Archive for 2013
But I don't know, I've just felt like I got off track somewhere and I can't tell where. I feel like I'm failing, like I blew past an important juncture and it's too late to backtrack.
This morning I tried to remember what I used to do to blow off steam. Many years ago I'd drink and hang out with friends, find a guy to flirt with. After I got married I'd go to garage sales and find projects around the house to do. That's also when I started writing seriously. I started blogging and that was a tremendous help in keeping my sanity as an isolated mother of small children. Then I started getting too much traffic to feel comfortable spilling my guts, but I found I didn't have much else to spill. Household projects I used to enjoy became too large for me to do on my own.
The final blow to my serenity has been college. I'm doing well, but the work is always there like a specter hovering over my shoulder. There is no time to find a new outlet for my anxiety, much less implement it. In a way, I'm more isolated than I was before I came back to the world, despite working with a great group of women at the library.
Maybe my life is changing to fast to keep up with, and I feel like I'm leaving part of myself behind. Maybe that's all it is.
The house is dirtier than it used to be. While I was a stay-at-home mother I felt unappreciated and resentful about all the housework I had to do. I never felt like I got enough done. Now I'm amazed at how much I was able to accomplish. The soap-making, the knitting, the cooking, the fridge cleaning... It takes less time to hold my breath when I have to get milk out of the fridge than it does to clean it.
I'd like to have the time to finish this website. I wish I could read a book. I'd love to help my friends promote their books.
When I started taking classes toward my long-postponed bachelor's degree, I truly had no idea the work load would be so heavy. I don't remember doing this much when I was in college full time. Like, maybe one assignment per week per class, with the larger chapters broken up over a couple of weeks. In each of these classes I have a chapter per week with a related lecture, quiz, and discussion, plus several short papers over the semester. It says a lot that I feel more pressed for time now than when I was taking 18 hours and working full time with time to party left over.
But I have kids now--a full time job in itself, running them around. And in online classes they can only track us by our online work, and that means writing and assessments.
It's just the nature of the beast (which apparently lives in my fridge).
To give you a little taste of Marta's writing (yum yum) I thought I'd post one of her fairy tales that I happen to love. Later on as the release date gets closer, I'll see if I can't post an excerpt of The Blue Jar with links and everything. But for now, enjoy!
Sharp, Glittering Things
by Marta Pelrine-Bacon
Clarice possessed a fascination for sharp, glittering things. In her upstairs room she kept knives, needles, and razors hidden in a red box under her bed. Almost every one of them was stolen. Her mother couldn’t even abide the sight of cutlery and the sight of blood made her faint.
Clarice didn’t understand her mother at all. Everything had to be soft. Edges were rounded or padded. Once Clarice had gotten a paper cut and her mother had nearly banned all books. Even so, now she had to wear white gloves to turn a page.
Then there was the nightmare of birthdays. Clarice hated birthdays. Her mother spent hours at the guest list. She never crossed off a name but added and added. Every year, as the children made more friends she had to lengthen the list. Everyone in the house had to check the list so many times they could recite the names in their dreams.
A maid did all the cooking, so the children were not allowed in the kitchen and all the food was served cut into pieces for them. The children were not to lose the smallest drop of blood. Nannies and tutors were fired if one of the children scuffed a knee.
Nor did her mother sleep well. “I’ve slept enough already for several lifetimes,” her mother would say. Late at night her mother stayed curled up on the sofa and stared at the television. She watched movies and shows of other worlds and times and great adventures.
On the night of her sixteenth birthday, Clarice snuck out of her room. For years, she’d imagined being out, unmissed and unguarded, and the first step beyond the sight of the house sent a thrill through her heart.
Clarice had planned to wander. She wanted to take her time. Touch lampposts. Run her fingers along brick walls. Stop in a diner and order food that required a knife.
For her adventure she took thinnest sharpest blade from the red box and slipped in the side of boot. When she stepped out the back door, the knife’s edge pressed into her ankle, but she didn’t stop to check her skin.
The shadows of the nighttime world surprised her in spite of all the stories she’d read in preparation. She couldn’t shake the feeling the shadows were the cloaks of ghosts as if they’d been there all this time waiting for her. She decided to find a place to sit and think about her plans.
