My first experience with piracy, thus far.

I’m trying to process my feelings right now, and I’ll admit . . . I’m struggling with it. I’m also trying to figure out whether it’s ironic that only yesterday I read an article about someone’s opinions on the piracy of books and thought, ‘Hey, chick. I’m totally in agreement with you on this.’ Then I disregarded it (mentally) and moved on. (I’d link to the post if I still had it up or remembered whose site I read it on.)

So yeah, if you haven’t guessed by the title of this post, Reave is being pirated. Every so often I do searches for it and I’ve never found anything like this. I altered the search slightly today and that popped right up.

I’m . . . upset. I try to keep my opinions to myself, especially with issues that are bound to get someone all riled up about something or other (which is pretty much anything), but yeah, I’m not going to do that right now. I am genuinely upset, and I’m going to explain why. When I explain why, it’s going to sound rather similar to what I read yesterday. It probably won’t sound as great because I’ll admit that my hands are shaking and being as upset as I am right now is like sticking a screwdriver in the cogs of my brain.

I could get into a massive spiel about how I have not yet made back the money I spent to release one book, let alone both of them. I could get into that. I could get into how unbelievably difficult it is to do this financially, and do it in the way that I feel is right (which is by not putting out crap, which takes a significant amount of money that is not easy to come by). Believe you me, I could get into that thoroughly. I could get into how unbelievably frustrating it is to have all these books essentially waiting to be released, and to be unable to do so DUE TO FINANCES. Let me tell you that one of the most amazing feelings in the world is when someone enjoyed one of your books and wants to read the next one badly enough that they ask you about it. What’s NOT so great is having to say, “I’m sorry. I don’t know when I can get that next one out. I’m trying as hard as I can.”

Yeah. I could get into that. Past what I’ve said just now? I’m not going to.

What I AM going to get into is this:

Did you know I’ll give out free e-books of Reave? Yeah, I’ll do that. I’ll give out free e-books in exchange for a review. Send me a message on GoodReads. Send me a message on Facebook. Send me an email. Comment on my blog. Believe me, I’d be more than happy for you to contact me directly and express genuine interest in my book, then I’ll send it to you so you can read it. You get a free e-book. I potentially get more exposure (which IS most important to me). You leave a review, and other people who might’ve been on the fence about my book(s) might be able to decide one way or another. You might love my book and tell all your friends and family about it. You might love my book and tell me, which is seriously one of the most fantastic things ever. When you’re struggling to follow your dreams and start your career? Yeah, hearing that helps. It keeps you fighting through all the struggles. It gives you validation for what you’re doing, and when you’re constantly struggling to feel like you’re good enough to do what you’re doing? You have no idea how much the one sentence of ‘I loved your book’ can do.

It can do a lot.

I actually wrote up a post about two weeks ago to tell everyone that I had every intention of taking Reave off Smashwords in order to enroll it in Select (on Amazon) SO THAT I COULD DO THE PROMOS TO MAKE IT FREE FOR CERTAIN DAYS. I didn’t end up posting it due to that adjustment I wrote about last week. I was thinking I’d wait a little while. I just got the first book in the trilogy back from the first beta-reader and I needed to get that ready to send off to the next. So I just needed a bit of time to fit it in.

Let me assure you that exposure has been my biggest goal from the get-go with this. I get it, people. I’m a new author. If you haven’t read my books, you might be hesitant to spend the money and take a chance on me. There’s a stigma with self-publishing and you know what? That stigma with self-publishing is often justified. How do you know if I had a professional editor? How do you know whether my book is going to be riddled with errors? YOU DON’T, AND I GET IT. Let me just add here that I did not self-publish due to an inability to land an agentI self-published so that I could keep all rights to my work, and to ensure that what was put out was what I wanted put out. Full stop.

But I’ve seen some self-published books that make me want to pull my hair out. I have. So please believe me when I say that I get it.

My willingness to give away free copies of my book is not because I think it isn’t worth being paid for. It’s because I understand. It’s also because I have the faith that my work can stand on its own feet. Given that I have QUITE A FEW BOOKS to release, I’m more than happy to throw one of them out there. Sure, some people will hate it. That’s inevitable because not everyone likes the same stuff. That’s just preference. But the thing is? If I give out a free copy of Reave, someone might love it. Someone might love it enough that they’ll want to read every book I put out. It’s insane to me, but it’s happened so I know it can happen. Am I losing there by giving out a free book? No, I don’t believe so.

So you might be wondering why this upsets me at all, right? If exposure is most important, if the readers are what matter, why would this upset me?

I’ve put literal blood (cut my hand open on a binder while editing), literal sweat (I write in a shed and an AC in the summer out here doesn’t work as well as one would hope, and that’s not even getting into what it’s like in the winter), and literal tears (I cry while writing/editing quite often) into my work. Just like so many other authors out there. I’ve worked my ass off for years now trying to fortify the foundation of something before starting to build it. My workaholic tendencies (if it/they could be called ‘tendencies’) have damaged more than one relationship in my life. What I’m saying is: The work is most important to me. I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile here, and the goal is to potentially make some sort of difference. I can’t accomplish that if I’m not focused on the work.

