Monday, March 27, 2006

Story Behind the Dedication

Happy Monday, BGs.

First, a very big "thank you" to the buyers of Web of Lies out there. It has debuted on the April bestseller list (representing sales in the month of February) at #17. Released in mid-January, Web of Lies was just beginning to sell off shelves in February. With store promotions starting in March, I'm hoping sales will continue to rise, and WOL will move up in placement for the next list. But you never know about these things.

As for that secret dedication at the beginning of WOL:

For my pals Deb Raney and Robin Lee Hatcher.
Now you have to read it.

Amazingly, I was able to keep that dedication a secret, even when it was included in the ARCs. You early readers of the book were indeed good secret-holders. Robin Lee and Deb had great, long laughs when they received a copy of the book and saw the dedication.

So what's the story behind this tribute?

It began with a certain Deb Raney, during the very first ACFW conference (the organization was then called ACRW) in Houston. She and I, and some other authors were on a published author panel, see. (Note to Deb--when you're on a panel, speaking publicly, you're not supposed to diss fellow novelist's book.) So somebody asked a question, which I can't even remember now. What was important was Deb's answer, in which she managed to insert--quite emphatically, I might add--that she "doesn't read Brandilyn's books."

Well, now. She kept right on talking, as if she hadn't just cut me to the quick. But do you think I was gonna let her get away with that? Especially when I'd sent her a copy of Eyes of Elisha--free.

I reared my head back and ogled her, then faced the audience, wide-eyed. "Did you hear that?! She just told everybody at this conference she does not and will not read my books!"

Ol' Missy Deb did some fancy back pedaling, I can tell you. What she meant, she stuttered, is that she couldn't read my suspense novels because they were too scary. But she'd read my women's fiction and just loved them. (Oh, yeah, honey, back pedal away.)

Well, boy howdy, I had me some friends at that conference. One of 'em, a clever gal by the name of Tammy Alexander, sent Deb a gift box after the conference--chocolates and all kinda other soothing things to take the edge off while Deb read Eyes of Elisha. (Including a tin of Altoids for those moments when Deb forgot to b r e a t h e . . .) If I remember right (Deb, are you reading?--please do correct if it's not true), as a result of Tammy's persistence, Deb did read Eyes of Elisha. Queen Wimp apparently shivered all the way through it--and finished vowing she'd never read another suspense written by yours truly. True to her word, she has not touched another of my suspenses since--even though she has received a free copy or two. (I have since stopped sending them. I mean, really, I'm not in to self-flagellation.)

To this day I have no doubt Deb still runs around conferences telling people she won't read my books.

Then there's Robin Lee, who's wimp as extraordinaire as Deb. Only thing is, Robin is much more diplomatic about the whole thing. She certainly doesn't announce her refusal to read my books in public. In fact, out of the kindness of her heart and because she's a friend of mine, Robin took a huge gulp--and forced herself to read Eyes of Elisha.

"I'm very proud of myself," she told me later. "I only had two nightmares."

She, too, has not read another of my suspenses since.

Man. With friends like these . . .

So. Two much-loved pals, both sitting ducks, thanks to their wacky wimpiness. I do kill people for a living, you know. Do you really think I could let the opportunity pass to at least poke 'em a little?

Oh, yeah, yuck, yuck they went at the dedication. But let's be clear here. I haven't heard word one from either of these two wimpettes that they've actually read Web of Lies. Can you imagine that? A book dedicated to you--and you refuse to read it?

Especially when it was dedicated with such unselfish, loving, warm intent.


Mary DeMuth said...

LOL! I knew the inside joke when I read the dedication and laughed! You're a hilarious, fun, amazing, wild novelist, Brandilyn! And I enjoy the ride on your scary roller coasters!

Still breathing,
Mary DeMuth

Deborah Raney said...

Hey you! I may not read your books, but I wouldn't miss your blog! ROFLOL! I have gotten SUCH a kick out of this whole thing. LOVE that a book too scary for me to read is dedicated to me. It's kind of like all the foreign translations of my book - a book that says it's by me, yet I can't read a word of it.

What Brandilyn didn't tell you is that there is an entire CLUB for people who don't read her books! Oh, I'm sorry, but that is SO rich! LOL! Yes, indeed. It's called the Big Ol' Honkin' Chicken Club and membership is free! We even had a fight over who got to be the president. But I know I'm barkin' up the wrong tree talking to THIS crowd. Suffice it to say that I DID read Eyes of Elisha and I'm blaming Brandilyn for the 10 pounds I've gained since. Why, you ask? Because Brandilyn's description of the scene of the murder in that book just happens to match the description of the walking path where I USED to go every evening. I am NOT kidding! After I read that book, I could not go alone to walk in our beautiful arboretum because at one point, the trail winds past this secluded spot, and now, when I go there, "every tree I run past, every snaking root, squirms to life. Branches reach out with gnarled fingers, stones jut their chins to trip me." (to quote from EOE) And I'm just SURE I'm going to come upon a coyote feasting on a dead body!