At the first bench she came to sat an old woman. Clarice had no fear of an old woman, and so she sat at the other end of the bench. She took her lipstick and a mirror out of her purse.
“That’s a very pretty shade of lipstick, dear,” the old woman said.
“Thanks. It’s called True Red,” Clarice replied. “Or something like that.”
“A good color for a girl wanting adventure.” The old woman worked at the many rings around her fingers.
Clarice laughed. “What are you doing out here at this hour? My parents always tell me the world isn’t safe for old people and children after dark.”
“You’re here too,” the old woman said. “You can’t listen to your parents and my parents have long been dead.”
“My parents are afraid of everything. Especially my mom.”
The old woman nodded. “Parents want to protect their children. There’s nothing wrong with that.”
“Were you like that? With your kids, I mean.”
“I never had children of my own.” She continued to twist her rings.
“Those are pretty rings,” Clarice said, feeling she should give the woman a compliment as well.
The old woman held her hands out in front of her with her fingers outstretched. The silver bands, some with stones, gleamed in the streetlight. “Thank you, dear. Though I’m really getting too old for such frippery.”
The old woman smiled. “Which ring do you like best?”
“Oh. Well. That’s hard to say. But, if I had to choose, I guess I’d choose that one with the stars.” A stream of sharp-pointed stars wrapped around the woman’s gnarled finger.
“Good choice.” She slipped the ring off. “Here, dear. It’s for you.”
Clarice sat up straighter. The ring wasn’t candy from a stranger exactly, but her mother would see it the same way. “Good heavens, ma’am. I can’t take that. You don’t even know me.”
“I’m old and have no children,” the woman said. “I had a son once.” Her voice trailed off. “You’re young and have adventure waiting for you. Take it and you’ll remember me. You’ll be about the only person to do so.”
Clarice let the woman place the ring in her hand. “Thank you. That’s very kind.”
“Go on and put it on.”
“I hope it isn’t too big.” The ring rested in Clarice’s open palm.
“It will fit. I promise. On your ring finger—like you’re getting married.”
“I’m too young to get married.” Clarice wasn’t sure what to make of the old woman’s smile, but she put the ring on like she was told, and just as the old woman promised the ring felt as if it had been made for her. “You know,” said Clarice, “you don’t seem that old.”
“It’s hard for the young and inexperienced to know what they see.”
“I wish had something to give you…wait.” Clarice took the knife from her boot. “You could take this. You could use it to protect yourself.”
“Then what would you have for protection, dear?”
“Oh, I’ve got a box of knives under my bed at home.”
“That’s too far away now to be of much use,” the old woman said, taking the knife from the girl.
“So you think my parents are right then—the world is a much too dangerous place?” It seemed to Clarice the old woman was looking less and less old and strangely less womanly.
The old woman straightened her back. “What is dangerous to some is thrilling to others.”
Clarice frowned. She must be more tired than she realized. The shadows played tricks on her mind. The old woman didn’t even sound like a woman anymore. “You said you have a son.”
“Hmm.” The woman worried the knife handle between her fingers.
“It’s odd,” Clarice said. “Looking at you now, I can see what he looks like. It’s amazing, really. I could almost trick myself into thinking I’m talking to him instead of to you.”
“The eyes play all kinds of tricks in the dark, my dear.”
Clarice imagined the old woman’s voice was deeper. “Do you like the knife?”
“I do,” came the answer. “But is already has a bit of blood on it.”
“My ankle. I’m sorry. I’ll clean it off.” She reached for the blade but the woman—or rather the old woman who looked more and more like a young man—moved the knife beyond her grasp.
“What’s a moon without a night sky to shine in? What’s a sharp edge without something to cut?”
Clarice watched as the old woman stood up, straighter and taller and more assured than ought to have been possible. “I think I need to get home,” she said.
“I think,” the old woman said and leaned over the girl, “that parents can’t protect their children from everything. Danger always has a way of getting in.”
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Sore throat. It started the other night when the a/c was broken and we had to leave the windows open. Someone was burning brush or having a campfire and the smoke, and it irritated my throat. Then I was distracted with problems, but it came back full force last night. So I don't know if it was related to the smoke or if my immune system couldn't keep up with the stress. Oh, I know--stress related heartburn.
