My good friend RW and her book

I think the last time I personally knew someone who had published a book was when I was in tenth grade. A freshman entered our high school who had gotten a children’s book published while he was in seventh grade. Yes, seventh grade. I can’t even remember his name, but I still know that detail. I wasn’t even writing at the time, but I was still jealous.

Today, I have a whole new reason to be jealous. My writing pal RW Hague had her first book published yesterday. Okay, she actually had one published a number of years ago by a vanity press before she knew what a vanity press was, but we don’t talk about that in polite company.

RW is one of those people I just love to hate because she skips over the usual steps to becoming an author and learns (and writes!) so quickly, she puts me to shame. Most of us work first to master short stories so we have the fundamentals of plot, character, setting, and prose firmly in grasp before we invest gobs of time in a book. She didn’t bother with short stories, yet she’s good at all of those things. In the places she needed to improve, she did, and she did it with an admirable rapidity. On top of that, she doesn’t seem to have to think about writing well. In the time it has taken me to write a handful of stories, she has researched, written, and revised something like five full books. This is the woman I have tried to learn plotting from. I have yet to live up to her example in any way.

Okay, pal, but what about this specific book?

This one is called Surviving Midas, and it’s the first in a trilogy. (Yes, go ahead and click that link, then order a copy of her book, then contact her to tell her I sent you. We haven’t negotiated anything solid yet, but I’m hoping for a kickback or finder’s fee. Right now, all I’m getting is an autographed copy of the book with the inscription, “My friend got a publishing contract and all I got was this stupid book.” Originally, it was going to be a T-shirt with the necessary change to the inscription, but I nixed that. I don’t need my clothing to advertise my failure. That’s what this blog is for.)

Surviving Midas is a YA thriller about a kidnapping ring that also grows and sells marijuana using the kidnapped kids as slave labor. The premise alone is pretty harsh, it seems to me, but what sets Surviving Midas apart from most YA thrillers is its unflinching willingness to play that premise out to realistic conclusions instead of sidestepping the ugly consequences. The depth of the conspiracy-laden worldbuilding RW has invested the trilogy with is also impressive. Early on in critiquing the first book, I thought I caught her on a number of implausibilities and inconsistencies. Not once was I right. She had it all worked out.

I’m terrible at selling things, so I’m just going to say, “Go buy it!” and move on with my life. Maybe in five to ten years, if I try very hard, I might be where RW is right now, but for that, I actually have to write fiction, not this blog. (Yes, there is overlap between the two, such as that kickback thing above.)

UPDATE Dec. 8, 2022: The e-book is available on Amazon for a laughable 99¢. Go buy it! You have no excuse now!

  • Days since I quit my job: 1,250
  • Submissions: 1,224
  • Rejections: 1,047
  • Withdrawals: 39
  • Acceptances: 19

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