Okay, honestly, I DID consider reading Web of Lies. After all, it IS dedicated to me...the least I could do, right. So I open to the prologue. Chilling, yes, but doable. I turn the page. Oh, GREAT...a freaky skull stares up at me. Quickly, turn to the next page. And then I start reading Chapter 1, and within 3 pages I'm reading an almost-blow-by-blow of a murder I witnessed in real life 12 years ago--not in a 7-Eleven, but in our local grocery store. I had a hard time grocery shopping for months after that. So, Brandilyn, I LOVE you with all my heart. I ADORE your women's fiction and if you ever write another Color the Sidewalk, I'll be lined up for the first copy. But as president of the Big Ol' Honkin' Chicken Club, as a point of honor, I just can't go where WOL wants to take me.

Now, that said, I've read the blurbs for your upcoming book. We had the hot tub REMOVED from the home we bought last summer, so I just MAY be able to try again with this new book. But, to borrow (and slightly tweak) your own brand: Don't hold your b r e a t h . . . ; )

Love you, sweetie!! Really, I do!!

Cara Putman said...

Love the post, Deb. But I still can't imagine you being scared to death by Brandilyn's books. Although some people would probably roll their eyes to know how much I love them. Especially considering how careful I am about movies and such: "Life is too scary to purposefully scare myself at the movies." And then I inhale suspense books. If you inhale a suspense book, does that interfere with breathing? Hmmm, maybe that's why I'm so lightheaded sometimes :-)

And Web of Lies is such a GOOD book. You'd really like it if you got past the first chapter.

Although it sounds like you should write suspense based on the life-experiences you've had. Yikes!

Deborah Raney said...

Oh, and if I were any kind of friend at all, I would have remembered to say: CONGRATULATIONS on that spot on the bestsellers list! That's really wonderful. Obviously the Brandilyn Collins Fan Club has a considerably larger membership than the Big Ol' Honkin' Chicken Club. ; )

Truly thrilled for your success!

Stuart said...

Congrats on that Bestseller slot! Must run out to the store and do my part in getting it higher. ;)

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Deb Raney, you know I love ya, girl. Robin, too.

I must say, however, the first chapter in Web of Lies . . . okay, yeah, there's a shooting. I like my stories to start off fast. But that chapter can't begin to compare with what comes later. So if THAT tripped you up, sheesh. You're one lost cause.

I did not know of your own experience, though. That must have been something.

Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

Brandilyn, I think one of the reasons I came to be a Collins book fan was because of the first time we talked. It was at the Mount Hermon writers conference, and you were at the afternoon crit tables. I was struggling with "first lines." You asked if I had a problem reading suspense--were going to suggest that I look at Eyes of Elisha by way of illustrating what you were explaining. When I said, I shied away from suspense, you said, "Well, then don't read my book." I mean, what author says that? Only one who cares more for people than for sales, I figure.

I admit, I didn't come on board until the next book and even missed a few in the Hidden Faces series, but I don't intend that to be the case with Kanner Lake series. So, here's one FORMER member of the Big Ol' Honkin' Chicken Club. Total convert when it comes to Collins books and proud of it!


~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Becky, you go, girl.

C.J. Darlington said...

Yes, definitely, major congrats, Brandilyn on Web of Lies' early success. You've definitely earned it. Thanks for being so open with your readers about your struggles--and triumphs! Wishing you all the best.

Southern-fried Fiction said...

Now I'm rolling on the floor, laughing my fool head off. At last! A club I can belong to. My blog partner, Gina, knows not to ask me to read for reviewing anything too scary. Nope, no can do.
Why? It's because all we Wimps have such vivid imaginations! Have you wondered, Brandilyn, why I've never asked you for a copy of one of your books to review on Novel Reviews? They're too blooming scary! LOL Karen Ball is hard enough for me, but a B.C.? uh-uh.

I've never heard a funnier MC for a conference than you. And your and Karen's rendition of The Farmer and The Cowboy nearly compromised my Depends. But read WOL? No way. No can do.

But if you ever write another women's ficiton, I'll stand in line all night to make up for it. How's that?

You really surpass your brand - seatbelt suspense doesn't even come CLOSE to what you write. However do you manage it without scaring yourself to bits?

Pammer said...

I am picking myself up off the floor and wiping my eyes. I laughed when I read the dedication. I knew why you'd done it (or at least had a bit of the story).

I even wrote a short story of the effect one of your books had one me while alone in the house. You remember, the gun story? :0) But I wouldn't miss one of your books. I just make sure my night light works and has extra bulbs. Teehee.

My kids also like your books. (Sorry Deb, if that makes you feel bad, but their Dad likes nightmares cause they are like free scary movies. Go figure!)

Keep up the good work. :0)

Katie Hart - Pinterest Manager said...

Well, I actually started an entire private journal (which eventually trailed off into the type of stuff you giggle over with your sisters and friends - i.e. girl talk info) because I was up alone at night after reading a suspense novel. I wrote how the room was spooking me and how it probably wasn't best to read suspense at night - especially Brandilyn Collins. The book was Brink of Death.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Brandilyn, congrats on making the best seller list. And I wish you many, many more! I love your is the best I've ever read, especially by a woman. I'm not being sexist when iu say that...but many evidenced by your forward, are squeamish about blood and go girl!