I picked this up because I love Holly Black’s faerie stories, I was sick, too tired of looking at a screen to write more, but not willing to get lost in a novel that would take me away from my words for too long.
I liked how it was written to the sister, how the “stories” were interspersed with the narrative, and enjoyed being back in the realm of the fair folk.
However, it almost felt like a summary of Cruel Prince from Taryn’s point of view as opposed to the love/horror story apology I wanted it to be.
Every time Taryn spoke of jealousy, I felt a little of it. Not for a lover, but for the ability to be able to have enough of a fan base to write and sell a companion novella like this, one wholly dependent on readers knowing what happened in book 1 and already knowing and loving the world.
Now that I’ve admitted my jealousy to the internet, I’ll put it aside and go to sleep.
Tomorrow, I’ll get up and I go to work at my paying job and I’ll write on my breaks and at night when I should be sleeping. I’ll focus on the little step I won and keep writing for another.
This week, I attended my first two book-related events as an author: a book talk / signing at Jabberwocky Books and the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival.
For someone with lots of social anxiety, planning, committing too, and/or attending events is no small feat, but somehow, I managed to set up a launch event and sign up for a book festival.
After convincing myself that one event or another wasn’t going to happen, they did. I did my talk and signing at Jabberwoky. I sold books at the festival.
I learned a few things.
For first time authors, launch events are really for family and friends. Unless you have a fascinating non-fiction topic people want to learn about, if they don’t know who you are, they are probably not going to take time out of their Friday night to listen to you talk about your book. That’s my theory, anyway.
On the other hand, my family and friends showed. They were super excited to be there, to have me sign a copy of Power Surge, and to congratulate me. I was the only one that seemed disappointed that there weren’t any “strangers” in the audience.
It is a lot easier to stand at a podium and talk to strangers than it is to talk to people I know.
The book festival wasn’t any different than the craft fairs I attended back when I sold sea glass jewelry. A lot of people attended, but there were also a lot of vendors. People walked by the table, picked up books, said good things about them, and walked away, saying they needed to look more before buying.
90% of people who say they will or might come back do not.
I brought about fifty copies of Power Surge and sold three. I brought ten copies of Drabbledark and sold four. At craft fairs, I’d have at least fifty pieces of jewelry, and I’d sell somewhere between four and ten pieces.
I made some mistakes:
As usual, I left something I needed at home.
I arrived at the venue with just enough time to set up, but not enough time to take a breath between set up and people walking in.
I had to make three trips to the car because I brought too much and it wasn’t packed up efficiently.
These three mistakes are ones I made early in my craft fair and flea market days.
It wasn’t all a disaster. I remebered to get plenty of one dollar bills, so I could make change. I brought snacks, and ALL the pens and sharpie I needed.
Next time, I won’t let anxiety and imposter syndrome stop me from preparing. I’ll pack efficiently, and get everything ready the night before. I’ll have a larger variety of items.
How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?
My answer is yes.
Major life events can affect how frequently I write, how coherent that writing is, and sometimes, even the content of my writing.
When I’m stressed, anxious to the point where I can’t even think about going to bed at a reasonable time, writing is the only thing that keeps me going. When my spouse goes to bed, I’ll sit up at the kitchen table with the cat at my feet, frantically writing until two or three in the morning. The sentence structure and punctuation might be more off than usual, but it is also when I can actually write emotion, show characters feeling things.
With Power Surge, the book that took a decade to finish, life events and revelations about my self shaped how I finished and revised the novel. In fact, one could say it was a major life event that lead me to finish it in the first place: I finished a different book. And I finished that book because it was the only way to get through a few months of very high anxiety.
Whether it was Power Surge, or one of my yet to be published manuscripts (Song of the Forest, Like Birds, or Earth Reclaimed), my novels, and my numerous short stories, have all helped me coped with anxiety, depression, or whatever my brain throws at me.
This summer in particular, writing helped me deal with a stressful neighborhood situation. The two people who live on either side of me both have dogs. One dog is female, yellow, and about 45 pounds (the same size as my dog). Tavi, my pup, was still a baby when the yellow dog came to the neighborhood, and I swear she thinks she is his mother, at least she protects him like a mother dog would protect her puppies. To the other side of me is an 8lb ball of yapping energy.
This was not a good combination. One day, the little dog chased Tavi out of my yard and into her driveway. I thought Tavi had been tied to the trailer of the boat I was cleaning, but I had never actually clipped his 15-foot training leash to anything, so as he ran, that dragged behind him.
Tavi stopped and play bowed, possibly oblivious to little dog’s ruffled fur and bared teeth. Yellow dog charged out of her yard and down the driveway, grabbed little dog, and pullled her away from Tavi.
Little dog got hurt.
And for the next month, neighborhood tension grew as yellow dog’s and little dog’s owners passive aggressively argued over whose dog should be leashed and who was responsible for the vet bill.
Literally and figuratively, I was in the middle of it.
It was summer, so I wasn’t working. Yellow dog’s human, also a teacher, wasn’t working. Little dog’s owner, a national grid gas employee, was on strike and eventually, locked out.
In one month, I wrote a 20,000 novella and revised it three times. It wasn’t directly about what was happening in the neighborhood, but in one scene, a similar incident occurred. The main character was dealing with the same kind of mental health problems as me.
I haven’t looked at the story in a while, so I can’t confidently say whether or not it was good. But after proof reading the third draft, I remember thinking it was fantastic, and that it was the most emotional piece I had written since Power Surge.