Wednesday, May 27

My Biggest Fear

I have always suffered from a fear of criticism. If someone says anything negative about something I have created, I tend to take it personally. I'm left feeling crushed. I don't have a thick skin. So when I recieved the email from Lulu saying that they have added my book (FC1) to, I was struck with the biggest wave of dread I have ever known. Amazon?! With reviews?! No. Not me. I've read the many negative reviews people leave on books that I like. These people can be ruthless. That's one reason why I have the reviews disabled on my books listed at Lulu. Ignorance is bliss.

Several years back, I was sitting at an outdoor table during my break at work, editing my book. A co-worker happened to be on his break, as well, and looked over my shoulder. I've known him to take an interest in writing, but this guy had a strong arrogance about him that rubbed me the wrong way since day one. I want to say that he had a superiority complex. In his mind, he could do no wrong. As he skimmed over the page I was editing, he remarked, "Good, but needs work." My stomach sank. Needs work?! The nerve of him! He has no idea how many times I've gone over this! The rest of the day, I wondered how good he was at writing. Eventually, he sent me a piece of fan fiction he was writing. Wow. And he thought my stuff needed work? Three paragraphs in, my mind had no idea what was going on. Too much description, so little personality, and no pacing at all. He asked what I thought about it. I replied, "It's a nice start." This incident has stuck with me all of these years. Looking back at it now, I can see where his remark came from. We have two different styles. I don't write the way he writes, or how he thinks it should be written. It's almost like watching a movie and wishing for different cinematography. This is why I always love to say, "It is easier to criticize than create."

Now that Lulu is selling my book on, I have re-added the book in Kindle form. I know what I said in a previous post of mine. But it's time to stop letting my fear control me. I hate being afraid. When I found out about the Amazon posting, I told my mom and stepdad about my fear, and my stepdad actually (playfully) said, "If you take it down, I will slap you! I have never seen someone who thinks so negatively about themselves." I try to be positive, but I have no confidence in myself to think like that.

In fear of any negative reviews, I have forbidden myself to look at my book on My inferiority complex demands it.

Ignorance is bliss.

Thursday, May 21

Method to My Madness

I have this problem. Every time I go to the store, I have to buy a notebook. Not just any notebook, but a nice 5 subject, college ruled notebook. Five Star, Omni, Exceed, and No Boundaries are my top favorites. I think it’s an addiction. If I leave the store without one, I get this nagging feeling in the back of my mind.

Why do I love notebooks? They are the tools of my method. Growing up, I had oodles of stories I began but never finished. If an idea came to me, I sat down and wrote everything as though I was reading a book. These early attempts of mine always ended in failure. Then an idea blossomed forth. Rather than writing a book, I began outlining. As long as I kept the ideas flowing, the longer my interest in the story lasted. So now every time I see a fresh notebook, my skin tingles with the story possibilities and the journey that may follow. Perhaps that is why I feel the need to buy a notebook each time I go to the store. Leaving without one is like turning my back on the possibilities.

I also love buying three-ring binders. These simple guys contain my freshly printed chapters. I look at each completed chapter like a miniature goal. It’s an odd way to look at writing, but the method keeps me focused on my current project. The four binders you see are my current manuscripts. From top to bottom: Four Corners: Masquerade, Four Corners: Forever, Four Corners: Legend, and Eden. The top three are finished works, while the bottom contains only the first two parts of Eden. I’m afraid that Eden will be over the 740 page cutoff for the 6” x 9” book at Lulu. But that’s with the current template I made for my first two published books. I may have to rework things. *sigh* But InDesign to me is like a fine sable hair brush to an inker. I don’t think I could’ve survived the layout process with Microsoft Word. I may not be a professional by any means, but I love to pretend.

I’ll end this post with a pic of my desk.


Tuesday, May 19


Yes, it is P-Day! The publishing day for my second book FOUR CORNERS: FOREVER. Such a long, hard road, but the day is finally here. However, unlike my first book, I didn't have a beta reader this time around. The two beta readers I had lined up bailed on me at the last minute. Such is the downfall of a busy life. So instead of pushing back the release date, I'm throwing caution to the wind and embracing the imperfection side.

I am a perfectionist. There, I said it. And one of my self-treatments is to allow imperfections in my life. It's to show more of a human side, though others may see it as laziness. But I've learned the hard way not to dwell on a project for too long.

Back in August 2000, I began writing FOUR CORNERS and posting the completed chapters online. It was the start of a very long journey. On March 9, 2004, I made the painful decision to remove my stories from the internet in hopes to one day see them in print. Thus began the next leg of my journey.

After searching for any and all information on how to get published, I knew I had one option: traditional publishing. You see, there's a stigma out there. Most people view self-publishing as vanity publishing. Vanity publishing is different from what I'm doing. I'm not paying to have my book published. I made the mistake in the past to contact Xlibris. Now they won't leave me alone even after I told them I was no longer interested. A vanity press will publish anything as long as the author pays for it. They're goal is to market to the author and not the public who would buy the books. On the flip side to this coin, you have self-publishing. Everything, right down to the size and type of font, is a decision of the author. The downside is that the author must promote their own works.

