I am new at this writing scene. I haven’t been published long and navigating the waters is scary. Especially if you try to do it alone. It is also a day-to-day learn-as-you-go deal. When I first started writing, I didn’t know it would be this hard. IT IS!!!! Writing is actually the easiest part. (For some, writing is hard, and to those I would say, “be prepared!”) I sit at my Mac, touch the keys, and let the story fall out. Easy. (Sometimes.) After the story is finished, it becomes a whole other deal. Editing is LONG!!! Or it should be. I go over a story several times and somehow I miss all kinds of things. I think the brain automatically “corrects” words, so when you read “he” and it was supposed to read “the” you can miss it easily. THAT IS WHY MORE THAN ONE SET OF EYES IS GOOD! People use Beta readers. I had one for “Jock”. (This is the term I see being used.) My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! was written Jan-Mar 2012. Edited in April and submitted by May 11th. It wasn’t published until 12/31/12… You can see how long this process takes. For-ev-er!!! So, for newer authors than myself, be aware of the wait. Waiting is NOT FUN! The best thing to do is write another story while you are waiting to hear about the one you submitted. That is why I wrote Jock. (or MRJWC, as I like to abbreviate it.) I was WAITING to hear back about The Cost of Loving. (TCOL)
TCOL was submitted three times and turned down three times. Most publishers will not give you concrete reasons. My educated guess, now that I’ve had a really great editor go over it for me, was that the manuscript (MS) had too many problems. Grammar was just the tip of it. (I SUCK at grammar.) There were mistakes in information. There were unbelievable parts that if left in would probably turn people off. No necessarily the readers who are just looking for a good story, but the readers who think about it fully and stop to analyze information. I had too many things that would pull the reader OUT of the story. So, I’m rewriting it. (Parts of it.)
BUT, am I giving up on the story? HECK NO! The first reason is that I love it! As R.B. told me, she is team Matt! Hahhaa. Personally I think I’m team Darian, and if I quit now, no one will ever know what happens “next” to these guys. Will it ALL be believable? Maybe, maybe not. BUT THIS IS FICTION. Right? I’m not writing a biography. Not everything in WLINE happened to me personally. I drew from SOME personal experiences, but that was how the story took shape. But my stories are only meant to try and reflect reality, and FEEL real. In my experience, real life is stranger than fiction, so if I wrote REAL experiences then people probably wouldn’t believe me anyway.
I see myself as an artist. I feel stories. Most of the time they come on like a hurricane and overtake me until I can get them out! Lena believes in me, and is helping me learn how to be a good writer. This has been a year with a LOT of distractions though. (2012) I’m hoping that 2013 will be my year to get organized and write EVERY DAY! (I say that, but I didn’t write yesterday.) Writing and editing is key to getting stories finished, submitted, published…. AND, when rejected, SELF published! LOL
Self-publishing is even harder because you have to do everything yourself! I looked for help. Enny is helping me. She designed GREAT covers for me. Ones I hope to USE this year!!! TCOL turned out great, but I think the cover for book three is my favorite of all! (Love, Trust, and Learning to Live Again is book 3 in the Unconditional Love series and it is Darian’s story.) I will be writing LTLTA (Love Trust Learnig to Live…) in 2013!! I have big plans for this year!!
Another thing I am learning, is to keep my mouth shut. I OFTEN saw things that can be taken several ways. I never intend on hurting people, but I do. For that I’m sorry. I try to avoid talking about myself. I talk about my writing. Sometimes, about things I like, eating and cooking for example. Yet, when I talk about me, it isn’t about ME, it’s just things. I am stepping out and saying a few things here…
I have a hard time trusting people. A few years ago, I lost ALL my friends. Has that ever happened to you? It’s not a fun experience. I WISH TCOL was published because many of my experiences went into MATT DIXON’s character. Anyway… It started with a nasty e-mail from someone I went to church with saying something about “finding out about me.” (I am NOT going into details about my lifestyle, my family, my political views or anything else here. Let’s JUST stick to the writing side of things.) When this person said that, I thought, “What the hell could they possibly mean?” I keep to myself. I don’t really do anything “wrong”—right? Turns out this person stalked me online and found some things I had written about homosexuality. (And it wasn't even posted under my real name which make this creepier!) As we all know, the “church” and “homosexuality” do not mix easily in the same sentence. The pastor came to my house! No details, just consider that it was one of the worst experiences of my life. After that, people I had known for years didn’t talk to me. All this started with something I wrote that the church didn’t agree with. I was not caught at a gay bar. I didn’t make out with the pastor’s son. I wasn’t featured on Xtube. (Examples here.) It was one tiny thing standing up for gay rights that started a landslide. Like a sneeze on the top of a mountain covered in snow. ONE little thing that completely ruined my life. Or so I thought…
WLINE came out of that pain. (When Love is Not Enough) I had no one. I’ve never felt so alone. So I wrote about suicide and talked to a therapist. It was difficult, but I can look back now and see how necessary it was. I am a person that DOES BELIEVE things happen for a reason! EVERY THING. I wrote WLINE. I left that church and found a new one. I made friends! I made really good friends that know me inside and out and still want to BE my friends. AND I AM NOT ALWAYS EASY TO GET ALONG WITH!! Cole Reid is a “cynical fatalist” because one of my friends called ME THAT! I am very cynical! I see the glass half-empty. I am dour, argumentative, and frankly – a jerk sometimes. We all have our flaws, these are mine. But I know who I am.
