I am a mess.

I lost the file where I had the list of topics to cover on here before Reave goes live in a couple of days (Wednesday, *fingers crossed*). By lost, I mean I didn’t save it (I was sure I did, I remember typing in the save name and everything…), meaning it’s lack of existence in the world is as much my fault as the fact that I can’t remember what was on the list. It might be somewhere on my computer, but if it is, I can’t find it. Lost. I typed up another entry several days ago and didn’t post it for whatever reason(s), and I don’t believe I’ll do so now because there’s another topic that seems more pressing. The title says it all, I believe.

I’ve been dealing with some major things the past several months (we all have those times), and the ‘book’ aspect(s) of the struggles have been the easiest to say. After all, “I’m freaking out about my book,” IS easier than, “I’m having some significant problems right now, but I’d rather keep them all to myself so please don’t ask me what they are.” The usual response is something like (pardon my language), “The book isn’t sh**.” (If that tells you what usually comes out of my mouth and maybe how hard I am on myself in general, also maybe that I have a potty mouth [I do]…) But things obviously go a lot deeper than that.

The past few months have been……..very difficult. I feel like I’m walking an extremely fine line right now, trying to keep this a certain way. Book things are usually what I talk about here (and blogging about not blogging), but book things aren’t my entire life right now. I would rather play all of this off as ‘I’m nervous that people won’t like it,’ but I don’t really feel that’s fair to myself. Clearly I want people to like it, but I understand that not everybody will and I’ve understood that from the get-go. I’d be happy if one person did, and more than one person already does, so in a sense…I’m kind of content. (More people reading and liking it would be awesome, but I’m still surprised by one.)

As difficult as the past few months have been, they’ve also been beneficial, in some ways. I’ve had to do a lot of self-evaluation, a lot of questioning, a lot of realignment. I’ve had to ask myself some very difficult questions and came up with a lot of answers that I really didn’t care for. It’s easy – sitting in a shed by yourself, writing your life away. Then you wake up one day and realize that so many things have changed around you and you have to try and figure out where you actually are. Three years. I’ve had to catch up with three years. And I’m having….a very difficult time. I’m having a difficult time coming to terms with the fact that… have changed. Easy not to know as much when you don’t focus on yourself, or would most of the time rather ignore your own existence in the world.

So I’m kind of looking at it as waking up one day and discovering that the entire world is different, and you’re stuck having to catch up, to find some place where you can fit. The old place where you fit….it isn’t there anymore.

In the past several months, I’ve hit some majorly low points. Hence the neglection of the blog/social stuff in general. A lot of the time when I disappear for a week or so, it’s because I have too much going on in my head to interact with people. I have extremely bad anxiety, and almost every time I interact with anyone, I get stressed out (even if it’s a pleasant interaction). Not to mention that I’ve generally been run ragged, between being sick with that cold-from-hell that is still making me cough, book stuff, and personal life matters (chicken with no head). Just….ragged. I’m sure everyone knows how effing difficult it can be to do what you feel you need to do – or even what you want to do – when you feel like you have absolutely nothing left. That’s where I’ve been. I’ll admit that.

Saturday was a new low for me. I was unfortunately not alone at that point, so my sister got an earful of things I wish I’d kept to myself or put down on my keyboard (though the keyboard could PROBABLY use a break…). It’s startlingly difficult for me right now – interacting with almost anyone. At dinner today, my mamaw asked me, “Are you excited?”

There are some things I’m excited about. I’m excited because I know someone out there will enjoy my book, and that’s what it’s all about. And, if you read it and do, please feel welcome to tell me. (PLEASE.)  I can’t tell you how much I would love to hear that. But it’s hard for me to throw it out there, especially right now when it feels like the ground I’m standing on is so unstable.

Of course it’s scary, of course I’m nervous, of course I’m stressed. And, of course, yes, part of me is excited. I’m just trying to accept some things that I’ve been ignoring for a very long time.

I am a person. I have a life outside of writing books. Or…I should have one.

