Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What Happened?

A long, long time ago...

in a galaxy far away...

I allowed myself to dream of being a writer. This is different than simply *wanting* to be a writer. Ever since I could perform the tasks, anything that involved words, reading, and writing were the things at which I excelled. I still have an old second grade "journal" where I wrote simple sentences and received inordinate praise for them from my teacher. 2nd grade. You know, when you're 7 yrs old?

I even loved word problems in math. I mean, come on.

But, even then, I was practical. Realistic. While I dreamed of fantastic settings and characters and creatures, I kept one foot firmly planted on the ground. Why? Primarily because, even at my youngest years, I knew what it meant to not have enough money for all the bills. I knew it in my core, and it was dark and scary.

So I told everyone I wanted to be a teacher, said it so many times even I began to believe it. But it wasn't what I truly wanted. And it wasn't until high school that I really, truly began to consider chasing my true and actual dreams. I didn't want to go to a job every day. I wanted to live in my fantasies. I wanted to write. I wanted to create stories and share them with the world.

But, as I've mentioned before, I wanted to do this without anyone knowing it. The idea of sitting at home furiously writing an epic novel and publishing it to great acclaim without anyone disturbing my regular life was perfect.

Stop laughing. It seemed possible then. ;)

My life sort of imploded on me before I graduated high school, and then I recovered and met the man I would marry, and we had kids in rather rapid succession. I got pretty busy, and didn't really seriously evaluate my dreams of writing and publishing until 2006.

By then, of course, the publishing world had changed dramatically. As it continues to change and evolve. As it must. I realized I couldn't live the anonymous writer life. As much as it would pain me I was actually going to have to stretch myself, grow, reach beyond myself, become more than I used to be.

It has not been easy. Even after three published novels, all I can do as I sit here and work on another is think, "Is this going to be the one? Is this going to establish me?"

It's not that I want to be JK Rowling or anything, because really--I don't. But I have a nagging suspicion that someday I will be much better known than I am now. That feeling hasn't left me, and every time I polish up a new gem to share with the world I worry. I fret. It can sometimes be paralyzing.

Because, despite my best efforts, I can't let go of that fear of success. Which is stupid, I know. Many authors do very well and even have a couple of moments in the spotlight but can still do their own grocery shopping without being mobbed. You can be on bestseller lists and still be essentially invisible in your everyday life.

So why does it worry me so much? I wish I knew. Truly. I'd probably write a lot faster if I could get past it, and that would be better for everyone.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Where I Totally Stick my Foot in It

If you haven't heard about Woven, you will. It's the book in the middle of the whole kerfuffle (yes, I seriously just used "kerfuffle) in the publishing world this week.

Here is the LINK to Woven's Facebook page, which has all the links to the articles and stories about what's going on--just in case you haven't heard. I encourage you to read about it so you are informed before continuing through my post.

All caught up? Great. Outraged, probably.

I found out about this yesterday and though I don't know Michael Jensen and David Powers King directly (I'm friends with David on Facebook) I feel involved. First, I'm a writer. Second, the publisher in question published my first novel in 2010. And third, if you haven't figured this out already, I'm a Mormon.

I was furious, sick, frustrated, and angry when I found out what happened. Jeff Savage, another writer friend who publishes kids' books under the name J Scott Savage, said this on Facebook: There are so many thing I find upsetting about this. But possibly the biggest issue I have is that Cedar Fort is trying to lay the blame on anyone but themselves. DB won't carry a book by a gay author? Considering the fact that DB already carries books by gay authors, that is patently false. People will be offended and not read it, because one of the authors is gay? When was the last time you decided whether or not to read a book based on an author's sexual orientation? And if a small number of people are offended, that's their problem. People are offended by almost anything these days.

Bottom line is that the publisher was dishonest, cowardly, and just plain wrong. This is the time when they need to rethink their decision and issue an apology.

He pretty much said it best. And while I'm outraged that this whole thing happened in the first place, I'm confident David and Michael will find a much better publisher for Woven because of this mess and go on to sell many, many copies. Heck, I may even buy 10 and give them to anyone and everyone I can think of. I wish them all the best and can't wait to see them succeed.

What truly bothers me about the whole kerfuffle (I said it again) is this: One person who happens to own a business and is Mormon made a mistake and suddenly it's open season on Mormons and Utah in general. I've read many of the articles and blog posts about CF's decision and also the comments, and they verge from mildly irritating to downright ugly. 

