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I Had the Shock of My Life in a Local Bookstore
Gator Country comes out November 14... so I thought...
This week, something surreal happened when I walked into my local bookstore. A familiar book cover on the front table caught my eye. Even though it’s not supposed to be out until next week, there it was, the book I’d labored over for so many years in a real bookstore: Gator Country! The shock of seeing it put me in such a state that I wandered around the store, momentarily forgetting what I was doing there. I better get used to seeing it, because it looked like the stock was selling fast.
That wasn’t the only surreal thing that happened this week. Library Journal raved over Gator Country, saying, “Readers of this book are in for an adventure. It reads like a true-crime caper, with good people trying to catch the bad ones. However, as is often the case, the line between these two becomes blurred and complicated when more is learned about their characters and their surroundings…Renner’s writing skills shine in this story.”
Their final verdict was: “Audiences of all types will appreciate this easy-to-read narrative as well as Renner’s knowledge of the area, her academic ability, her candor, and her insights into human nature. Recommended for all libraries, especially academic ones and those in and around South Florida.”
Now that made me smile!
Next, I’m happy to say that I’m back writing for National Geographic. In my latest story—“A dog-sized lizard is threatening the U.S. South. Can it be stopped?”—I uncover how a popular exotic pet turned destructive introduced species, the Argentine black and white tegu, has been proliferating in several southern states, including Florida and Georgia. These large lizards can grow up to four feet in length, and they’ll eat just about anything—from strawberry crops to the eggs of endangered sea turtles. There’s good news though! Conservationists have found that capturing and rehoming tegus may be an effective way to reduce the environmental impact that these hungry critters can have on the South. Read the full article to learn more.
Finally, I am so excited about my book launch at Zeppelin Books THIS WEEKEND, November 11 at 6 pm EST. James Chapin and Mistie R. Watkins are joining me in a reading to celebrate Gator Country’s official book birthday. I can’t wait to see you all there. Get your free tickets soon, they are running out fast! (Make sure to preorder your copy of the book through Eventbrite to ensure the bookseller has enough supply on hand during the event!)
The next time I sit down to write this newsletter, Gator Country will be out everywhere. I can’t wait to share this story with all of you. If you find yourself reading the book, consider leaving me a review on Goodreads! It would really make my day.
Thanks for reading, and see you soon!
Need some artistic inspiration? Read Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I loved this book so much more than I thought I would. I think every creative person should read it. While I’m resistant to the idea of mystical inspiration, Gilbert had so many important things to say, so the book is more than worth your time.
Here are some of the big ideas in Big Magic that I 100% agree with:
You have permission to be an artist. No one can tell you otherwise.
You are not responsible for how people feel about your work. Just fulfill your creative desire.
Being a perfectionist sucks, and it'll get in the way of your writing.
The idea that making art should be painful is ridiculous and destructive. Follow wonder. Enjoy making art. If you aren't enjoying it even a little, why are you doing it?
There used to be a refrain among my cohort in our MFA: "Make art! Do things!" It's half joking, half exhortation. Do the thing you love, and don't let anyone or anything stop you.