In my early searching, I looked down on self-publishing, grouping it together with vanity publishing. This oversight locked my eyes onto the cutthroat world of traditional publishing. It's a ruthless beast. I had two options at this point, look for publishers willing to take a look at an unpublished author or seek out an agent. I chose the first option. And my target? Mundania Press LLC. I took my time and did everything by the book. I wanted to look as professional as possible. I wanted them to see that I knew what I was doing. So I sent them my submission and was told to wait 120 (or longer) for a reply. I waited...and waited. Many months later I sent them a inquiry about my submission. Within the week, I received the dreaded "We regret to inform you..." blah, blah, blah.

Then I took a step back. The chances of me landing a publishing contract without an agent would be like winning the lottery. As I stood thus far, I wasn't a very lucky person. Okay, time to get an agent, right? With my new plan, I happily skipped off to the nearest bookstore to buy the "Guide to Literary Agents." I scoured the book, looking over the slew of advice. I even settled on the first agent I wanted to send my query letter to. Once again, I made everything as professional as possible. Ah, yes, the Writer's House. If I wanted to aim high, I wanted it to be the highest in the publishing land. I didn't want to think about rejection, but I kept it in the back of my mind, something to cushion the blow when I received the rejection letter. Again, I waited. Perhaps I would be one of the lucky ones this time. The SASE returned with a letter--the letter I knew I would see, "I am unable to off you representation..." At least it wasn't a copy and paste email. I now have a nice rejection letter to save for years to come.

You would think that two rejections would be a nice start to a long journey. But I didn't want to sit around and send off letter after letter, in hopes of one day winning the lottery. No. If I want to see my dreams happen, I will be the one in the driver's seat, and not some company/agency who will take my labor of love and do with it as they please. I even feared what my book would look like if it were printed. Would I like the cover? Would they force me to edit out things? Would they allow my work to be bastardized into some cheesy movie that will one day appear on the SciFi Channel? Gah! Make it stop! But there was a way to see everything how I envisioned it. Self-publishing.

All right! My journey takes a strange turn. I began looking at self-publishing with a different set of eyes. I could have my cake, decorate it how I wanted, and even eat it too. Wow! Why didn't I do this before? However, I still see the stigma. It looks like I gave up on traditional publishing, which actually I have, but I see this as a more "organic" part of the creation process. It's like creating a quilt by hand. Sure, there maybe flaws in the finished product, but there's a warmth to it that no factory-made quilt can match. It is that personal touch; the brush strokes on a painting, the thumb print on a sculpture, and the fact someone poured their time and love into this project. It is all them. This is all me.

Now it's time to promote my latest publishing venture. As of now, FOUR CORNERS: FOREVER (FC2) is available for purchase. Remember, this is Book Two in the series. If you haven't read the first book, things won't make much sense in this one, though I try to fill in a little of the back story.

The first draft of FC3 is finished, and will be published sometime next year. Why the long wait? I'm currently working on another series at the moment. I don't have a name for this series yet. I'm still hesitant to call it the "Eden Series," but I find myself saying it anyway. The website has been up for a while now, though not much has changed. This series is a little more personal to me, and that's the main reason I've been debating on whether or not to publish it at all.

I have been working on this series for as long as I've fiddled around with FOUR CORNERS. But the time has come to focus all of my attention on this project. The first book will (hopefully) be released this October. I foresee a summer filled with mind-numbing editing.

I am first and foremost a fan of horror. Even my fantasy writings have a tinge of the horror element. EDEN will not be a young adult novel. (And even though FOUR CORNERS may seem like a YA series as well, it is not.) I write for myself. I want to entertain myself. And if I can entertain others, that will be a happy and welcome side-effect.

EDEN kicks off a series filled with werewolves, vampires, necromancers, and of course, zombies--everything I have loved since childhood. Yes, I was a strange child. This series has been

years in the making. I'm not the type of writer to dream up an idea and churn out a book within months, then move onto the next project. I like my ideas to sit and meld into a nice stew. I want to get all the wrinkles out of my quilt before I allow others to snuggle into it.

I did venture into the world of Amazon's Kindle once. But in fear of bad reviews, I have taken down my work. I know, I know, bad reviews come with the territory. But I have a thin skin. I take everything personally. If someone says something bad about my work, I'll be crushed. Writing is a personal love of mine, and allowing others to read my makes me nervous as hell. It’s like putting your heart and soul into a beautiful painting, and then having to brave those unforgiving art critics. But writing is a little bit different. Much more time and effort goes into the final manuscript, time an artist can spend painting a dozen masterpieces or more. And this is why I’m always hesitant when allowing others to read my work.

Art is in the eye of the beholder.
A great story is in the heart of the writer.

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(To battle my perfectionist side, I refuse to correct the typos or grammar mistakes in this post.)