I was having really scary computer problems, like, blue screen of death problems. If I'd had a Windows cd I probably would have wiped the drive and reinstalled Windows 7. As it happens, though, I don't have an installation cd so I had to work around it. I ran diagnostics, virus scans, repair utilities. Finally it grabbed enough of a toehold to install some automatic Windows updates, and two rounds of that seems to have fixed whatever error had occurred. I was just on the verge of installing Ubuntu when it started working properly again. Windows was scared, I guess.
So I made a repair disk and now I'm backing up my data. I might keep Ubuntu handy in case Windows goes kaput again, and I'll probably try it out via thumb drive. I've always wanted to try it. There were a few days of panic as I tried and failed to do schoolwork on my other two computers. One is 8 years old and barely runs, but the newer (yet still old) laptop has a bad DVD player. I kept having to hop back and forth and work around the kids as they claimed their computer time. Finally I looked at my syllabus to see what exactly was urgently due this weekend, and I saw I had already done it. Oh. Okay. Whew.
A sequel to Skin & Scales is starting to gel, but I don't know when I'll be able to write it. S&S is getting a few downloads and starting to collect reviews, and the two free shorts are still getting regular downloads. I'll be submitting S&S to my library system's HQ for possible inclusion in the collection. That would be pretty darn awesome. I need to buy some more copies to have on hand for sale.
I'll have to fit in a nap somewhere today, as the teenager pulled some shenanigans last night which kept me awake till 5 a.m. Ah, high school. Hopefully this is a lesson learned and not the beginning of a pattern. It's a good story, but I won't tell it until she's grown.
So that's what's happening here. I'll be working on my website later, getting links and pages working and adding stories if I have time. Fun stuff.
So if you're here you're noticing the new surroundings. No biggie, since my website has been in a state of flux for a while now, but what you might not notice is that I'm back on Blogger.
I've been on the fence about tossing my hosting plan--even though it was just $6 a month I felt it was wasted money since my plans for a big, fancy author website never materialized. And even though I'm more comfortable on Wordpress, they're so monetized now that it's hard to make your blog the way you want it with the free version. So on top of school, work and kids, I decided to learn how to do the new Blogger. It's a slow process. At this moment most of my drop-down menus still have this awesome template's generic lists and I'm not utilizing front page images like I should, but I did manage to get my contact links in there, as well as on of my short stories, Mon Petit Ami. Of course, I might change my mind about the formatting of the menus, but for now it's there.
On the authorial front, I have learned something about myself: I really loathe marketing. I had an inkling I didn't like it before I wrote Skin & Scales, but now I know for sure I'm completely out of my depth. I want to be an DIY author like I am a DIY everything else, but I have to admit my limitations here. I need a publisher to guide me. I'll do anything they tell me, I just need someone else's help in this area.
Let's see, what else...
School's going fine. Pell grant paid for about 2/3 of the summer session, but hopefully it'll pay out a little more for the regular school year since I'll be officially half-time. I just can't believe my audacity at thinking I can accomplish this.
Working at the library is still good, but I don't know how much longer I can do shelving. My joints aren't holding up too well. I didn't even know how bad my joints were until I started working again. I knew particular joints were prone to pain at times, but not generalized joint pain. My fragrance sensitivity creeps up on me some days, but most of the time I'm all right. Part of the problem, I'm sure, is sleeping on this futon. It's been over two years since I sort-of separated from the hubs (we still live in the same house but don't hang out together much), and the futon isn't getting any softer.
But everything happens in its own time and, I believe, to the best purpose. And since the past year has been all about forward motion I think it's okay to rest for a little while. Life seems to build in those rests for me, which is good since I'm not too good at making time for rest myself.
I knitted a cotton sunhat this week. I thought it looked ugly and shlumpy at first, but after a couple of days I see it's cute and shlumpy instead. I do that with every project. I expect to weave in the final ends and be awed by the project's holy glow, but it's still just a hat. It's like that with writing, too. That's why writers are advised to put a newly finished manuscript "in a drawer" for a few weeks. (Used to be a physical manuscript in an actual drawer, now it's bits on a hard drive.)
