New Year, New Attitude

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1411963974-800pxNothing says “You stink at this!” like the year-end stats from WordPress. Yikes!

Now it’s true, the focus remained on my writing this year, finding outlets for shorter works, and querying my novel. I’ve enjoyed moderate success, though not the ultimate prize. Yet. Unfortunately, I’m not great at spreading myself around, writing wise. I have a terrier avatar for a reason. I gnaw on one thing until…well you get the picture. So expending energy on blogging has gone right to the bottom of my list.

Uncomfortably (for an introvert), it’s getting more obvious every year that taking an active role in one’s writing career via promotion and visibility might be a make or break proposition. Not news, I know, just an idea I never wanted to face. In fact, the thought makes me cringe. But the old publishing paradigms are vanishing. The path to having a novel “published” might be traditional (with paper books, ebooks, advances, promo), or ebook only (tiny, or no advances, limited promo), via self-publishing, or some hybrid plan. According to this somewhat depressing article by Publishing Trends, 5 Predictions For Trade Publishing in 2016, traditional publishing might be battening down the hatches even tighter, relying even more heavily on established authors, even bringing back old, popular characters for another go-round. Which means fewer slots for unproven authors.

I’m not ready to concede to going this alone, but there’s a limit to how reclusive I can be in this day and age. Those who can’t stomach the stage lights will linger in the dark, right? Yes, that’s right. Get over it, E.

But self-talk and stats are vastly different things. I can cheerlead myself into believing I need to get “out there,” but seeing a stat like, “The busiest day of your blogging year was 15 views”…UGH! How embarrassing is that?

So here’s hoping humiliation is enough to kick me into gear, especially because I’m going to have some fun news to report in the next few months. That’ll have to do it, because there’s no way I’m clicking that button to let WordPress make my miserable stats public. Hell no! I’m not that much of a masochist.

To you, my precious few—thus all the more prized—readers, I wish a Happy, Healthy, and Fulfilling 2016!

 

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Connecting. Unequivocally

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Reading on steps

Photo by Garry Knight. Creative Commons license 2.0

I have a few happy memories of my childhood that involve my mom.

I never gave it much thought. I didn’t know I was supposed to have more. I knew only one way of how mothers and daughters worked. I didn’t know our way was not the norm.

Until one spring day a few years ago I had a meltdown.  Something pretty insignificant happened and I lost it. Started crying and couldn’t stop. I got in the car and I drove and drove through a heavy rain, sobbing loud and ugly, until I couldn’t breathe or see. I don’t cry, so this scared me, but it siphoned off…something. Temporarily.

Then it happened again a month later. I didn’t know I’d still been dragging my entrails through the dirt until my body said, “Enough!” I sought help…and got it.

So why am I scrawling this personal revelation on my blog? It’s because of a novel. By some accident (or not) of fate, I recently happened upon a 2007 book, Dirty by Megan Hart.** I recognized the main character Elle’s plight right away, and her mother, too. Reading Elle’s story made me tense with discomfort, made my own psychology bubble to the surface. Made me sick and worried. Not for me, but for Elle. I kept turning the pages to see if she’d be okay, and when Elle’s brother said she should see someone because “…Talking about it helps. Puts things in perspective. Proves I’m not crazy…” the truth of it stole my breath. I wanted to reach through the little electronic pad I read on and shake Elle, say “Listen to your brother! He knows!”

I was on edge about every decision Elle made, the sorts of so-called choices we daughters of difficult mothers make to establish a modicum of control over our own lives. I was completely, unequivocally engaged with her.

Some people say “write for yourself.” Not me. I  write in quest of a bond, a connection. Yes, for entertainment, too, but even then, the be-all, end-all is the emotional tie, creating deeper feelings, four dimensional reading experiences. Total immersion.

Books have so much power. As a reader, I want to be submerged. As a writer, I want to be your only source of oxygen.

I’ve read thousands of books, and still I’m surprised—and giddy—when it happens to me so thoroughly.

 

**Dirty is an erotic romance, not necessarily for every reader.