I MAY say things that hurt people. Maybe even readers. I do not intend to, but I’m stupid. I talk smack without thinking first. I ask for grace. Please. I spent a lot of years being somewhat two-faced. Not in the sense that I’d be nice to you in person and bash you when you turned your back. That’s not me. But I tried to get people to like me by being what they wanted to see. I kept my opinions to themselves if they were not acceptable in a certain crowd. Where did that get me? I lost all my friends anyway! That was 2010. An awful year! I don’t do that anymore. I’m just me. I speak my mind, I act like I want to, I don’t hide my opinion. At least for the most part. My therapist told me I DON’T have to open up to EVERYONE ALL THE TIME. She said to take it one person at a time. There ARE people who will not agree with me. There are people who will NOT like me. I can’t change that. What I’m learning is that it’s okay. It’s okay to be liked for who I am, and not liked for the same reason. At least people are getting a clear picture.
ONLINE, I do NOT give all the details. Why? I don’t have to. My personal life is just that- personal. Little by little, if you read my books, and blogs, you are going to put all the pieces together for yourself. I AM pretty open, even if I try not to be. I TRY hard not to talk to people about my life because I’ve already had stalkers. PEOPLE that lived in my hometown who could have just drove to my house and asked me stuff. Why would I want stalkers that come from the other side of the world through the internet. It makes me paranoid to think about it. For months, I would feel like people were watching me in the grocery store to see what I bought and give their approval or not. I don’t want to ever feel like that again.
I LOVE that people e-mail me. Readers etc… I DO! I answer them right away. But what I’d say is that if you write me all the time, and I don’t respond all the time, I’m just being cautious because I’m scared. I can’t have the “homosexual police” showing up at my house again. It’s fu***ing scary! I’m human. I get scared.
If you are going to love me or hate me, I want it to be focused on my writing. I blog. You’ll get to know what I think and feel. I tend to be transparent which is not always good. My therapist thinks I need to work on that. I am. What I strive to be is straightforward. I am what I am.
Things I need to learn include NOT talking about reviews or people who mention something bad. I have to let things slide. Not everyone is “team Wade”. Some, just can’t stand my POV shifts, my time jumps, my _______ (fill in the blank.) I am aware of this. BUT DON’T STOP TELLING ME! Even bad reviews, I DO read. I take into consideration everything people write. Because then, when I sit down to write, maybe something someone hated will be altered in the next book.
I am a work in progress. TWO novels is just the beginning. Tell me when I suck! Call me out on my crap. I’ll listen even if I don’t like it. Jock has WAY LESS pov shifts than WLINE!! I’m learning. And… sex without a condom… apparently not a good idea in a story, even if it feels more likely to happen in real life. OKAY, I get that! Like I said, I’m learning. I thrive on feedback, even negative feedback. Also, when I started writing, it was sci-fi. So don't think that one bittersweet theme, and one comedy is the sum of me. I'm just getting started! ;)
Of course, POSITIVE feedback is best J I’m a praise junkie. Surely, you already knew that!
All for now. Over and out.
~And please don’t call me Shirley
Side notes: as of 8:34 am on 1/3/13, Jock is # 4 on Dreamspinner’s Best sellers http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/products_bestsellers.php
And #20 on Amazon’s best seller list of gay fiction! http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/10169/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_b_2_5_last