So seeing my work on some seedy, backwoods channel that set off the antivirus on my computer? Equate that to seeing your daughter standing on street corner doing I’m sure you can guess what. My books are like children to me. They are, and the street corner thing is how I’m feeling right now. (Along with feeling like there’s a line of people with their middle finger up in the air in my direction sounding off a chorus of, “F*** you, C.”)

Disregarding the ratio of pirated copies to legitimately bought copies . . . All you people who downloaded it?

Yeah, you could’ve just asked me for a copy. Just saying.

And so there’s no confusion?

Here is my Facebook account: C. Miller on Facebook

Here is my GoodReads account: C. Miller on GoodReads

Here is my email address: Email Address (Yes, that is a photo of my email address. Clicking on it will not send me an email. Call me crazy, but I’m just really not feeling like dealing with spam today.)

 

Here’s to hoping I can get this taken down swiftly and that any free copies of my work given out will be my choice, as it should be.

(Yes, I know this sort of thing happens. Knowing it happens does not make my feelings on it happening to me irrational or invalid in any way.)

** I’m coming back to this a bit after the fact to add a few things. (Along with taking out one somewhat passive-aggressive remark.) Some of the anger (and similar emotions) . . . it’s worn off a little. Now I’m mostly upset, like legitimately sad/down-upset. Here are the things I want to add:

  • Please, people, respect the hard work of authors and other artists. Some people put their work up for free on sites, or do free promos, or give out free copies. Some people don’t ever do any of that. Please respect their wishes for their work, whatever those wishes may be. I like to think that most people wouldn’t walk into a store and take something simply because they want it. This is the exact same thing. If someone doesn’t want to give out a free product, that is their decision.
  • This is a smidgen bigger than I initially thought. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Doesn’t help that my antivirus keeps getting set off. But I don’t have a clue what any of this stuff is or anything about any of the sites. Working on it.
  • I’m kind of internally warring with myself on this. (Though don’t get me wrong, that sucker is coming down off the sites if it’s the last thing I do. Because I did not put it there.) I guess some people wanted to read my book, right? And that’s good. It really is good, yeah. And you know what? If this was actually impacting anything in a positive way? I just might have left it where it was despite how gross I feel about it. (Not saying I would, only that I would’ve thought about it.) But the truth is that it isn’t. There hasn’t been an influx of reviews or ratings anywhere. There hasn’t been an influx of sales. I’d be totally happy with ratings/reviews (even a sentence, if that’s all someone had to say) and a bit of word of mouth. So if anyone who downloaded a copy of my book off some random site I didn’t put it on is actually reading this? I genuinely hope you enjoyed it. I do. If you did? Tell your friends/family. When/if you do so, it would be super great if you could direct them to one of the legal avenues of obtaining my book. If you seriously cannot afford to spend the $2.99 (less than an order at Starbucks, just saying) to obtain my book legally? LET ME KNOW.
  • I feel like I have a lot more I could say, but I’m seriously just upset and can’t decide if I want to go inside and get away from all this or bury myself in writing and get away from all this.

(Coming back WELL after the fact to clear one thing up. Looking back at this post now and seeing the bit where I give out my email, I’m realizing that could potentially be taken the wrong way. I wasn’t saying that I don’t want to get emails from actual PEOPLE. I was talking about ACTUAL spam, which is much more likely to happen by just typing my email address out. Just wanted to be clear.)

On releasing a second book . . .

Trying to process how I’m feeling with the release of Elude coming up fast has been a pretty interesting experience. It can be all pure, undiluted excitement for who knows how long, only to be overtaken by stress and the like at a moment’s (unwanted) notice. Me, I’m a stressful being. I’ll be stressed about the sky being too blue if nothing else is going on. (WHERE ARE THE CLOUDS?! THERE SHOULD BE CLOUDS RIGHT NOW!) Clearly that’s an exaggeration (of sorts), but there’s always the ‘expect the worst’ mentality trying to break through any bit of positivity in my head. That’s just me.

I’d been ridiculously stressed trying to get everything done and (as close to) perfect (as I can get) with this. I was still excited despite all that, more of that than anything else. Then, all at once, most of the stress and other negativity was sucked up. I was just excited.

Thus far, preparing to release a second book has been an entirely different ballgame than the first. I know what I’m doing a bit better than I did when it was Reave I was preparing for. (Though, admittedly, I did forget some things this time which was much easier to be remedied than initial learning.) Releasing that first one, I was a giant mass of stress. I’m pretty sure I was putting off so much stress that it could easily be detected by others within a fifty-foot radius of me. (Though it’s rare for people to be in that space.) Obviously there was the pleasantness as well. I was FINALLY going to have a book out there in the world. I was going to push it off the proverbial cliff to see if it could fly. It was terrifying.

It was also exciting.

