Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Aspirations of a ten-year-old

My book for reals.
I think I was nine or ten when I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was around this time anyway that I started looking for ways to write stories as a means of fulfilling homework assignments, and that I began to fudge the answers on aptitude tests so the results would show I ought to be a writer. Since then I've done some of the things that most writers do – I've sporadically kept journals, I've written and submitted in a variety of genres and styles, I've bought and read entire libraries-full of writing how-to books. And I've done some things most writers probably don't, such as just plain trying to give up writing because it's so fucking hard and heart-breaking.

But I've always come back to it. And I always feel a huge sense of relief when I do.

And now, finally, after a lot of years, I have a novel coming out that has my name on the cover and everything. And I know that I already have several books with my name on them out there. But they've been collections of comics and that's just not what I envisioned back when I was nine or ten. And this is not meant as a slight against comics at all. Comics buoyed me at a time when I was very low, and they helped me pay some bills. The work I did in comics kept me believing that I was able to write at all. Hell, it's because I was able to sell comics scripts that I even decided to give writing prose again a chance. So, yeah, I owe a lot to comics.

Still, I always wanted to write a prose novel and to have it be published and loose in the world, and it looks like that's about to happen. Last week I received a small package from my publisher (Kensington, which is an independent publisher and which has been just freaking wonderful to work with). The package contained a small number of comp copies of my book, Zomburbia – just a taste, the rest of my comps will come later. I opened that package and held in my hands a real book with my name on the cover.

And the nine-or ten-year-old in me knew that I hadn't messed things up too badly if I'd accomplished this.

Listen, I know what the book market is like. Zomburbia may come and go without making a single ripple in the publishing industry, but it's here now. And that's enough. Also, the sequel is already written and in the hands of the publisher and now I'm writing something new and I have a reasonable expectation that someone will buy it. So there's that.

By the way, my second choice of career when I was ten was to become a politician. I think we can all be happy I chose to become a writer.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wasn't there some sort of contest going on?

Last night I had my son, Oscar, help me draw names from a literal hat to determine the winners of the little contest I had going. Remember, there were ten signed cover flats up for grabs and one lucky person won a signed ARC of Zomburbia, my debut YA novel which is set to be released next month from Kensington.

Without any more rambling, here are the winners:

Signed cover flats (in the order they were drawn):
  1. Marlene Pardo
  2. Hans Strickler
  3. Mike Perron
  4. Zachary Jernigan
  5. Victoria Fountain
  6. Trinh Le
  7. Dan Jones
  8. Benjamina Harmon Balmer
  9. Kat Kem
  10. Eryca Latham

And the winner of the signed Zomburbia Arc:
  1. Aaron Marvin!

I'l be contacting all of the winners in the next day or two to get addresses where I should send their goodies.

I want to thank everyone who helped me spread the word about my book. I truly appreciate it.

And if you're disappointed that you didn't win an ARC, Goodreads.com is still giving away 25 of them. Of course, more than 300 people have entered the contest, so maybe the odds aren't great – and none of those will be signed. Or not signed by me, at least... Also, I think I'll be doing something different as the pub date gets closer, but I'll be giving away a signed copy of the regular book. So stay tuned.

Finally, if you definitely want a copy and don't want to leave it to chance, you might consider preordering it from one of these fine online retailers*:

Barnes and Noble
Indie Bound

Thank you again to everyone who helped out!

*I realize I called Amazon a fine online retailer, but rest assured I did it with tongue firmly in cheek. Still, I won't judge you if that's where you choose to preorder the book.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Want a signed ARC of Zomburbia?

These are the cover flats you might win. They look better in real life.
It's contest time, folks!

I have an ARC (Advanced Reading Copy – though Action Robot Cop would be a lot more cool...) and some cover flats of Zomburbia to give away.

And what, I hear you asking, must one do to win one of these fine prizes? The answer is simple: Help me spread the word about Zomburbia. The book comes out on August 26, which is just a little over a month away, and I'd like to build awareness of its launch. Some people have already been talking about it with folks they know, and for that I'm very grateful. I'm hoping this little contest will help the word-of-mouth campaign build (and, as a result, will help grow the preorder figures as well).

You can talk it up on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and your own blog. Or anywhere else it occurs to you to mention it. But here's the thing: If you share it, let me know. If you do it on Facebook or Twitter, you can just tag me and I'll see it. If you choose some other venue, you may need to actually point it out by emailing me.

Talk about the book and I'll put your name in a hat. More than likely it will be a metaphorical hat, but who knows, I may go crazy and get a real-live hat for the drawing. Share it on multiple platforms and I'll put your name in multiple times. Get it?

This blog post is going live on Friday, July 18, so we'll give it until Thursday, July 24 when I'll choose winners and announce them that Friday. Ten folks will win a cover flat, signed by me if you'd like. One lucky winner will get the ARC well before the book is available to everyone else. And I'll lower its value by signing it if you'd like.

Here are some suggestions for things you might want to shout out to the world:

And please remember to tag me. On Twitter, I'm @adamgallardo; If we're not already friends on Facebook, why not friend me?; and if you do something on a site other than those, email me to let me know.

