TBG: We are proud to welcome the one and only Zathyn Priest here on our blog today as the first of many special guests we will have for you along the GRL Blog Tour. If you haven’t already heard, Zathyn will be popping his GRL cherry later this year when he joins us all in Chicago! Woot! Please, everyone, take a moment and offer Zathyn a bit of support and encouragement…we want to make sure he GETS ON THAT PLANE! Zathyn has also just released his new book Amara: The Rebirth at MLR Press.
My GRL Challenges for 2014
by Zathyn Priest
When I decided to register for GRL in Chicago, I knew if I was one of the lucky few who scored a spot that I would then have to face several challenges. I had considered attending GRL in Atlanta, but it never eventuated and, in hindsight, this was for the best. I hadn’t written a novel for God knows how long and the only thing I had to offer was the re-release of The Curtis Reincarnation and a short story entitled The Statue. This year I have new novel with MLR Press – Amara: The Rebirth – due for release in April, so it obviously makes more sense for me to attend GRL in 2014.
But I’m not going to talk about the new book because I want to talk about GRL, what it means to me to attend, the hurdles I have to overcome to get there, and the challenges I’ll face once I am there.
Firstly, I have to leave Australia and make my way to the other side of the world to the USA. To do this means climbing aboard one of those hellish flying machines that will rip my feet off the earth’s surface, suspend me from a great height over huge oceans, all the while expecting me to sit comfortably without freaking out. Not only do I have a morbid fear of flying, I also am terrified of heights. Terrified of heights! I’m talking I can’t stand on a ladder without breaking into a sweat and shaking. I have the same panic reaction merely thinking about boarding a plane. Quite frankly, I’m pretty sure someone will have to drug me up to the eyeballs just to get me into the airport. God help the flight crew who’ll have to deal with me. I can see it now, as clear as day…
Flight Attendant: You’ll be fine Mr Priest, flying is safer than driving a car.
Me *Crying, gripping the nearest thing to stop them dragging me onto the plane*: No it’s not! I watch Air Crash Investigation… I’m going to die in a fiery crash, or a terrorist attack, or pilot suicide, or… *Drops to the floor in a faint*
Moving along and assuming I make it to the US without dying in a fiery plane crash, the GRL hotel decided to get in on the act of challenging my phobias with glass elevators. What sadistic prick invented glass elevators? Fear of heights is one of the most common phobias and hotels think glass elevators are a great idea? I’m not kidding when I say I saw a photo of the hotel’s glass elevators and immediately had a meltdown. I posted on Facebook… because possibly someone on my friend list had the power to remove the glass elevators, or at the very least paint the glass black. Hey, I was desperate! One lovely person came to my rescue, called the hotel, and I’ve since been assured I’ll be given a ground floor room and can use the stairs. At least my legs and butt will look good from all the stair climbing.
Flying and heights phobias aside, my next major challenge is in regards to my hearing. Due to an illness, I lost 46% of my hearing about eighteen months ago. Hearing aids are next to useless in noisy environments, in fact they make matters worse because they amplify everything. Given that fact, I don’t wear them often and rely on lip reading. My lip-reading skills are pretty good, but not 100% reliable. If I don’t respond to someone trying to talk to me, I’m not being rude, I simply haven’t heard. Tap me on the shoulder, wave at me, walk a little closer and try talking to me again. If you receive an acknowledgement but a vacant expression with no reply, this means I haven’t understood you. There could be a few reasons for this. It could be a strong accent, which makes lip-reading difficult. It could be you weren’t looking directly at me when you spoke, or you spoke too fast, you covered your mouth with your hand or with something else, or I was momentarily distracted, etc. Just remember, blank expression = pardon? Unless it’s 3.00am, we’re at the bar, and it could just be that I’m drunk!
There are quite a few personal challenges and anxieties I have to overcome to get to GRL and to work through once I am there. If I over-analysed them there would be a good chance I’d talk myself out of going. What do I hope to gain from GRL on a professional level? The reality is that I’m not attending GRL for that reason. Sure, promotion is a part of the experience, but for me it’s about meeting the people who have stayed loyal to me over the time I’ve not released any books.
When I gave up on myself as a writer due to major performance anxiety (Which I still battle with), and nearly threw in the towel altogether, I never stopped receiving encouraging emails from readers. I was never dismissed from the m/m writing community as a has-been, and always other authors and editors have been there for me with words of support. If not for them, Amara: The Rebirth would not have seen the light of day, and my other WIPs would not have been started.
That’s why I’m attending GRL in 2014. To say thank you to everyone who has stood by me. I’d also like to thank The Blogger Girls for letting me be their guest.
I look forward to meeting everyone in Chicago and having a GREAT time there!
About Amara: The Rebirth
Legendary vampire, Emrys Amara, changes Matthew’s destiny when he’s thrown into a world of kidnap victims, werewolves, deceit, and the rebirth of the greatest vampire clan in history.
Matthew and his husband Dean are slayers, trying to end a chokehold Amara half-breed vampires put on Nottingham and kill the leader, Amdis. A diary supposedly written by legendary Emrys Amara is sent to them, yet they doubt the orphaned vampire could have survived the demise of his clan.Meeting Emrys proves them wrong. Matthew falls deeply; Dean’s jealousy takes a sinister turn.
A chain of events involving kidnapped children and werewolves follows as Amdis teams up with another vampire clan.Can Matthew and Emrys save the children while rebuilding the Amaras as the greatest vampire clan in history?
Released April 2014 by MLR Press
Zathyn Priest is an Australian writer/artist with severe vampiric tendencies. Absolutely convinced the sun could turn him to a pile of ash, he prefers to write under the cover of darkness. This serves two purposes, with the first being the afore mentioned sunlight danger, and the second being the fact that night means no annoying phones ringing or people knocking at the door.
Zathyn has written four published novels using this strange moonlight technique. The Curtis Reincarnation, The Slayer’s Apprentice, Liquid Glass, and Amara: The Rebirth. He has also written three short fiction works. The Statue, Left of Centre, and One of Those Days.
Zathyn lives with two greyhounds named Chrissy and Eldon, a cat named Fran, and a duck named Charlie.