After several years of writing books and wanting people to enjoy them like I enjoyed them, it was . . . a bit surreal, to be honest. I’d been so over-protective and private with my work until that point, and the thought of any and everyone being capable of reading it just blew my mind. (I’m getting better with the over-protective part, but it’s a process for sure.) It still does blow my mind, when I really think about it in certain ways.

I’ll say my head is much clearer this time around. Rather than, “Is this really happening? Really?” it’s, “This is happening.”

I’m happy. I think a great deal of that is due to just how much I love the rest of this series. If you’ve read Reave, you know it leaves off for things to PICK UP. And pick up they do. I really love this second book. (Though I’ll easily say that the fourth is by far my favorite in the series.)

One of my concerns was that other people wouldn’t agree with me on this, that they wouldn’t enjoy the rest and would be like, “FIRST.” After having several people read Elude and telling me they liked it better, and having the people who have either finished book 3 or are currently reading it saying the same (that they like it even better than the second, which was an even larger concern for me if I’m being honest) . . . I’m feeling good.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, or if it’s only a temporary thing, but I think I’m getting just a smidgen better at putting away the negative thoughts where my work is concerned. They’re still there, of course. But I’m getting a bit better at not letting them dictate so much, or have so much of a say in matters where they don’t actually need to have input at all.

Obviously I’m stressed out, wondering how it will be received, and all that. At the same time, I know it’s better and I can be excited about that.

As of right now, I don’t really know that I’ll be posting another entry on here before the release. Unless I think of something important, this will probably be it. So I have a few things to say to all of you who have actually taken the time to read this and are interested. There will be no mass of stress seeping into the following…

1) I am really looking forward to you reading Elude, if you’re planning on it. I hope you enjoy it. I hope it makes you feel something. I hope you’re satisfied with it.

2) Thank you. I sincerely want to thank any and everyone who has been supportive of my work. These books mean more to me than I can actually get across. (I suppose that’s easy when they pretty much consume your life…) And I’m really not very fantastic at many aspects of this. Getting the word out? Yeah, I’m pretty awful at that. Having confidence in myself? Pretty awful at that as well. So thank you all for either dealing with the latter of those, or helping with the former. More than that, thank you to anyone who has at any point ever thought the characters I write deserve to be not only enjoyed by you, but shown to others. It seriously means more to me than I could ever express.

That’s why I do this.

(Apart from trying to keep my sanity in getting these stories out of my head. 😉 )

– C

Releasing a second book? Yeah, it’s happening.

Be prepared on July 14th. Until then, you can check out Reave, or add Elude on GoodReads. 🙂

Elude is up on GoodReads!

As the subject says, I’ve put Elude on GoodReads! I probably should have done it sooner, but . . . I didn’t. I’ll be totally honest and admit I hadn’t even thought about putting it up early, but was asked when it would be up and I figured, ‘I should probably do that.’

Anyway, you can find it here: Elude on GoodReads

I’m a bit behind where responding to things is concerned, as per usual. I’d planned on getting caught up tonight, but it is now the morning and . . . I’m not caught up. Please be patient with me where that’s concerned. I will definitely get to all that tonight (after I wake up), but it’s pretty close to bedtime for me now.

I’ll have a more substantial blog entry coming soon, within a day or so. I suppose that would depend on how you defined ‘substantial,’ but totally not the point. I’m not entirely sure what the point is, apart from that I’ll be on here a bit more often. And Twitter.

I just wanted to make sure I let everyone know that Elude is up there now, in case anyone wanted to add it. 🙂

Reviews (Thank You)

This is an extra post onto my weekly schedule, which I’m proud to say I’ve both accomplished and done completely on time for an entire week. I thought about waiting until Monday to write this up, but I already have a subject to discuss on Monday (shocking, I know), and this is fresh now. Extra is good, right? So is writing about something you feel the need to write about, when you feel the need to write about it. And I need to write about this now. Forgive the length in advance. It’s important.

I woke up this evening (yesterday, technically) to find another review for Reave up on Amazon. I was half-asleep and looking at it on my phone, so I had a moment of, “Does that say eleven now?”

It said eleven.

I read the newest one and did something similar to what I always do, which is shake my head a bit and sit (or lay) there in this state of disbelief.

I should say here that I have faith in my work. Not so much in myself. I’m self-deprecating by nature, and compliments pretty much roll right off my back if they’re related to me. That’s a subject for another post, but I feel it’s important for me to clarify the difference between anything negative I say having to do with me as a person, opposed to my work. It’s difficult to get the difference across when you’re saying the sort of stuff I do. So when I say, “My writing is crap,” (usually another word), I don’t mean that I feel my work is crap. I mean that I wish I could do better. It keeps me striving to do better. I always want to feel that.

Even though I have the utmost faith in my work (but I will add here that this series was difficult to set up with that first book, opposed to others I’ve written, due to circumstances in it and a limit of . . . well, everything), the positive feedback . . . it’s baffling.

