The sun rises or the sun sets…you can’t really tell unless you know the direction you are looking (east or west) or the photographer labels the picture as one or the other. In other words, it’s all in how YOU want to see it.
I’ve deemed this my last post pertaining to my debut novel..My Prison Without Bars. I’m not sure if it’s a sunrise, or sunset…the beginning of a new journey, or the end of my travels to my destination. I’ve spent every spare moment for the last two years, crying, laughing, raging, dreaming, aching–terrified and living the creation and metamorphosis of my secrets into the book that they have become. It’s been exhausting to say the least. However, the real exhaustion has come from the marketing of this beast. Writing the book was the easy part in relation to getting it out there…and read.
I knew from the beginning, this would be a long and difficult road to navigate. Nothing in this process has been easy for me. Writing this book didn’t put forth the fruit I had hoped for…peace, absolution, and healing; conversely, it has wreaked havoc on some of my personal relationships. It has awakened a rage in me that is akin to a pilot light that has had a slow burn for years, but has suddenly been given a burst of fuel to ignite and burn hotter. It has shown me the short side of people…those that wish to speak their minds yet live in a world where others must be politically correct (quite frankly, the two ideals are incompatible). It has brought out the mean and spiteful side of some, and the prejudicial and judgmental side of others. All in all, based on this, not very positive attributes to associate with one’s heart.
I submitted my cover in a contest last month…my cover is something I’m most proud of since I designed it myself. In my humble opinion, it tells the story before you ever open the book…to me, that’s powerful. Anyway, I received notice yesterday of the contest results. Out of sixty covers submitted, mine came in at fifty-eight…second to last, and the judges put a comment under my cover that read, “really creeped me out.” Well, to say I was devastated is an understatement. I moped around the house being useless and depressed, suffering in a pity party for one that really wasn’t productive or serving any purpose. It was debilitating and exhausting.
I finally got my bearings, dried my eyes and began to put things into perspective. Being a southern girl and raised with manners, I sat down and wrote a “thank you” email to the site (a very prominent blog I read and swear by, for Indie publishing information) telling them that the mere fact that they had let me enter had made me the grand prize winner, that I had had so many doors slammed in my face where this book was concerned, that I had in fact won, before anyone had judged my cover. Tearfully, I sent the email, knowing what I had written was proper, but not really the way I felt. My heart was hurt.
I’m not really sure if it takes a tremendous amount of courage or stupidity to write your thoughts, dreams, nightmares and fantasies down on paper, bundle them up in a tidy package between a front and back cover, then submit them for all the world to read and judge. The jury is still out on that one for me…
I knew when I started this journey that it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew it would ruffle feathers, cause discourse in my family, and probably not be well received by readers in general. So why do it…you ask? Good question!
Within two days of launching my book, I had four friend requests on Facebook…followed by private messages from those four telling me of their horrific encounters. As the days went on, so did the friend requests and the messages. I cried for each of these victims while asking God to give me words of wisdom and comfort to share with them. I have no idea if I helped…but God heard their cries. I’ve had several teenagers tell me of their own nightmares…some of them have never told a soul about the pain, suffering and damage they endured at the hands of their abuser. Now that’s powerful!
I’ve been shown love and respect by many of my co-workers…people I was sure I would never be able to look directly in the eyes…ever again.
I created and published a website that started out with two followers…my teenage daughters! After five months of sporadic blogging to say the least, I have thirty-nine subscribers to my blog! I love each and every one of you! (Jordan…Chandler…it’s OK if you want to UN-subscribe now…I love you both!)
I’ve met and befriended some of the most amazing people on this earth…my online family. Here, in front of this computer screen, in pajamas or scrubs, sweats and a t-shirt with bed-head and my pop-bottle glasses on, these wonderful people comfort and support me, advise and direct me, or just sit and chat because they are lonely like me…or sense that I need a friend.
I experienced my first guest blog by a courageous man I am so proud to call my friend…Jason Bourne. His blog is The Author’s Roundtable.
I had two wonderful book signings attended by the most loving, supportive friends a girl could have.
I was invited to speak at a book club, to readers brave enough to explore the dark and graphic world I described in my novel…my world not so very long ago.
I was blown away when my friend Robbie Cox~Author of Circle of Justice (Free download on Smashwords) and Reaping the Harvest told me he was going to review my book on his blog The Mess That Is Me. Well…he didn’t just review my book in a blurb on his sidebar. His entire blog featured my book and his review.
So…in looking at the pros and cons of this journey, which outweighs the other? Hard to say. With all the bad, good seeps in and embraces me. Conversely, just when I think things couldn’t get any better, something bad comes along and gives me a jolt of reality. Funny….isn’t that life?
Now what? Now, I put my book on the virtual shelf and let it do what it will. My new conundrum is overcoming my fear of writing fiction…something I’m dying to do. I wrote and published something I know…something I’m an expert in, something tangible and real inside of me. Fiction is there too, but I’m going to have to hone it, mold it, work it into something real and tangible. I hope and pray I can do it…well.
So…sunrise or sunset?
A door slams…another opens. I just hope I have the testicular fortitude to turn the knob, open the door, and march through.
My hand is on the knob…