"A painting depicting an event that changed the world, painted in Florence during a period of time of drastic and rapid change!"
Holy Crap, have things changed in the span of one year or what?
Ok, I'm sitting here on my bed in my apartment in Italy that I rent once a year, same as I've been doing every year for the past three Falls. Like most of Italy, the ancient buildings are the same, the good natured people are the same, the priceless works of art are the same, the old recipes are still melt in you mouth, the Tuscan hills still damp from almost daily rains, the olive groves lush with fruit, the Chinati still blood red.
I'm still sitting at the old wood desk beside the window that opens up onto the cobbled street four stories below, the sound of boots on the stone creating a kind of rat-tat-tat rhythm that combines with the tap of keys and somehow propels my work. Energizes it even.
But what's changed.
I'm a bestseller for one. Not in one Amazon category, but at least five. Five that I've seen anyway. How has that happened for me? Blame it on the publisher. My newest publisher, StoneHouseInk and its new imprint StoneGate Ink, not only welcomed me in via my agent this past spring, but took enough interest to republish my out of print novels. While the first novel they published this past summer, The Remains, has exploded in sales and great reviews, StoneGate was quick to follow up with The Innocent, the re-publication of my critically acclaimed novel, As Catch Can.
What's new about this?
While As Catch Can got its six week shot with the big bookstores before they yanked it from the shelves according to corporate SOP, The Innocent (the novel's original title), became an instant bestseller in Kindle and EBook and will be avilable on the virtual shelf 24/7, 365 days a year, well into the next century and beyond. So kiss my well carved glutes Borders of old! Oh, I forgot, you're out of business now.
So what's changed?
If someone told me a year ago while sitting on this same bed in Italy that when you get here next year you will have three bestselling books behind you, three bestselling digital shorts, plus two new agented contracts, and two more contracts in the works, and renewed movie interest, I would have said, take another puff.
But that's what's changed.
Do I have myself to thank?
Sure. I write the words that make the whole world read. But then, my publisher publishes those words, and just like the old days, say when Hemingway was walking the cobbles of Venice for nearly a year in order to write Across the River and Into The Trees, this publisher has become like family for me. They are interested in everything I do and are determined to take every step necessary to see that all my books are bestsellers. After all, family or no family, we're in business together. And while I write because I can't possibly not write, I still need someone backing me up who will make it possible for me to write full-time. The "Stone" companies are making that possible.
So, my agent is retiring. There was a time, not so long ago. Say, even a year ago while I was sitting on this bed, where that would have panicked me. The loss of an agent (and believe I've lost several through early retirement or just plain lack of interest or as in the case of one, criminal activity), is usually like the loss of a girlfriend or a spouse. But not in this case. What's changed is I wish my agent luck. The publishing world has changed drastically over the past year and she see's her roll in the business diminishing by the day. So, she's opting to get out while she can still hold her head up. In fact, she's going back to writing full time and opening up an Indy Press. She's a true survival story.
As for me, I have more books coming out. Three in 2011 alone.
They will all be bestsellers and I will be writing fiction for my living. But what won't change is sitting on this bed in Italy, listening to the boot heels slap the damp cobbles, a glass of blood red vino resting on the table beside me.