Well, it's the end of launch week for Gutter Mage. You'd think by my twelfth (!) book, it wouldn't be so nerve-wracking. But it certainly was. Maybe because I'm launching this whole new thing with a new name and everything? I don't know.
I've also heard from my agent and others that there's an industry-wide supply chain issue delaying book shipments from printers to booksellers. My own author copies, which generally arrive a month or so ahead, came only days before launch. Hopefully everyone who was kind enough to pre-order has received their copy by now.
Bookstores are still reluctant to host events, so I haven't be able to do much in the way of in-person promotion. Instead, I've been relatively active on social media. The image for this issue was a promotional graphic made by my friend Diana Peterfreund. I also did an AMA (ask me anything) on Reddit's r/Fantasy, which you can read here.
We're still waiting on the major trade reviews like Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus, as well as some interview stuff to come out. It seems like everything is behind these days. But a few things have started to come in:
Bustle listed Gutter Mage as one of the best new books for the week.
Kraken to a Good Book included it in her latest video Gutter Mage shows up around the 17 minute mark and gets a very enthusiastic review.
It was mentioned in A Galaxy Not So Far Away podcast. Not a review, but Gutter Mage gets mentioned at around the 11:50 mark. They discuss the premise, which they thought was very appealing, and they suggested the name Rosalind Featherstone sounded like "a Victorian drag queen", which amused me greatly.
If you're in the DC area, I am going to be at Capclave next weekend, Friday October 1st, and Saturday October 2nd, where I'll be speaking on a few panels. It's going to be an in-person event, with both vaccines and masks required. So if you're in the area, vaxed and masked up, come say hi!
It always feels a little strange for authors to discuss a book during its launch because usually it's been a year or more since we wrote it. For example, I wrote Gutter Mage back in 2019—a big chunk of it in March of that year while staying at a friend's place in Prague. I know that sounds fancy, but it was probably the least fancy way to visit Prague. For one thing, I had a free place to stay. And in order to save on flight costs, I took such a circuitous route that the total travel time from DC to Prague was 29 hours. There were several chapters of Gutter Mage (I won't say which), that I wrote during that delirium-inducing voyage.
A lot has happened in the intervening two years, and when people ask what inspired me to write Gutter Mage, I really have to think about it. There been world-shifting events that affected us all, like the pandemic, civil rights protests after George Floyd's murder, and an open insurrection at the US Capital. There have also been some massive shifts for me personally. Additionally, I'm working on vastly different projects right now, my head mostly filled with ghost Nazis and 80's toy franchises (more on those in later newsletters). So in order to answer interview questions and the like, I have to travel back in time to where my head was at in Prague during the spring of 2019, and that feels very far away to me.
Yet I don't feel like Gutter Mage is behind me. If anything, I feel like I've finally caught up with it. I'm not sure that makes sense to anyone else but me. Time (and sales numbers) will tell whether there is more to come for Rosalind Featherstone, but I do hope I get to take her on another mystery adventure in the future.