I know I’m not the only person out there (far from it) that would rather keep their personal business to themselves, especially in a world where half the people in it want to be (pardon my language again) assholes, just because they can. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from being on here, it’s that almost everyone is extremely……awesome. And there are some people on here that I might call ‘blogging buddies’ but would actually consider something closer to friends. I’m kind of a bad friend when I isolate myself, and a bit of isolation has been … necessary for me lately. I apologize for that, sincerely – even to my ACTUAL friends, which I’ve isolated myself from as well. I know some of you are worried about me, and I’m sorry about that.

I’m waiting it out until Wednesday. Wednesday will inevitably be a turning point for me in some way or another. No matter what happens, after that point, I will be a ‘published author’…

That’s….whew. That’s something.

I can’t tell you how badly I want to bury myself in work right now (or hide under a rock). That’s all I want to do. But I’m forcing myself to not, even if it would cover up a lot of the stuff and, in a way, make me feel better. I’m not working at all before Wednesday because I want to make sure I’m dealing with this. Facing down personal demons, which is EXACTLY what I’ll be doing between now and then. I might be on here, and everywhere else, and I might not. I’m not sure yet.

Tomorrow night, I’m going to have to click two ‘approve’ buttons. One of my personal demons is going to stare me in the face and ask me a question it’s been asking me a lot lately. “What made you think you could ever do this?”

And I want to be positive that I can stand up on my tiptoes to get in its ugly face and say, “Because I can.”

I’ve been working on that response for the last few months. Catchy, huh? I figured I’d leave out the copious amounts of cursing that will likely happen after and also the copious amounts of violence I would love to inflict on said personal demon. Then again…I don’t want the others to gang up on me.

Anyway, I really, sincerely hope that everyone is doing well out there. I really do. I wouldn’t wish the way I’m feeling right now on anyone in the world. If you have some good things going on with you, it would be fantastic to hear about them. Just saying…

Everybody hates prologues.

Why?

Someone, please, tell me why.

I’ve heard it before. I read it somewhere a long time ago and have seen multiple things on that subject over the last several years. What’s bringing it up right now is that I read an article about it again a few days ago. I can’t remember from where, though I’m assuming I somehow found it by tap-tapping away on Twitter, as Twitter and Instagram are really the only things I check somewhat consistently. They’re both right next to each other on my phone, what can I say?

Anyway, I’m not really one to take things that I read on the internet at face value (WTF does that even mean? I’ve never even questioned the saying until right this second. Maybe it’s the Writer in me, but seeing something in front of your face doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re looking at it in the right way. Just saying!), but there seems to be some general consensus that agents, and the like, hate prologues.

Again, I ask anyone out there in the vast expanses of internetdom who can actually communicate back with me . . . WHY?

As a reader, I have no issue with them if they’re done well enough. The only one that’s ever made me stop, tilt my head, and make some sound that Scooby Doo tends to make (at least in my head), is the book that I was complaining about in a previous entry, which you can find here. It was out of place and made no sense whatsoever to what I actually got through in the book, but that’s neither here nor there and is only relevant whatsoever right now in me saying that, as a reader, I’ve never had an issue with them (apart from that one instance, at least that I can remember, which – knowing my memory – isn’t saying very much).

In fact, AS A READER, I tend to like prologues.

Take for example the beginning of Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare. The first few words in the actual BOOK part of the book are, The demon exploded in. That’s enough to get my point across, I think. That was enough right there to make me smile and think, “Yeah, I’m gonna like this book.”

Prologue.

Don’t smack me if I’m wrong in saying that it was a prologue, but I’m almost positive that it was. That book is currently in a box right now so I can’t take two steps and check for sure. I’d rather make an as– *cough* . . . butt out of myself.

Anyway, perfect use of a prologue right there. That scene was extremely relevant, but did not fit perfectly with the beginning of the STORY story.

I loved it.

Now, as a writer, I will also say that I CANNOT understand the issue with prologues.

When I was sitting down several years ago, writing the first scene of my first book . . . Well, um, I wrote it. I wrote it, and then I went to the next CHAPTER and, after the fact, realized that – while one could not be done without the other – they did not exactly . . . mesh, you could say. Hence my first prologue was written into existence.

Every single book that I have ever written has a prologue, and an epilogue.

In my (we’ll say HUMBLE) opinion, I think they’re great. And that has absolutely nothing at all to do with the fact that I write them, and everything to do with WHY I write them.