I nitpick, and stuff still slips through. I nitpick and overlook things because I’m looking too closely at something else. There are some things technically wrong with that book that make me want to punch myself in the face. But . . . people are enjoying it anyway. And that is the point.

The mindset I have when writing stories has always and WILL always be characters first. I focus on characters first, story second (because they put in place themselves), writing third. So I’ll be totally honest and admit that I expected to get my first one-star review right off the bat. I expected some person to do what I do and tear that thing apart. It’ll happen one day, but today is apparently not that day. (If you’re hearing Aragorn shouting, “BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY!” in your head right now, we have something in common.)

That first bad review is going to sting. I’m sure it will. I’ve heard that my self-deprecation can be very off-putting, so unless we’re talking in person (where I have essentially zero control over what comes out), you won’t know what my response will be when my writing gets torn apart. I’m not going to write it down on here. If you know me at all, I’m sure you could take a guess at it.

But bad reviews will never take away the feeling of a good one, not for me. It could be the worst review in the entire world, and it wouldn’t take the others away.

My biggest fear with it (it being Reave here) was that people wouldn’t get it. I worried people wouldn’t (or COULDN’T) relate to Aster. I worried some of the subjects would put people off. I worried things would be misinterpreted. I worried people would think it was too slow, or that it lacked ‘explosions’ (everybody loves explosions). I worried people wouldn’t be able to stand the writing style. I worried nobody would be able to make it past the first page. I worried and worried and worried about so many things (it’s what I do).

PEOPLE ARE ENJOYING IT.

So . . . this entry right here is for me to thank any and everyone who has spoken to me about my book, or left me a review. Waking up and finding a new one where someone says they couldn’t put my book down, or that Aster is an achievement as a heroine, that the characters were well-developed, that they were attached to it in some way, or rooting for Aster, or saying the only bad thing is that it ended and they can’t wait for the next.

Can’t wait for the next . . .

I’m shaking my head again.

I’ve been struggling a lot lately, not knowing how to ‘get it out there’ with this freaking debilitating anxiety I have. I’ve done a lot of struggling with a lot of things that run along those lines lately, and different ones that all lead back to the same issues: My ability or lack thereof. My faith in myself.

Before I published, I was constantly asking myself why I ever thought I could do this. After I published, it was more, ‘Can I do this well enough?’

So thank you, from the absolute bottom of my heart, to anyone who has taken some of their time to say one good word about my book, either to me or anyone you think might enjoy it, or in a review. Reviews (along with word of mouth) are the lifeblood of an author. They’re what point out to potential readers the good and bad things about whatever book they’re contemplating picking up. They can make all the difference in the world in that regard. But what you reviewers might not realize you’re doing in writing just a couple sentences is giving an author a little bit of faith in themselves, and a lot of validation in what they’re doing.

I don’t know most of you to thank you in person, and trust me when I say it wouldn’t come out right if I could (along with the fact that I might possibly be tearing up a bit as I write this).

I’ve spent the last several years of my life holed away, writing, and hoping that I would finally get to the point where I thought I was good enough for this. 99 people out of 100 could hate my work, but if that one person loved it? I would keep releasing books, just for the one.

I really can’t thank any of you enough for making me feel like I might be good enough to do what I love. You’ll never hear me say my writing is good. I’ve said many times that I’ll claim passable on a good day. But it’s good enough for somebody out there, and that’s more than enough for me.

I just have to make the connection that it equates to me being good enough, and I’m getting there, thanks to you.

(And for all of you who are looking forward to the second, I promise I’ll have it out as soon as I have the funds to cover it. It’ll be a bit, which is good because it’s currently in the hands of one of my best friends [who is pretty much the most spectacular beta-reader in the world, along with being one of the most spectacular people in the world]. But I’m hoping to get it out for you all soon.)

I’m doing it again…

Blog-neglecting, or neglecting all social media(ish) things. Come on, give me a little credit. This isn’t like the last time I got sucked into writing (please excuse me while I go cry about how long it’s been since I’ve written), where I would disappear for three weeks at a time and pop in every so often for nothing more than the following: “Oh, hey there. I know it seems like it, but I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve just been trying to keep you out of my head while I did other things.” (‘You’ isn’t any person. It’s the blog in general, just to clarify.)

It’s not THAT bad…

The cause for this short (in comparison) hiatus was due to printing out the fourth book in the Reave series for editing. As soon as I saw some of the words, I worried I would disappear for a bit. Still, I was determined not to because I was just getting the hang of this time-splitting thing.

Needless to say, the instant I sat down and opened it for editing………….Well…here I am with a few little blog entries between then and now. I think. I lose track of the days and I honestly can’t remember when I actually started working on that one…

(Give me some credit AND a break. I hadn’t read 2, 3, and 4 in about a year and I WAS SO HAPPY.)

