Girl Scout Isolation
It’s the official release day of the new book, so I should be chomping at the bit with excitement but I’m not. I’m in a sort of blah place. Call it postpartum, Lol!
Seriously though, it’s probably a response to the anxiety. The scariest words in the English language are “I’m reading your book.” Why? It’s not because I don’t think I’m a good writer (I’m actually pretty egotistical), but because I just *know* that no one else will like it. They’ll think it’s stupid, or corny, or boring, or they’ll find some plot hole all nine of us missed.
It doesn’t help that I feel like a black sheep of literature. Though my series is a fantasy-horror hybrid, neither genre will look at it because it has vampires. Fantasy groups generally say “no paranormal” in no uncertain terms, and horror groups tend to say “when you write something real let us know”. There are tons of vampire authors out there, but they’re writing romance and Erotica. You know, the ones with shirtless men on the covers and blurbs about how she makes his knees weak and his blood burn? Yeah, no quotes like that in my books. BUT because my protagonist is a woman who does fall in love with a vampire, the tiny handful of male vampire authors, who are also not writing shirtless vampire fiction, won’t take me seriously, either. I’m never eligible for awards, it’s hard to find promotions, and even more impossible to get reviews. I won’t lie when I say this is part of why I’m ending the series with the next book. I have a couple of stand-alones planned that feature male protagonists, so maybe then the non-romance-vampire people will let me hang out with them without ridiculing me.
I don’t know. I guess I just end up uncomfortable and feeling like I don’t fit in – like usual. I’ve had that problem since I was three. I remember girl scout camp that year. (My mom was a leader so my brother and I got put in the toddler day camp). It was miserable. The teenagers running the group decided we had lice because my brother had sand in his hair and so kept scratching his head. Despite the adults funding no lice, and the problem being solved after a bath, we still had to stay away from the other kids all week; we couldn’t sit with them or play with them, or even eat with them. There was one teenage boy who was helping out and I remember he was nice to us and ate with us and such, but it only did so much. At the time, all I wanted was to be like the other kids, to fit in and get to play with them, and sit on the blanket for storytime and on and on. And it’s something I’ve never managed. No matter how hard I try, I can never fit in. And yeah, I know, that’s supposed to be some great thing I should embrace and go “rah rah” about, but now and then I get tired of it. Like when I see a review group with all caps NO VAMPIRES or a fantasy award with the words “shifters accepted, but no vampires”, or a horror anthology taking zombies and werewolves but “not vampires”. It’s like I’m three years old again, sitting on that separate blanket because my characters aren’t good enough, my literary world isn’t good enough. Sure, my writing might be good, but the subject matter is just not good enough. “Go write something real and come back.” Or “go join the romance groups” – except, I won’t win any awards there, or make thousands of sales because it is just not romance enough. (I’ve actually had comments complaining about it being represented to them as a romance when it wasn’t, and the farther in the series you go, the less like a romance it is.) Which leaves me, and my books, in no man’s land.
I don’t know. I just feel whiny. I have one short story left to write and then the Thirteen Guests collection will be done. Maybe I can channel my whininess into it. I’ll have to see.
Anyway, it’s for a.m. so I’m going to bed. Have a sitting with the girl scouts kind of day.
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WOW…I have been SOOOOOO anti-social! I didn’t realize you’d put out another book! Congrats!!! I understand where you’re coming from…and yet I can’t POSSIBLY understand because I’m still in the putzing stage, and you are PUBLISHED!!! This is a HUGE accomplishment. I know that vampires are “not cool,” but I still like them. Plus, I know that the journey of writing a story, of going from point A to point B, doesn’t pay the bills, and yet there’s something magical and unique about creating worlds out of nothing but the thoughts vying for attention inside your head. Not everyone can do this.
*As a side note, I recently finished reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I don’t usually like reading end of the world stories, but there were a couple of characters in the book that resonated with me, especially the character Miranda. Throughout the book, Miranda is writing/drawing a graphic novel. She doesn’t have a perfect life, but she has her book. She can’t imagine anyone wanting to read her book, and so she’s VERY private about it. Miranda lives inside her drawings, inside her head.
Periodically…the characters in Station Eleven also quote a line from Star Trek, which the geek in me LOVES: “Survival is insufficient.” I don’t know why I’m sharing this with you (and your readers) but I needed to hear this. I needed to read this. I’ve been feeling like I’m living a mediocre existence, like all I do is work, and clean, and get sucked into the day-to-day stuff. I needed affirmation that my writing means SOMETHING, even if it doesn’t seem like it right now. I needed a reminder that the act of creating is important, that it’s not always about dollars. Your stories are important, whether you’re writing about vampires…or turtles…or something completely unrelated. 🙂
Take Care! Juli