I can understand the issue with them when they’re used for info-dumping, but at the same time . . . I don’t know.

Maybe I’m the only person seeing a difference between bringing a story up to speed in a way that doesn’t fit 100% WITH the story and info-dumping. I know some people are fond of flashbacks (one of my very good friends is fond of them, in fact), but I only am to a certain extent. The first book in my first series has flashbacks out the as– *cough* wazoo. I hated it. I absolutely hated it. I would rather have a prologue with JUST THE RIGHT information than those flashbacks. That’s personal preference, both in writing, and reading.

I just don’t understand why a book would be entirely disregarded (as that was the statement made in the article I read) for having a prologue. A prologue doesn’t mean that it’s info-dumping. A prologue doesn’t mean that the story will be horrible, or the writing atrocious. Where in the world is that stigma coming from? Can anyone out there fill me in? Because, honestly? I just think it’s a load of bulllll- *cough* bologna.

Am I the only one that thinks bologna is a funny word?

I’m giggling a little right now, I’m not gonna lie.

My Point:

When written well, and done well, a prologue can add fantastic things to a story, in my opinion.

That’s all.

And did anybody get the whole Lost reference? Or no?

Unhelpful Book Reviews: A Rant

I believe this is going to be my very first rant on here. At least the first that I have every intention of posting after I get finished typing.

A little bit of back-story to explain completely . . .

About a month or two ago, I decided that I was going to download some e-books off of ‘The Big 2’ (Barnes & Noble and Amazon). The entire purpose of it was to write some good, helpful reviews – both for the potential readers, and for the authors.

I suppose that I should interject on my own writing here and clarify that I was downloading lesser known books, hopefully by authors who were just beginning their careers. I was hoping upon all hope that I would be able to . . . HELP.

There are two issues . . .

One: I have major problems with reading long things on any type of screen. Even things that I write. When I’m writing my own books, I keep them in separate chapters until throwing them all together. I do not read my own books in their entirety on my computer. I just can’t retain things, or pick them out. So, doing this was potentially problematic in that sense.

Two: Well . . . You see . . . I tried to read one of those downloaded books. I got about 10 or so pages into it and literally could NOT continue. It was torture. Absolute TORTURE.

I went and sat down at my computer with intent to write a review (I should say, I’ve only written one book review in my entire life, apart from the one I’m currently speaking – er, typing – of. I told myself, “Constructive criticism, C. Constructive criticism. Anything you say could potentially help this author. HELP THEM, FOR HOLY &%*$’@ sake!”

I wrote the review, and I was pleased with it.

I was pleased with it until I realized that it was written better than the book I’d attempted to read (I swear this is not me tooting my own horn. If you’ve read many of my blogs, you know that I’m extremely critical of my own writing). And I was pleased until I realized that, if I posted it? I could potentially do more harm than good. I guess the Aspiring-Author part of me couldn’t stand the thought of harming the career of another author.  Even if they might have . . . needed it. Even as a wake-up call.

I didn’t post it anywhere. I still have it saved on my computer, but that’s where it sits.

Anyway, I’ve been perusing The Big 2 again today, and I just got a bit frustrated. Or more than a bit, possibly.

 

The purpose of this here rant is not about the horribleness of that book, or of any other book (though authors DESPERATELY NEEDING to get their books edited before self-publishing, and also ensuring they GET GOOD COVER ART are potentially fuel for the fire of another entry.)

The purpose of this here rant is the absolutely unhelpful, ridiculous book reviewers on The Big 2.

Not all of those reviewers are unhelpful. Some of them write amazing reviews – even those 1 star ones (which I am more likely to read than the 5 stars).

This rant is not even about the reviews that are ridiculous (and also a bit ironic). (THIS BOOOK WAS REATAR!!!!!!!! WHA WAS THE AUTHER THIKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! [insert more excessive !!’s]), (This author really needs to stop reling so much on spell-check) . . .

This has absolutely nothing at ALL to do with the reviews that have zero writing (I’m assuming they all just couldn’t stomach the book to the point of not even wanting to comment on it).

This has nothing to do with the rating system at all, really. This has nothing to do with bad reviews.