Anyway, once I finished up with that, I started inputting the changes from Book 2. I needed to get done with that because I have to hurry up and get the newest copy to my friend for revisions. And I can’t do THAT until I go through it…again. (I have problems!) If you’re wondering, I’m running out of space from all these books printed out for editing, that’s one problem. (Sorry, trees (*sadface*).) I was also running out of space on my work table with all the empty pens from editing, but that’s cleaned up now…

I’m telling myself that things will calm back down whenever I have Book 2 out of my hands and don’t feel the need to rushrushrush. Honestly, I don’t even know WHY I’m rushing. Yes, several people have said they can’t wait for the next one, but I’m not anywhere near able to release it as of yet. I really am hoping for a decent time frame on it though…

I don’t really know if I’m rushing because I’ve been stressing out so much about all the interacting. Maybe that’s part of it. I actually think I’ve gotten a bit better at it, but I still feel like a moron every time I tweet anything and I still feel like a moron when I comment anywhere on WP. I’ll say my brain is only at half functionality whenever I do. Also, I type faster than I think sometimes (pretty much all the time), which makes me worry about some of the things I say to people. I’m rambling right now. Do you see what I mean about the typing?!

Someone please tell me why interrobangs aren’t okay to use. I think they should be.

(Hey, C. This is the point where you remind yourself that you self-publish to do whatever the hell you want.)

(Oh yeah…)

*cough*

Anyway!(??) I’m just gonna……go……

Yeah.

Hope everyone is doing well! And be sure to enter the GoodReads giveaway for Reave if you haven’t done so (and want to)! 🙂

And if you don’t want to wait, you can go over to Amazon and find it there. People seem to be liking it, for some reason…

(Also, I’m hoping to get back to my normal blogging schedule, which includes my ‘Friday Music’ posts and absolutely nothing else apart from whatever I can come up with between Fridays. Also, it was VERY COLD yesterday and I couldn’t stay out in my shed to do anything. Another sadface moment there, but I DID get a bit of gaming in…)

Random holidayness and stuff. (*ding*)

After a few hectic days, things are trying to get settled back into normalcy. Husband and I went to visit his family Christmas Eve/early Christmas. It was really enjoyable (as always, because his family is awesome). Got to talk about Reave with some of his family, which (of course)…mind blown. I wonder if I’ll ever stop being surprised by people liking it, but…I don’t want to stop being surprised by it because I feel that would essentially make me an arrogant A-hole. Still, it would be nice if the level of surprise could go down just a smidgen or two. (Can there be two smidgens? I say there can be multiple smidgens regardless of knowing it would just be smaller or larger singular smidgens.)

It would be REALLY nice if my anxiety level could go down about…ten million smidgens (or one extremely large smidgen, which would not actually be a smidgen). It’s been pretty bad lately, even around my family (who I see all the time). I noticed a week or two ago that I’ve started having issues even with speaking to them (stammering badly). And I think my hands have been shaking for the past four or five days straight. I don’t even want to mention the amount of sweating that happened with the in-laws (AND IT WAS SO COLD UP THERE!). All of it’s just ridiculous, especially so with the people I see/interact with all the time. It might be general stress setting it off and making it worse, but I can’t be sure. Either way, all of you out there in BlogLand should be glad you don’t have to interact with me in person.

Speaking of interacting in person. I’m still not used to talking to people who have read my books (minus a very small handful of people), so that’s been really strange. Just talking to people (when I can manage to get a few sentences out without sounding like a complete moron) and them actually knowing what I’m talking about with it. Or more so them talking to me about something I wrote, which is just…insane.

(Or hearing, “So and so read your book and they loved it.” Crazy.)

In other news, I’m slowly conquering my fear of Twitter. I’ve even made a new best friend on there, so that’s cool. (You can find his website here, and it tells all about his books and whatnot. He’s super awesome, so you should definitely check that out, especially if you’re into Fantasy and YA genre(s).) Apparently I can make friends even with my general awkwardness and declarations of a person being moved to BFF status after a few interactions. Twitter can definitely be an interesting place. (Is it a place? >.>)

So yeah, the holiday was good, apart from being stuck in a car for hours upon hours, then having The Migraine From Hell for several days in a row. It hit me the worst Christmas day, which I’ll say was likely due to a lack of coffee, sleeping awkwardly on an air mattress, my neck being garbage, and my hair being ridiculously long again. I AM glad to be rid of the blond though…not that there’s anything wrong with blond hair, but I had for enough time to suit me. Wow, digress much?

As much as I enjoyed the past few days, I’m looking forward to getting back to work. I feel lost when I’m not doing it.

Also, I need to apologize to all my in-laws for having to deal with me. I’m still hoping I don’t come across like as big of a mess as I actually am…

Actually…I need to apologize to anyone who ever speaks to me in person about my book (or sometimes just speaks to me in general, but especially about the book). My mouth-filter doesn’t work very well when my brain is malfunctioning due to anxiety. So when you say, “I love your book!” and I say, “That’s surprising. I thought everyone would think it’s garbage,” what I REALLY mean is… “I’m so glad. You have no idea what that means to me.” Sometimes that filter malfunctioning even extends to my fingers, so yeah, I’ll occasionally type things of that nature too. Occasionally might be a bit of a slight under-exaggeration. I have problems. One of those is a rather large lack of faith in myself. Another of those is not taking compliments well. When you add those up…well, you usually get the word ‘garbage’ in some way or another. It’s been one of my favorites lately.