I need money. An online job would be great, but of course those are rare. I can't write website copy right now (my head is too full of college right now) but I could do data entry or something. The reason I hesitate to get a job outside the house is because I'm already leaving the kids home alone more than I'm comfortable with, and also because the migraines are getting more frequent again. Fragrance exposure made worse by stress.
I'm working on the stress part, which is just a matter of adjusting to all the changes of the last year, but of course I can't do anything about the fragrance part. I think the city put air fresheners in the library, which they had approved at the end of last year, right before I came aboard. You're probably thinking, "But Sherri, can't you tell when there's air freshener present?" I've always smelled strong, perfumey odors at times in the library. Usually I can pin it on a customer and move away and be fine. But lately I've been smelling it where there are no customers. A problem with air freshener (and any fragrance) is that you stop smelling it after a while, so it's hard to know if it's there all the time. Also, if this is AF I'm smelling, it doesn't always smell the same. I'm wondering if the dispensers are the atomizers that rotate different scents.
All I know is my eyes are irritated at the library, blurring my vision and spawning the subsequent evening migraine, and when I get home my clothes and hair carry a strong fragrance. If I work two days in a row, forget about it. It seems to be better to work a couple of long days than many short days per week. Maybe I'll ask my boss if we can do that. I hesitate to ask if the air fresheners have been installed, because I had a false alarm a few months ago and I don't want to compound my perceived hysteria.
But anyway, all that fragrance talk came from why I still want to work from home, if at all possible.
And now I must shower.
This was my diary entry from 2 1/2 years ago. It resonates with me today.
Feeling today...like I need to find a way to release my fear that everyone's out to get me. Like holding back to protect myself doesn't really protect me. How would it feel to go through my day feeling like everyone I interact with has no agenda, no expectations, only a pure desire to connect and share? How would that feel? Everyone has an agenda, of course, because that's how we go through life. But what if I had faith that those agendas contained no secret need that I had to fulfill? What if I stopped looking for the punchline? The irony? The trip wire? What if I went through my day open to possibility, open to helping others when they need it? I'd like to be able to instantly assess when people need my help, even when they don't ask, my real help and not my propping up of their ego. If I get out of the mental fetal position and look people in the eye, what then? I think I'm afraid they WILL need me. I fear looking like a fool--too excited, too enthusiastic, too dumb, too womanly. I fear being myself, because that self has been criticized so much. Today I will stop working on my faults and start finding my strengths, and start working on those.
How about this: Today I will stop trying to hide my flaws. By trying to hide my flaws I'm hiding the good parts of me, too.
I had let the daily practice of this fall away, but I can see how I benefited from it. Maybe I didn’t exactly let it fall away as I simply let it fall inside. It’s been stewing and now it’s ready to come back out. Back then it was a what-if. Now that last sentence feels like a fact. Also, I’ve learned since then that flaws are subjective and forgivable.
(Aside: KDP Select has been a waste of time for me. None of my three publications has ever been borrowed, so basically I'm giving Amazon exclusivity for free. Great racket they have going there. I won't use it again.)
A couple of months ago I read ICF through for the first time in a long time. I downloaded my two shorts to test on different apps, and on the Kindle app I encountered the problem, which was the damn ending! And yes, I'm really mad about it!
I hate writing endings. I struggle with the ending every time and never feel satisfied. If I have an ending in mind when I start, I'm not light on my feet enough to switch it up when the story takes me in a different direction. If I don't have the ending, that keeps me from finishing at all.
I guess that's why I got the closure with MPA. It couldn't be published until I got the ending right. It finally came around, mostly satisfying, published and BOOM, closure. "Oooh, must have been because I published it! It's out of my hair and out of my mind, because I put it out there. This is a sure-fire way to get rid of those nagging stories I can't stop editing!"
With ICF, I did fix the ending, but the pacing was bad. And this is why they say let your stories sit a while before you read them again, and to print them out. The different format--a Kindle reader app--and a few weeks gave me the separation I needed to see why I couldn't stop thinking about it.
But so once I was to that point, Skin & Scales was racing down the track. I thought, that's fine because I Can Fly is in KDP Select. It's exclusively on Amazon and at 99 cents. Nobody's borrowing, and it's highly doubtful anyone would pay a dollar for a story of only 2,000 words. ICF could wait while I focused on S&S.
