. If you were here for her interview, you probably got a sense of that then. But on top of being a fabulous person, she's an amazing writer. I was fortunate enough to get an early glimpse of her novel, CITY OF DRAGONS, that debuts today. You can read my review of CoD here if you haven't already. I remember thinking as I finished reading that it was fitting for someone as amazing as her to be blessed with a story-telling gift like she has.

Kelli's first novel, NOX DORMIENDA, won the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award and was a Macavity finalist. The sequel to NOX, CURSED, is scheduled to be published by CITY OF DRAGONS publisher, St. Martin's Minotaur. NOX DORMIENDA and CURSED are novels set in Rome in the first century. CITY OF DRAGONS moves us up a little closer to the present in 1940s San Francisco. Kelli will also be one of the featured authors in the upcoming FIRST THRILLS anthology due out later this year. Her short story, "Children's Day" was chosen for this anthology. It is a prequel to CITY OF DRAGONS. I'm looking forward to a little back story on my new friend, Miranda. Regardless of what century Kelli's writing in, she makes the period come alive and she plops the reader squarely in the midst of it.

It is my honor to host her today, on the day her novel makes it's debut nation-wide. So, without further ado, Kelli Stanley.

Everybody Comes to Jen's

Today is THE day. The day I dreamt of last January, closing my eyes tight and hoping against hope that the economic downturn—and subsequent shaking up in publishing houses—would not keep City of Dragons from being published.

Release day is like your birthday and Christmas and Halloween rolled into one. It’s what you envision, what you hope for, all the potential and excitement of maybe THIS will be the one, this book will be successful enough to launch a series and enable you to keep writing … every writer’s dream.

The wheel of publication fortune. And you just might hit the right number, or at least a good enough number to keep you going.

So today is joyous, it’s celebratory, and it’s also scary. And when you’re faced with that kind of combination, it’s important to be with family.

And that’s why I’m at Jen’s Book Thoughts.

I asked Jen if I could hang out with her on February 2, because Jen and her blog represent friendship and home and community. Of all the gin joints in all the blogs in all the world, I wanted to stop for a drink here, because what Jen is and what she’s done—the amazing six word memoir project, the insightful reviews, the interviews—are examples of why being a crime fiction writer is the greatest job on earth. She’s Rick’s Café in war-torn Casablanca, a haven and a heaven for writers and readers and even literary refugees.

I grew up without a lot of people and without a big family … I’m an only child. I understand lonely places and lonely people, and I also understand how crucial it is to reach out and communicate and touch each other’s lives, because baby—that’s our only chance. Our only hope. That’s one reason I became a writer. I wanted to write books that would entertain people and give them something more, something to make them think and learn and maybe strengthen that common human bond we depend upon every day.

What I didn’t expect was how giving … how generous … how supportive and empathetic and just plain damn noble this community is.

I have been touched by so many kindnesses, heartened by so much support, and blessed by so many friends, that I can’t enumerate them all, even if I used all 300+ pages of City of Dragons to list ‘em for you.

And while I am with my loved ones here in San Francisco, preparing for my launch party at another home away from home, M is for Mystery, I wanted to also be with my other family. So here I am at Jen’s … and for this moment … and for however many more that I’ll be lucky enough to share with you down this road … thank you.

You—community, family, colleagues, friends—are the single best reason to be a writer.

Here’s lookin’ at you, kids.

Thanks for hangin' out with us today Kelli. You know it is always wonderful to have you here, and I'm honored you chose to spend your release date with us! I hope it is one for the record books!

And everyone visiting, I hope you'll take an opportunity to check out Kelli's website. She has some great extras for CITY OF DRAGONS available. One of my favorites is the soundtrack to the novel. As I was reading CoD, I often would find the songs stuck in my head long after I'd closed the book, so that was especially fun for me. If you're out on the West Coast, you may want to check out Kelli's tour stops. She has quite a few, and I know she'd genuinely love to meet you.

As always, my friends, happy reading!


Jamie Freveletti February 2, 2010 at 8:15 AM  

Have a wonderful launch, Kelli. You picked the right place to begin.

Knock 'em out!

Kay February 2, 2010 at 9:41 AM  

Very nice! I have both books on my radar and plan to get them in loop this year. Congratulation, Kelli! I hope today is all you wished it to be. Jen is a wonderful blogger and I don't blame you for wanting to be here today.

Kelli Stanley February 2, 2010 at 10:26 AM  

Thanks, Jamie!! :) Jen's is like home, and to be here among friends "takes the sting out of being occupied", to quote Casablanca. Except for me, it's the sting of not being available on Amazon yet! ;)


Kelli Stanley February 2, 2010 at 10:29 AM  

Kay, thanks so much!! :)

Any launch begun with such wonderful friends is blessed! :)

Thanks for stopping by, and have a fabulous day!

Kelli Stanley February 2, 2010 at 10:36 AM  

Jen, my dear friend, thank you so much for having me over and for that incredible introduction -- it choked me up. :)

I spend a lot of time in the past through my writing, but today I'm especially grateful to be living in an age where we can celebrate together--no matter how far apart we live!! :)

Thank you, sweetheart!!!


Nic Ford February 2, 2010 at 4:31 PM  

Good luck on the launch..I'll raise a glass (or two) of sloe gin to your success!

Kelli Stanley February 2, 2010 at 4:39 PM  

Thanks, Nic!! :) I'm looking forward to trying some of that gin eventually!! :)


Steve Hockensmith February 2, 2010 at 5:06 PM  

Sorry I can't make it tonight -- I'm getting squashed by a killer deadline. I know you'll knock 'em dead, though. It's your night. Revel in it.


Kelli Stanley February 2, 2010 at 6:30 PM  

Thanks, Steve!! :) And good luck on that deadline--if anyone can rein in that hoss, you can! :)


Jen Forbus February 2, 2010 at 8:06 PM  

Hey everybody! Thanks for sharing Kelli's special day here with us. She's probably gearing up as I type to head out to M is for Murder.

Have a great party, Kel, and I'll see you in October if not earlier!

Jen Forbus February 3, 2010 at 6:21 AM  

D'oh! That should have been M is for Mystery. Sorry.

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