Also…When most of your Christmas presents include pajamas, fuzzy socks, Starbucks gift cards, and candy? Well…it makes you realize that some people know you pretty dag on well. 🙂

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas (or whatever holiday(s) potentially celebrated recently), full of wonderful experiences that don’t involve you being unable to speak in a satisfactory way to your family, sweating, migraines, etc. 🙂

Aster

Reave has been live for…seventeen days now, and I’m no closer to accepting it being ‘out there’ as I was when I said I was trying to maintain some semblance of dissociation from it for my mental well-being. Somewhere in my mind I’m completely acknowledging the fact that, yes, it is out there and, yes, people are reading/have read/will read it. The positive feedback has blown my mind, I’ll say that again. (I’ll probably keep saying it.) Seeing people post things about it on Facebook, or randomly finding a new review has just been…fantastic. (I could make a comment here about Blades of Glory and the ‘mind-bottling’ remark.)

In a commenting back-and-forth with Ben from over at BensBitterBlog (If you’ve never seen his blog…you need to), I got inspired to post an entry. This is it, by the way. And this entry right here is entirely (mostly, knowing me) about the main character in Reave, Aster.

I’d contemplated making a post about her before, but that’s tricky for me. One of the things I’m most looking forward to as the series goes along – receiving input about it – is hearing opinions on Aster’s development. So what can I say without giving away too much? That’s the question.

I’ve felt it was almost impossible to dance around characters in a blog entry because the characters dance around themselves in the books. (Spend a moment trying to imagine how that works. If anyone figures out how it’s possible, let me know. I’m at a loss. Made sense in my head.) So what could really be said?

There’s never been much of a debate over whether I was going to write about something on here. If I wanted to, I did. If I maybe did, I didn’t. Simple as that. (An example to the contrary is the post I made about sleeping. I’d take it down if it wasn’t the entry that got the most hits off Google. And it might be a bit evil of me, but I seriously LOVE the search terms I occasionally see because of it.)

The point of that digression is: When having to ask myself so many questions about if I DID want to write about her, to let people get to know her a bit more…The answer was no, due to the questioning involved. But I think I might be able to manage it (if I could EVER get to the point in an entry).

Aster began as a product of my first series. The main character in it was……a brute, to be honest. It was fun at first, but then it was just…too much. (She was also an absolute MORON, but that is NOT the point.) So when I sat down to write Reave – putting the Reapers out of my mind and focusing on the MC – I knew…I wanted her to start weak. Now, if you’ve read Reave, or if you’ve even read a BIT of Reave, you probably already know…

Aster is ANYTHING but weak.

Mentally.

Even from the get-go, she looked at me and said, “I will not have this.” So, I wrote her how she was, then got dragged along behind her (and a few other characters) for the four books I’ve written and all the bits of ones I’ve only written in my head. I don’t have a problem saying that’s how she is. It’s apparent from Chapter One.

I’ll admit there were times during my multiple edits where I sat here in my chair, openmouthed, over certain aspects. You see, it’s probably not that noticeable with the first, but these books were made to be re-read. I know a lot of people aren’t re-readers, and that’s fine. I feel you can read through each book once and find yourself satisfied (unless you hate it/them, in which case…I’m sorry). I can’t say I designed them that way (I wrote them, but being a pantser…I only have so much to do with it), but I can say I tweaked it to make it fit the way it naturally wanted to be. And the series says, “I promise you’ll find something you didn’t the first time if you just READ ME AGAIN after you hit a certain point.”

Then again, I found things I didn’t initially find when reading through Twilight more than once. So………………………………………………………………………………………………

*cough*

The point of the most recent digression is: Aster.

I’ve written…six female protagonists, at least bits of them, depending on how far into their stories I currently am. (Seven if you count a spin-off series that goes in a different timeline where the MC is essentially an entirely different person. Please don’t ask.) I can’t say this series was my best WRITING (I can’t tell you how much I wish it was), meaning in the technical aspect or whatever. But I can without a doubt, one-hundred-freaking-percent say…Aster is, and will always be, my favorite main character that I’ve ever written/will ever write. And honestly? That’s WAY more important to me.

There’s the growth, for one thing. But for another? She SCARES me. I look at some parts of the books, and I get freaked out. And this isn’t a ‘she could kick my a**’ freaked out, it’s a ‘……how did she come out of my head?’ freaked out.

She’s damaged (we all are, and she has good reason just like any person). She has her flaws (the lack of knowledge about normal human-type things could definitely be considered one, but by god…it was fun at some points). Her moral compass is occasionally………..askew (then again, moral compasses being askew is all a matter of personal opinion). But there are so many things I love about her.