So that's what I did. And then two days after I received my first real copies of Skin & Scales somebody paid a dollar for I Can Fly! Huzzah! Finally, a sale for this little story. Then I felt guilty as I realized I hadn't fixed the ending yet. Bummer. I hope they don't hold it against me.
Anyway, this lit a fire under me. If people were going to be paying, it better darn well be the best I can make it. I took the laptop to the park with us so the kids could play and I could plug in at the pavilion. I reshaped the ending to I Can Fly with little trouble, much to my relief. Only thing is, now it's pretty obvious that the title for this new story should be "The Girl for Me." Not pretty obvious, really obvious. But I already have a cover I'm satisfied with! People already know it by its old title! What do I do, what do I do??
I already changed Black Veil Angel to Skin & Scales pretty abruptly, but that was before publication. I'm glad I changed it. But I Can Fly is an established title. I guess it can be transitioned a couple of ways--maybe a subtitle, or in the description I can say "formerly I Can Fly"--so as not to confuse those who've already downloaded it.
Maybe I'm making too big a deal out of it.
Author Interview: Sherri Cornelius | J. Dane Tyler.
What a crazy week it's been! Most of it wasn't good, obviously, what with the Boston Marathon bombing so close to the anniversary of the OKC bombing, and the tornadoes earlier in the week, and friends going through health issues that I can only imagine. I could lose myself in debilitating empathy, which I would have done a few years ago.
What I find happening instead is extreme gratitude. My world is peaceful. I have all my limbs and no cancer. My family is healthy and untouched by violence. I finally feel I've overcome the bulk of my self-destructive tendencies.
So yeah, my life is good. It's not perfect, but at least I'm safe, warm, and fed. Oh, and I was accepted into the Bachelor of General Studies program! Things are moving in the right direction. I have to call the school now and set up my class plan. The only thing I'm concerned about is the money sitch. I can't really afford to pay more than about a dollar out of pocket. This might mean taking fewer classes to stay within the Pell grant I'll be getting. I won't be taking out any loans this time. Learned my lesson on that one.
Time for me to get my day started. I hope you all don't let the week get you down too much. Enjoy what you have while you have it.
Author Interview: Sherri Cornelius | En*DANE*gered.
The first two stories I e-published, I didn’t do any promotion aside from tweeting and facebooking and blogging. And really, not a lot of that. They were short stories, and I intended them to be free from the beginning. This in itself ensured they would be downloaded. People like free stuff.
With SKIN AND SCALES I decided to go a different way. First of all, I decided to charge a book price for it and see what happened. (Very little, of course.) Second, I put it straight into KDP Select instead of offering it on Smashwords first. The benefit of KDP Select is that Amazon Prime members are able to borrow the book for free, but the author still gets a small royalty. I had no borrows on the short stories while they were enrolled, but I thought people would be more likely to borrow a book. (Apparently not my book.) Third, I intended to publish it quietly and just let it sit unpromoted, but I got caught up in the excitement, especially when my mom virtually shoved a couple of twenties in my hand for a Facebook ad. So I tried it, expecting nothing but an education and receiving what I expected. It was an interesting and enlightening experience. The results were definitive, and I quit before I hit $20.
So now I think what I need is some reviews. My theory is that any review is good for business. Even a solid 3-star review would indicate that people were reading it and it isn’t completely awful. A 1-star review would keep people engaged and on the page, though I presume I would need a couple of higher stars to counteract it.
TOMORROW only, April 10, SKIN AND SCALES will be free for download on Kindle. This serves a two-fold purpose: to allow the folks in my acknowledgements to get a free copy and to garner a few reviews. I hope everyone who reads it will at least throw a couple of anonymous stars up there. Don’t be shy! If one person breaks the ice, others will follow.
If you don’t read weird stuff but still want to support me, you can recommend the book to your weird-loving friends. If you don’t have a Kindle but still want to read it, you can download a reader for your computer or smart phone here.
Thanks for all your support!
But then it just stopped dragging.The instant I saw the image on iStockPhoto I knew it was THE ONE. I had been looking for months, but I'm glad now I didn't try to force it with another image. As the final cover started to come together I got more and more excited.