So I'm asking. Please. Don't make this about Mormons. Because that's not what the issue really is here. And I know that because I'm Mormon, and I don't hate Michael because he's gay--I don't hate him at all. And I admire David for wanting fair treatment in the author bio for his co-author, and for sticking by Michael through the whole thing. Incidentally, David is Mormon. So are several dozen authors who are mutual friends on Facebook and abhor how David and Michael were treated. They are supporting these authors, as we all should, because what was done to them was wrong. And, most of all, it is not indicative of how all Mormons feel. Or even most Mormons. Or, honestly, ANY Mormons that I know.

Christ taught us to love all men. We don't have to do business with them, but we should love them.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What a Difference a Week Makes

When I posted last week I had just begun to come to terms with my writing in this new life reality, and then life changed on us. A lot.

Last Friday, Bryan found out that his boss lost the bid for August, and with gov't cutbacks (end of fiscal year tidying up) there was no work for Bryan for August. Friday he also had lunch with a buddy from his old job and got three solid employment leads.

By the end of Sunday he had no less than 9 job leads. 9!!! When he left the job at the jail last spring he spent 5 WEEKS unemployed trying to find a driving job.

Monday (yesterday) Bryan had an appointment to see one of the employers. Before I'd even gotten out of bed that morning he had a job offer. (don't judge me, I was up by 9am) They needed to get the final approval and run his MVR but it was a cinch. Monday night while we were grocery shopping he got the official job offer. Bang. He was employed again. After essentially one weekend without work.

Just like any job, this one has it's drawbacks. The biggest one is obviously that he leaves in 2 days and will be gone about 4 months. But--that's better than what we'd heard initially about the job, that he'd be gone 8 months. That prospect was scary, honestly. Rather than getting the water hose operator job he'd applied for he was hired as a driver, which means he's making more money per hour. That's a good thing. Overtime--also a good thing. And when he comes back there will be work around OK and TX during the slow season (winter) in the oil field.

Change is kind of scary. Having him gone is not something any of us are looking forward to. But we're going to make it work. And I'm going to get a lot of writing done these next months. All in all, I'm feeling kind of blessed.

Friday, August 2, 2013

This is Me

I've probably said this before, so forgive me if you find me repetitive.

Sometimes live is a bowl of cherries. Sometimes life is just the pits.

Usually, it's a mixture of both.

Today's been kind of a pit day so far, so of course I find myself on my blog writing about well, writing.

I gotta be me. Sometimes I find myself trying to stuff a square peg in a round hole and then I step back and realize that I have to do things my way in order to be the best me I can be.

Let's get a bit less cryptic.

Take publishing my books. While I won't rule out traditional publishing in my future, I have found I really, really like self publishing. I'm not great at marketing, true, and lately it's been bugging me that my books don't get as much attention as I'd like. The real issue is--at least I think it is--that my target audience has no idea these books are out there. There are tons of great books to read and they just haven't found mine yet.

And, of course, the last thing I published was last year so I'm not on anyone's radar.

But that needs to be okay. Right now, it is what it is.

I'm working currently working on three major projects. One is the final book in my YA fantasy series. Two is a contemporary, serious novel. Three is a dystopian fantasy. There are more, but I'm focusing on these three right now. The thing is, life just threw my family a major curve ball and I think I took it right in the gut.

I'm going to take the walk. The ump said so.

So, writing my books. I still have to be me. I have to write them and publish them on my terms, in my way. It may not be the best way, but I guess I'm just one of those people who have to carve out their own niche. I'm not the fastest, even though I want to be. But setting up a bunch of expectations just leaves me disappointed and empty.

I'm still going to try to get The Lost Princess done and in print by Nov 30th. I can do that. I still have time, and I'm more than halfway done. But at the moment there's a ton of things going on in my life and most of the big ones aren't good. In fact, right now I need my writing more than I have in the recent past because it will help get me through this mess, help me focus and pour out my feelings and leave me better for it on the other side.

I did that before, back in 2002 when I miscarried Lily. Writing kept me sane then. I'm relying on it now. I did that when I finished The Tyrant King. I did it in high school when I first wrote The Peasant Queen (and other things I will never subject you to--you're welcome).

Because writing is my lifeline as well as my business, I'm focusing on the lifeline aspect of it. In a month or so I will probably be more ready to take on the business part. But not now.

Thanks for listening.