The ability to overcome anything put in her way (maybe not in the most…fantastic way, but overcoming is overcoming). The drive and determination to fight for what she believes in. Her willingness to accept the bad but see the good (again, how did she come from my head?). She’s fiercely loyal (as long as it’s deserved). There is a whole list of things I COULD say, but CAN’T say without giving too much away. Still, there’s one more I can put on the list, and it’s up at the tippity-top.

The most amazing thing about her? She CONSTANTLY surprised me, even AFTER I’d written her. Every time I thought I knew her, I would find something and realize…I’d been wrong. And why this series will always be my favorite? Because I was constantly surprised over one thing or another, even after the fact, and I wrote it. O.o

I’ve gotten a lot of crap from people who’ve already read the first book. No one can understand my issue with it (I’m still wondering how no one understands my issue with it where the writing is concerned, but that’s not what I’m currently talking about here). All I can say to that is…

Wait and see. 🙂

Things are always better after the foundation is built, but that’s just my opinion…

By the way, I’ve heard/seen something twice that has given me the most stupendous feeling.

Our Aster. People have referred to her as our Aster.

That is….amazing. Because having anyone love her that much – people feeling connected to her? What else could I ask for?

Time-splitting and other things…

It’s been several days since I blogged last, mostly because I haven’t felt like I had anything worth saying. I know I can’t be the only person out there who feels that way… (What am I doing on here again?)

I’ve been drawing a blank on ideas to write about, but I reckon I’ll settle for the most relevant topic(s) for me at the moment.

I mentioned on my Facebook page that I was trying out this thing called ‘time-splitting.’ I’m pleased to report….

It’s working.

I’d been trying to figure out how to balance my time for so long. It’s an impossible thing for me to do – or it WAS an impossible thing to do – while actively working on a book. I’m not sure if that was due to the way I went about it, in trying to split all the things I wanted to do into separate days (which never worked because I would always end up either writing or editing without stopping for anything but the necessities in life, like sleeping), or maybe because regardless of telling myself I HAD to do whatever things…I didn’t actually HAVE to.

Releasing Reave has done good things for me, where that’s concerned. I’ve got a ‘baby’ out in the world and feel I need to take care of it like I would if it was still only mine (only in a different way). I might not be taking care of it the way I necessarily SHOULD, but this is a big learning process for me and I’m trying to figure out what to do as I go. It doesn’t help that my anxiety leaves me absolutely scared out of my wits to be promoting as shamelessly as I should. That also might be due in part to a lack of confidence…

But time-splitting has thus far been what I would consider a success. I’ve been doing a massive edit on book 2 of the series (which is necessary because I haven’t touched 2, 3, or 4 since the beginning of this year), and I’ve been REALLY GOOD (for me) at responding to things. Apart from yesterday, which I spent thinking about stuff. We all need those days.

I’m not going to say I’m evenly distributing time (like I SHOULD be doing), but I’m at least figuring out ways to function somewhat normally. Balance. I’m finding some sort of balance for the first time in…….three years. Well, maybe for the first time ever. Maybe better time-allocation will fall into place when I get more accustomed to this half-and-half thing (half-and-half with working on different things, and also spending time awake on the opposite side of daylight than what I’m used to).

Yes, obviously my sleep schedule is weird for me right now (and yes, I know I’m always going on about my sleep schedule). I’m used to sleeping from around noon until whenever, so I usually see the sun before bed. Now I see it when I’m waking up and that’s thrown me a bit. I don’t adapt well to change. Usually not at all, actually, so…this is good.

Like with doubleyewteeeff to do now that I have a book released…I’ll figure this other stuff out along the way as well.

I’ll tell ya though…Christmas stuff is not helping me regulate my schedule. It’s all random stuff at random times. My Grinchyness is kind of overridden by the fact that I’m weird and could wrap presents … pretty much all the time.

Still, I feel in a lot of ways like I’m playing a waiting game right now. Waiting for my world to straighten itself out, and waiting to see what happens in the meantime.

I’m still working on some things mentioned in previous entries that could pertain to the last few sentences. The world-straightening, for one. Trying to readjust, trying to figure out what’s going on, what to do. Trying not to freak out so badly at the prospect of interaction (I’m not doing so well with that one). Trying to be more positive and realize that things…maybe aren’t quite as bad as they are in my head (it’s not very pleasant in there, just saying…). Trying to learn how to take good things as they come rather than digging around for bad that maybe isn’t there. I’m not successful with that all the time, but…I’m working on it. Even a small bit of success with that is a step in the right direction for me. I’m kind of taking things one day at a time right now.

I hope everyone is doing well out there, that life is cutting everyone a break and that, if it’s not currently break-cutting, it will start to do so soon.

I had to stop myself from continuing on with that. You’ll have to forgive me – all this ‘working on stuff’ has been turning me into a bigger pile of mush than I’m used to.

😛

The first week of being published.

The clock has now ticked over into Thursday, which means – with Wednesday being at an end – Reave has been live for a full week.