I'm really happy about the title change. "Black Veil Angel" had a couple of things about it that I thought didn't represent the book. First of all, if you've googled it, you know that the term black veil angel is a common name for a type of angelfish. It wouldn't be a huge leap for a reader to expect at least some symbolism involving a fish tank. Another is that confounding word "angel." It's used in the Christian angel way so freakin' much that I thought it would give potential readers the wrong idea. Especially with the Light on the cover.
Skin and Scales is more descriptive, fits the tone of the story, and plus I think it sounds pretty cool.
I wasn't going to do any promotion beyond a quiet link here on the blog. But once the cover was finished and I started the actual publishing process, I found myself making author pages on Goodreads and Amazon, almost like sleepwalking. I wrote a blurb and all the front matter of the book in a single afternoon. No major problems formatting the manuscript. It was just time, I guess.
I had planned not to care, based on my previous self-pub experiences. What I didn't take into consideration is the fact that this is a full-length novel. A novel I worked on for several years. A novel which ushered me through the hardest time of my writing life thus far. (Hopefully forever.) Maybe I do care, a little.
Skin and Scales will be available exclusively on the Kindle for three months. Woo!
At least I don't have Castleville to distract me anymore. It's felt like housekeeping for a long while, And I finally got the nerve to block it. I thought I would miss it, but when it pops into my head it's a relief to be able to dismiss it and move to something else. So much of this modern Internet-centered life is habit, and I've found my attention span leaving me. I have trouble reading a book or focusing on a home project long enough to get it done. How am I supposed to build back into writing if I can't think about it for more than ten minutes?
The attention span isn't the only symptom, though. It's also lazy thinking. I'm used to taking in other people's creative ideas now, and I have to remember what it's like to call up my own new ideas. Working at the library is helping a lot with that, and I wonder if I would even be considering a re-entry into writing if it weren't for the stimulation I've found there. The atmosphere nurtures open discussion of problems from all level of employees, giving me the opportunity to practice thinking of creative solutions. And looking at all those book covers has prodded my sleeping writer, the dreamer who five years ago knew she would one day see her own book on those shelves.
I think this time my approach to the business side of writing will be different. Shoot, it already has been. I'm trying new things that I wouldn't before for fear of hurting my career. But trying something new and failing doesn't hurt a career, stagnation does. Quitting does. Fear does.
But we all know this.
This time it's been a slow build, going at my own pace and trusting that I'll be at the right place at the right time for the path that is right for me.
But anyway, yesterday was awesome weather, a day not to be wasted by sitting indoors, a day to frolic in grass and flowers (of which there are neither, but our Bradford pear trees did start to bud). Gorgeous day. So what did I do? I sat indoors and got a new li'l shorty* ready to put on Smashwords.
I CAN FLY: Warren’s pickup line gets him nowhere—until he meets Edith. When he confides his power of flight, they know they’re meant to be together. Too bad not everyone sees it that way, but whatevs.
Since I only uploaded it yesterday it’s still not in the Premium Catalog in Smashwords, which only means it won’t be distributed to other online retailers yet. I manually uploaded it to Amazon this morning, but they also have a review process. So for now it’s only available on Smashwords.
This is an old story, but then again all my stories are old. I haven’t written with any kind of purpose for a couple of years. I feel like getting these old stories out there, for good or for bad, is a turning point for me. A slow awakening of my creativity, long dormant. Clearing the cobwebs. Of course it would be lovely if I got a ton of reviews and shared a million times, but that’s not why I’m self-publishing. Once I have Black Veil Angel on there, that will be the last of the work I would feel comfortable having online. It’s like I can feel new stories waiting for the older ones to be put to bed, and the only way I’ve found to do that is to publish them.
So look for Black Veil Angel to be published soon!
*I’ve been calling my short stories “li'l shorties” lately, and the novels are “wordy bastards”. Who knows why, but I like it.
It seems like everyone I know online and in real life has been sick recently, so I guess we were bound to get it. Luckily the worst of it has fallen on my days off, so I haven’t had to jump through any hoops to accommodate the doctor visit and school missed. The children are all at school now, but I won’t relax until they hop off the bus this afternoon, bright-eyed and energetic.