You have a week. Get to sharing! And thanks.

Seriously, I appreciate everyone who's already talked about Zomburbia with their friends, and I'm grateful that so many of you are excited for me and for Zomburbia to be published. Thanks!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

New, I mean old, musical crush #3 in a series

Weird Al Yankovic. Let that sink in. My musical crush right now is Weird Al Yankovic. We listen to music at my day job thanks to Spotify. Yesterday we spent at least half the day listening to my buddy Al. It occurred to me the other day as I was watching a new Yankovic video that he's had a career spanning more than three decades. A lot of the artists whose songs he's parodied would kill for that kind of longevity. Hell, I hope my own career as an artist last that long.

His latest song and video are right in my wheelhouse (are we still saying that?). Parodying "Blurred Lines" and turning it into a grammar lesson? Yes, please! I'm pasting it below.

And I'm hoping the "Weird Al" will still be singing in another thirty years.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Enter to win an ARC of Zomburbia on GoodReads

This is just a screen cap, Bucky. To enter, click the link below.
My publisher, Kensington, are giving away a number of ARCs of Zomburbia on Goodreads. The contest is open now until the 31st of August. Unfortunately, it's only open to people in the US and Canada. Sorry about that, rest of the world...

For those of you in North America however, go to it!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Kirkus reviews Zomburbia

As stated in the headline, Kirkus have reviewed, mostly favorably, Zomburbia. Pasted below is the full text of that review.

Author: Adam Gallardo

“Comics author Gallardo nails her voice—likable yet self-absorbed… the interpersonal drama strikes a comfortable balance with undead action. More brains than your average zombie novel…and more entrails as well!” – Kirkus Reviews
Unlike the classic zombie-apocalypse scenario, humanity here hasn't been completely devastated—in suburbia, life has adapted. Post-zombie outbreak, people live behind gates or fences, students take a yearly health and hygiene class on the zombie virus, and firearms are commonplace in backpacks and cars. Courtney's determined to escape the suburbs and attend college in New York—the government hopes the city will be habitable again—but her father will only pay for her college if she goes in-state. To fund her dream, she works at a local burger joint—and sells Vitamin Z (an illegal drug made from zombie brains). Then jock Brandon falls for her, crossing clique lines. Courtney vacillates between her old friends and Brandon's popular world while hiding her drug dealing. Courtney's smart and ambitious, and she makes terrible decisions.Comics author Gallardo nails her voice—likable yet self-absorbed. This rough world lends itself to drug dealing, partying, guns-blazing action sequences and unvarnished language, but it occasionally enables the characters' emotional detachment, resulting in weak motivations for their actions. There's an additional mystery about some smarter, faster zombies—seemingly left for the sequel despite heavy hints that make the answer seem obvious. Aside from that, the interpersonal drama strikes a comfortable balance with undead action. More brains than your average zombie novel…and more entrails as well! (Horror. 14 & up)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New musical crush #2 in a series

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down have been in very heavy rotation in my ear holes as I finished off the manuscript for Zombified. I think there's just something really sexy about this music, and about Thao's voice. So there: now you get to picture me thinking sexy thoughts while you listen to this. You are welcome.

Also, it occurs to me that I was introduced to Thao and the GDSD, and to Valerie June, by my co-worker, Trinh. We listen to music at the book buying counter via a Spotify account and I think I'm lucky that she has such good taste. Thanks, Trinh!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

What's been happening?

Since last we spoke, some stuff has happened. Some of that stuff took up so much of my time that I failed to update this blog. For instance, I finished up the draft of Zombified, which is the sequel to Zomburbia. I finished it, I got it to my agent, my agent gave me notes, I made changes based on those notes and sent it off to my editor. Just yesterday, I heard from my editor. She accepted the manuscript with no major revisions. All the notes she had will be incorporated along with the copy editor's notes on the production draft. The process I just described took up a good chunk of May and all of June.

I may go into more detail about this process at some point, but maybe not. I'm not being coy, I'm genuinely trying to suss out how I feel about what I just went through and how much I want to share. So, you'll have to wait and see, I guess.

What else? Well, despite the fact that the manuscript was just accepted yesterday, there's now a cover for Zombified. It was photographed by Blake Morrow, the same guy who shot the cover for Zomburbia, and I think it's just as great. Ready to see it?

Terrific, right?

Zombified is already in Kensington's catalog and it has a pub date in January. Believe me when I tell you that I'll keep you informed as that date gets closer.

And I'll also be doing some promotion-type stuff for Zomburbia as well. Watch this space later in the week for more on that.

That's all for now, I suppose.

Man, my blogging skills are rusty...

New musical crush #1 in a series

It seems like my capacity to develop crushes on musicians is pretty much limitless.Valerie June is one of a couple of new acts (new to me at least) that I've had on heavy rotation as I've been writing lately. And since I've spent so much of the last month writing, that means I've been listening to this a lot.

Rather than fumble around for an inadequate description of her music, why don't you just listen to a little of it? You can than me later.