This has absolutely everything to do with people who give a book 1 star to . . . ask a question. (As a side-note: I actually saw one review like that with 5 stars)

– Here is one star. How many pages are in this book?-

-Here is one star. I’m nine. Can I read this book?-

. . . . . . .

What these people fail to realize is that they are actually harming careers.

I hadn’t even been looking at books with ratings that had less than 4 stars, until earlier. And I’ll tell you – I flagged and flagged and flagged until my little heart was somewhat content once I realized what I was looking at. Unrelated content. Suspected underage user. Unrelated content. Again, and again, and again.

If the book is free .  . . Can’t you just . . . DOWNLOAD it to see how many pages there are?  Hmm?

 

I try to be professional on here – at least to an extent. But seriously? Harming careers.

I say again . . . Harming CAREERS.

I sure as hell wouldn’t want that level of ignorance keeping my potential audience from picking up my book when the time comes. If you don’t like it, you don’t like it – that’s totally fine. That’s an entirely different ballgame.

But if I don’t want it to happen to me?

I don’t want it to happen to any of you either.

 

Maybe I would be more helpful at skimming reviews than reading books. Ha

When Paranoia Gets In The Way Of Potential

Paranoia…

I wonder if all writers feel that word as intensely as I do.  I’d be interested in finding out.

I’ve been doing a lot of pondering on the word over the past few days.  You see, regardless of feeling it, I’d never really put much thought into it.  I’ve known from the get-go that I am paranoid about my books.  In a world where people can hack anything…why wouldn’t I be?  In a world where I have had my things stolen or broken into in nearly every place that I’ve ever lived…why wouldn’t that be a legitimate concern?

I’ve told many a person that I would let someone babysit a child that I don’t have before I would hand over a copy of my book to them.  I meant it then; I still mean it now.  It might sound ridiculous to some people, but to each their own.

I was struck with a thought (or more than one, really) sometime over the course of the last 48 hours.

Am I concerned about my books, or am I concerned about myself?

Is my paranoia impeding the potential of my work?

I believe that it very well may be.

When briefly discussing my revelation with R via text…she said something along the lines of, “As long as you’re not guarding it with your life, I don’t see a problem with it.”  That might not be right, but it was close enough and I don’t feel like scrolling for ten minutes attempting to find it.

My response was, “I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing.”

She then proceeded to say that it wasn’t what she meant; she was talking more of a physical protection.  Something about a dark alley and someone trying to steal it; I stash it and take a bullet.

Now…what R doesn’t know is that, in my head, I was contemplating all the places of my body that I would take a bullet for the protection of my book.  I feel ridiculous, of course.  If someone was going to shoot me, I highly doubt they would let me pick the spot of bullet impact (or, perhaps, caliber?).  Nevertheless, I still thought about it for awhile and came up with a list of a few places.  My series is about assassins; I’ve done a lot of contemplating/thinking about spots of the body and what lies beneath said spots (how much damage it could potentially do, etc.).  I was serious as I thought about it; it was not some joking thing.  I think that’s the most worrisome part about it.

Would I die for my work?

No.

Am I adamant about protecting it?

You betcha.

Now that we’ve got all that settled…Where does a person go from there?

Do I need to start drawing up contracts or something before allowing people to take a look at my books?  That’s an insane thought.  I write books, not contracts.

I need feedback on them.  Good ole’ unbiased feedback.

Would people – friends or family, even – be offended by that?  Or would they understand?  I don’t know.  It’s hard enough for me to ask someone to spend their time reading them to help me with the feedback thing.  But then throwing the word contract into it?

Maybe people not wanting to read my books is all in my head.  Maybe I’ve gotten so carried away in all of this that I haven’t realized…a few people have offered.  I’ve pretty much shut down all of them.  When I want people to read my books…why in the world am I doing that?  Would contracts be a feasible way to ease my troubled mind?  What in tarnation would they even say?  Yes, I am so flustered that the word tarnation just came out of my fingers.  I’m not hanging my head in shame and confusion over that; I’m too focused.

I guess what I’m asking is, “Is this level of paranoia normal?”

Or, “Am I alone in this craziness?”

Or, “What in the world should I do here?”

Any feedback would be much appreciated.

You don’t need to leave comments about me being crazy; I’m already aware.

It makes life interesting, what can I say?