I still have a slight cough but overall feel quite good. Which means I probably won’t be able to sit still long enough to finish the edits on BVA. I’ll try, though, because I need to get it ready for proofreading. I don’t have anyone lined up for this yet, but I know I can’t do it. I would feel comfortable paying someone, is how much I know I can’t do it. Way too close.
So I want to finish editing, and I also want to finish reading “Name of the Wind.” What will probably happen instead is bill-paying, laundry-doing and toilet paper-buying. This is quite apparent now that I’ve tried and failed to write a long, coherent post. Apparently I can’t concentrate on words today. In fact, it’s quite tempting to just let this post sit in the drafts folder like all the other false starts, but I won’t. IF I can sit here long enough to think of a title.
Or maybe when I finally get Black Veil Angel out in the world, I’ll sell a million copies at five bucks a pop and then I’ll just be working at the library for fun.
Haha, I’m so funny.
But even figuring I won’t sell a million copies (or even a hundred) I’m still on track to publish BVA by, oh, say, March-ish. I was thinking about entering the Amazon Breakthrough Whatever, but I realize that this book is not for that contest. And so I’ll continue with my little self-publishing venture.
My main goal here is to finalize BVA in my mind. When I put Mon Petit Ami out there, it was after years of going back to it, over and over, trying to fix it. It rarely left my thoughts. I put it “under the bed” permanently four or five times, only to find it as an itch in my brain some time later. Probably every person reading this has scratched that itch once or twice.
Then when I needed a piece to experiment with on Smashwords, it seemed like the logical choice. Imperfect, yes, but fairly solid and fun. I straightened its hair bow and pushed it onstage, and you know what? The itch left me. I published it over a year ago and not once have I had the urge to edit. NOT ONCE. I rarely even think about it anymore. I’m free! I’m hopeful this will be the case with BVA as well.
And if a few people get a little enjoyment out of it, all the better.
It feels good to be writing again, even if it’s the clinical, critical kind of writing that is editing. This isn’t rewriting. I’ve rewritten enough. This is taking out stuff I’m not sure of and filling in the gaps..with, by the way, fresh and untainted writing. A good piece to stretch my legs on after all this time, and when I’m finished I might even start a new book.
The electricity is out, so this is my excuse to finally write a post. I’ve said it before, the more I have going on the less inclined I am to write about it, and I guess it’s still true.
My job at the library has its pros and cons, as every job. Working in the stacks can be lonely, shelving books tedious and dusty. But I also love knowing where everything is. I get to see all the new books as they come in, and feel a bit of pride in being the one to place a new book for the first eager hands. After reshelving the same authors over and over I know who’s popular in a hands-on way, rather than a sales-numbers way. (Looking at you, Roberts and Patterson.)
Straightening a section to perfection satisfies my need to tame chaos. When I come back around an hour later and see that my beautifully aligned books now look like a mouthful of broken teeth do I feel annoyed? Nope. I feel happy that people were there, diving in head first, and I joyfully straighten them again. For some reason I feel this especially in the teen section. I love connecting people with books.Sure, I have to wake up the occasional group of homeless people sprawled in Adult Fiction. But I love love LOVE leading a customer right to her favorite author.
I wish I could work full time, but I don’t think my body could handle shelving 40 hours a week. It’s a physically demanding job what with all the walking and bending and kneeling. And mentally demanding, what with the constant Dewey Decimal figuring.
I rarely think of the sewing factory. When I do, the memory feels more like a dream, one of those awful tedious things that lasts all night and gives me a headache. If my time at the factory served a purpose in my growth, it might have only been to remind me what it feels like to earn a full paycheck. I do miss the money. But I also know that there’s potential to move up in the library to a level I’d never reach at the factory. So it’s a better long-term investment.
The only thing I’m really worried about is my headaches. The migraines are a regular thing again, and when the city installs air fresheners in our building in a month or two, I think they’ll only get worse. (You can bet I cried when I heard that news.) I’ve a renewed determination to find out why my migraines are happening, and going back to work has actually helped to better home in on the likely problem.
I’ll try to keep updating the blog on a more regular basis, since I also have some writing news to share.