It’s been a very…strange week for me. Most of the time I’m somehow able to convince myself that the book hasn’t released and is still safely in the only places I had it before (Herald, HD, printed out several times for edits, the proof, and…my brain). It’s been better for me that way, trying not to stress about how much people will hate it (if ONLY the second book could be released before the first…), or even just the fact that people CAN read it now.

I never talked about my book(s) on here until just before I released Reave, past saying I’d written them or whatever was going on with them. I’ve always been weirdly protective over them, but I suppose that’s understandable and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I wouldn’t even let my sister read it before it came out, if that says anything. I just didn’t want to let this one (or any of the others) out of my sight. There’s yet another way it can be comparative to having children (I’m assuming), but…….I’m PRETTY sure I’d be less protective of any children I ever had. I’d let my sister take one of those out of my sight for a while, if I had one.

It’s silly, I know. It’s something I struggled with a lot (am still struggling with), but I’m trying to get over it. My sister is actually the one that found the typo I was writing to in Dear Typo, by the way. I should’ve let her read it beforehand. Now I know. I will just have to get over certain things.

I spent the first few days checking my rankings on Amazon randomly. I probably wouldn’t have done much of it if I hadn’t been so shocked at getting on a couple lists for a little while. That was….pretty freaking awesome. I’d never expected to see anything like that, and I DID get to see it, so that was a spectacular moment for me. I didn’t mind dropping off those lists as much as I likely should have (though, yes, I did mind because…I’m human), maybe partially due to the not-expecting-at-all, and maybe partially due to expectations of the dropping (realistic).

There have been a few awesome moments.

Reading the first few reviews on it blew my mind.

The mom of one of my best friends was reading it, asked said friend when the next would be released, was given the ideal (but not feasible) time frame. The response she had (which was told to me) was something about not being able to wait that long. I believe there was an exclamation mark involved, but I have a horrible memory and could easily be wrong.

Mind was blown over that.

I’ve seen three pictures of people holding the book as of now, and that’s probably been the most fantastic thing about it. All for different (but similar, but different) reasons. (Probably up there is an unneeded word.) Seeing those pictures made me think of that moment of holding the proof in my hand, of it not necessarily being the moment I’d anticipated for the past three years (maybe because I was sick, maybe because of circumstances at the time, and maybe because I’d hyped it up so much in my head). Seeing pictures of people holding my book has been a better feeling than me holding it for the first time. Baffling, just like it was when I held it, only in a different enough way that I’m able to actually enjoy the feeling of it rather than sitting there staring at it like it’s some alien life form.

Mind blown over that.

I’ve almost had an anxiety attack every time someone has said something about reading it. I need to find some sort of faith in myself, but…haven’t yet (I’ll say again, GAH! over not being able to release the second book first). It’s the damn characters. I have faith in them. I just….COME ALONG with them. Bad writing, lack of technicality and all.

I thought I would be obsessive over rankings (as obsessive is a fitting word for my personality in general – if you add ‘mild’ before it and turn obsessive into the first part of an acronym that’s followed by CD, we’ll be set), but I haven’t been. I think it’s understanding that this is going to be an uphill battle regardless of anything, which I knew from the get-go. I’ve felt a little lost at multiple points, but it is what it is.

I’m just thinking about how the people who ordered the physical copies of it are getting them in the mail now, and that’s…yeah.

Anyway, I expected myself to be feeling a lot more crazy than I have. Maybe it’s losing a bit of the attachment I had to it from keeping it so much to myself for such a long time. It’s…out of my hands now. People will either like it or they won’t, which I accepted several years ago with the books that will never see the light of day. I’d imagine some people won’t be able to make it past the prologue. Some people won’t ‘get it.’ Some people will want to punch me in the face for it (I’ve already got that one – that someone wanted to punch me). Some people will say, “I can’t wait that long for the next one!”

The latter of those is the only one that confuses me, and I’ve already heard it several times. It’s so weird.

It’s also so weird realizing that everyone has always been right about me. I DO expect the worst. Understand that good can happen, but expect the worst because it seems the most likely thing to occur in any scenario. In trying to change my outlook on things, I can see that’s not a healthy thing to do either because…I don’t believe it’s as realistic as I’ve always thought it was. So in telling myself that one of every ten people might PASSABLY enjoy the book…I’m doing myself – and my work – an injustice. And that’s a shame.

Maybe I’ll figure all that out along the way as well. I had to let go of it in order to feel like I wasn’t living half the life I wanted to be living (writing them and keeping them all to myself). Maybe the ‘faith’ thing will happen eventually. I just don’t think it’s fair to keep telling myself that everyone is ‘too close.’ Someone being close doesn’t mean they’re lying to spare your feelings. Someone complimenting you doesn’t mean they’re doing it with ulterior motives or being dishonest. It also does’t mean that they’re crazy (which is the first thing my mind goes to…sorry to anyone who ever says anything nice to me – I’ve probably thought you were crazy at some point or another. >.>).

Like everything with this, it’s just…a journey.

Too bad you can’t ever prepare for a journey like this as much as you think you can.

Does someone have any pants I can borrow? I think I forgot my own.