Today is the Day!

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An embarrassment of riches: Today, my book officially launches into the world!

Technically, books are written in isolation: a writer alone in a dusty basement office, in a library study room crying her eyes out, in brief quiet moments in the lazy boy while the babies are sleeping...okay maybe that's just me. But books cannot truly be created, gestated, and birthed alone. You need the midwives, the muses, the mothers, the mystics, misfits, and moments that surround you, encourage you, and tell you to just breathe in a paper bag, it's going to be alright.

I cannot fully number those who helped me (I tried valiantly in my acknowledgments). But I am so grateful for them all.

In the coming weeks, I will be posting links to places that are hosting my words in their generous spaces. How appropriate that Good Letters, the first place to receive my writing on the mystics, has an excerpt today from my book. 

Also Cara Meredith, a fellow writer I got to meet briefly at the Festival of Faith and Writing, is posting an interview today about Mystics and Misfits on her Author Tuesday series.

A book launch gift from my writers group

A book launch gift from my writers group

Okay, now for the practical, boring, but essential parts about promoting a book (and ways you can help). Here are some simple ways you can help today and this week (and the coming weeks as you read the book):

1. Share your own photo of the book with a link to the book TODAY (amazon or mennomedia) on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use the hashtag #mysticsandmisfits.

2. Write reviews! Write reviews! Write reviews! This might sound silly but it really helps the book (algorithms and such) to have reviews on places like Amazon and Goodreads. I have 6 reviews from you lovely folks on Amazon and 5 on Goodreads. Can we get that up to 20 or even 50? They can be honest just as long as they are there. 

3. Word of mouth: Tell your friends about the book. Ask your library or local bookstores if they will carry it.

I've been so humbled by the ways Mystics and Misfits has already resonated with readers. I'd love to hear from you if you've read it. Leave a comment below or email me at christiananoelwrites@gmail.com. And stay tuned here for more post-launch day posts about mystics I've discovered since I wrote the book, music that helps me write and contemplate, and other places that have discovered the book. 

Thank you!

Year End Favorites

Year-end lists are fashionable among my writerly friends. So, I thought in my free moments, I would add my own small voice to the fray. Here are my top five in two categories:

Music

1. Advent song: Amanda Palmer's version of The Angel Gabriel

I'm not a fan of Amanda Palmer. Don't get me wrong; it's not that I actively dislike her, I just don't know much of her music. From what I have listened to though, she's less of a singer and more of an artist. Her voice is shaky and deep, which works for a certain style but not usually for choral hymns. However, her version of The Angel Gabriel is haunting and hypnotic and reminiscent of the chanting of medieval monks.

I do find Palmer interesting. Her TEDtalk was inspiring and her art is weird and, like this hymn, fascinating. Plus, her husband, Neil Gaiman has written some of my favorite books. The pair of them are equally weird and wonderful.

2. Worship music: All the Poor and Powerless by All Sons and Daughters

I used to loathe most worship music played on the radio. And truthfully, I still find most of it too saccharin and unchallenging to be worth my time. But I discovered All Sons and Daughters while working on leading a worship service with a friend.

3. Alternative: Shovels and Rope: The Devil's All Around

I heard this unusual married duo on an NPR interview. It's just the two of them, pounding on drums and a guitar about as hard as they pound out their voices.

4. Throwback Country: Randy Travis' Deeper than the Holler

My husband and I were listening to a Pandora station recently and discovered our mutual love of 90s country music: Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, Martina McBride, and Deana Carter. These folks sang the soundtrack of our high school days. And how can you resist listening to this classic love song, sung loud with your husband about how our love is "longer than the song of the whippoorwill?"

5. Folk rock: The Staves' Dead & Born & Grown

I love this entire album from a trio of English sisters. Their harmonies bring me back to singing hymns with my own two sisters.

Books (in no particular order)

1. Lila by Marilynne Robinson

2. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

3. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

4. Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns Trilogy (see Karissa Know Sorrell's reflection on this YA fantasy with a strong heroine)

5. Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys Quartet (though only three are out so far)

6. Louise Penny's Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries beginning with Still Life

7. Sara Zarr's Story of a Girl

9. Barbara Brown Taylor's Learning to Walk in the Dark

10. Tamora Pierce's Lioness Rampant

and one to grow on...

11. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell