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Okay, so I’ve been playing around on Loldogs.  Guilty as charged, but after reading this post by Lisa Alber on her blog, Lisa’s Words at Play, I started thinking about self-doubt and wondering why so many writers seem to suffer from it.  Then yesterday, I spent a good part of the day reading through the final line edits on my novella, Unwilling Angel, which will be published as an e-book soon and ugh!  Self-doubt reared its ugly snout and took a huge bite out of my ass!

A little back story here, the main character in Unwillling Angel is an aspiring writer who’s struggling with writer’s block.  She’s been working on a YA book since the death of her husband two years before and she’s convinced she has to finish it.  She’s riddled with self-doubt and thinking about suicide when she sees the ghost of her favorite author, Mac McBride.  Only Mac’s not a ghost, he’s an Apprentice Angel sent by the Archangels to help her get her life straightened out.

So, in addition to Lisa’s blog entry, this book has a heroine who is filled with self-doubt, and as I was reading through the final line edits file, I found myself…questioning, deliberating, and thinking of ways I could have written it better, tighter, or even funnier.  In a word, doubting.  And even though I know it’s too late to make any major changes, that doesn’t keep me from wanting to do just that.  

The thing is…I think I could read this book, or actually, any one of the things I’ve written, a million times or more, polishing it with every read-through, and still find things I think need to be changed.  Which got me to thinking, do multi-published authors do the same thing?  Do they suffer from the self-doubt demon?  Does Stephen King?  Nora Roberts?  John Grisham?  Did Shakespeare?  Charles Dickens?  Mark Twain?  What about poets like Emily Dickinson?  e. e. cummings?  Shel Silverstein?

I can’t say for sure because this is only my fourth book–well, really my third since this one was published very briefly before and I guess I shouldn’t count it twice.  It’ll probably be a while before I know the answer to that one, if I ever do, but I have to say, I think maybe they do.  I think, like DeAnna said in the comments on Lisa’s blog, it’s probably hardwired into all authors.  One thing I do know for sure is that right now self-doubt is pretty much a constant companion for me…and I can’t imagine it will ever go away completely.

But that’s okay, I can live with that.  Especially when the self-doubt demon might just work in my favor by making me a better writer.

BTW, my book cover is up on Amazon.  Woo-hoo!  Here’s the link if you haven’t seen it yet.  Gorgeous, isn’t it?  Why not buy a copy and beat the dog-days of summer by frolicking in the Snow Shadows on Eternity Mountain with Matt and Ellen?

<Sorry, couldn’t resist that little bit of BSP!>

 

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Do you ever have one of those days when your mind can’t seem to settle on any one thing but is constantly jumping around like a jackrabbit on drugs?  Well, I’ve been going through a string of days like that.  Haven’t gotten any writing done to speak of and for the first time in years, I didn’t put up my Christmas tree on the day after Thanksgiving.  Just wasn’t in the mood.  What’s up with that?  Usually Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I count down the days for months, waiting for Thanksgiving when I can put up my tree and then dive headlong into the season.

Not happening this year and I’m not sure why, but I think perhaps it’s because I submitted my paranormal romance, Unwiling Angel, to another publisher even though I have no idea how things with the first publisher, Twilight Fantasies, are going to turn out.  I just don’t know if it was the right thing to do, but I was sick of biding my time while the owners of TFP decide what they’re going to do, so I submitted.  I didn’t try to hide anything from the new publisher and I have to tell you, I was blown away when they wrote back saying they’d like to offer me a contract.

That’s when the doubts started to set in.  I hesitated, worried that I was going to drag them into this mess with TFP and okay, I’ll admit it, also worried that my writing career would be hurt in some way if I signed the contract.  I talked to my lawyer and he advised me not to sign, but to wait a few more months until we know a little bit more about what Twilight’s going to do.  So, I wrote the new publisher and explained why I wouldn’t be signing the contract and…

the owner called me at home!  That one really knocked me for a loop.  I mean, it’s extremely flattering that they were willing to take a chance on the manuscript in the first place, but to call me at home and give me the reasons she thought it was okay for me to sign with her company?  That was, to say the least, over the top pleasing and gratifying!  It also warmed my heart because of all the books and stories I’ve written, this one is my favorite.  I really want to see it published.   Perhaps I was blinded by that, but this morning I followed my heart, signed the contract and sent it back to them.

The thing is…my mind is still worried.  Why?  Well, I’ve narrowed it down to three things:

1)  I had been thinking of putting in some extra work on the manuscript; adding about thirty-five thousand words, taking it from novella to novel length; fleshing out the love story between the heroine and the hero; and while I was at it, spicing it up a little bit.

2)  This is another new e-publisher and I’ve been burned twice–well, actually I was only singed on the first one, but the second one was a full-out, writhing-in-agony, burning-at-the-stake conflagration–and I swore I’d never take that chance again.

3)  I know several authors who will, like my lawyer, think I’ve done the wrong thing.  I’m not looking forward to sharing this news with them.

Okay, I think I hit the nail on the head with that last one–selling a book should be a happy occasion.  Right?  Oh hell, it should be a screaming-from-the-rooftop, champagne-corks-popping, day-long-happy-dance!  That’s how I felt with every book and short story I’ve sold, and the fact that this publisher is interested enough to take a chance on my novella, knowing that if TFP files for bankruptcy, the rights could be held up for unknown amounts of time in a court case, should at least edge that celebration up to a week-long event…but I’m just not feeling it right now.

Hopefully, once I announce it, my friends and fellow authors will surprise me.  I’m pretty sure my lawyer won’t, but hey, he’s a lawyer.  What can you expect?  This was a decision made from the heart and everybody knows lawyers don’t have hearts–oops!  Sorry Paul, couldn’t resist that one! 

All kidding aside, I’m hoping some day I might be able to look back on this and know following my heart was the right thing to do.

Yes, I have another song lodged in my brain.  Difference is, this song I actually like–who doesn’t like John Fogerty?  I’m one of his biggest fans, and “Deja Vu” is one of my favorite songs.  Like they used to say on “American Bandstand,” it has a good beat and you can dance to it.  That’s true, but what makes it one of my favorites are the words.  Fogerty took a Yogi-ism, something that most people would chuckle over, and built a powerful anti-war song around it…and it works.  You have to admire a man who can do that. 

So, why am I singing that particular song?  No, I’m not at war…well, maybe I am.  I just spent all day composing an email to my publisher telling them I was taking back the rights to my book.  It was a very hard thing to do and my hands are still shaking, but I know in my heart it was the right thing.  Now, if I can only convince my head and my nerves of that.  

The thing is, this publisher is in breach of contract in not just one, but several ways.  I blogged about this a few weeks ago, back when I first started thinking about asking for my rights back.  I decided at that time to give them the two weeks they asked for to straighten this whole thing out.  I was hoping for the best, but deep down I expected the worse–or maybe I was just burying my head in the sand.  Who knows?  

In the end, I got what I expected, the worse.  And now, I’ve been advised by another author who’s already filed suit against them and pulled her rights that I shouldn’t ask for my rights back, I should demand them–which is what I did–in a long email complete with an attached file which detailed all my reasons.  I’m pretty sure that’s what has my hands doing the jitterbug, I hate confrontations, even when they happen in cyber-space!

Okay, so the email’s been sent and truthfully, I’ll be very surprised if they respond.  God knows a lot of their authors have been trying to get a response out of them recently, but they seem to be ignoring all of us.  So, I’m following up the email with a certified letter and then I’m going to keep sending the email every day until I get a response.

Wish me luck.  Who knows, maybe I’ll be the writer that finally makes them sit up and take notice.  And hopefully, do what they have to do to fix this godawful mess before more authors get hurt. 

On the plus side in my life while all this has been going on, the Red Sox swept the Angels and  moved one step closer to the World Series!  Now all they have to do is win the ALCS against the Indians–whoops!  Strike that, you know how superstitious I am!  Instead, I’ll just offer my deepest gratitude to the Cleveland Indians for taking out New York.  Now I can sit back and relax while I watch Boston and Cleveland battle it out for the prize.  I won’t go so far as to say I’ll be rooting for the Indians, but if they beat us and move on to the World Series, I don’t think I’ll mind as much simply because it wasn’t the Yankees.

Also, I submitted a query to a print publisher for my paranormal romance, Snow Shadows, and they asked to see the entire manuscript–okay, strike that one too.  Arrgh!  I really need to work on ridding myself of these stupid superstitions.

Maybe that would be a good self-improvement project for taking my mind off this war I’m fighting with my publisher.   

I spent a great deal of time this past weekend on MySpace, updating my seriously outdated page.  Through sheer determination and a lot of uh-ohs,  I learned a bunch of things–how to change my background, how to add a fancy cursor, how to upload–download?–images and post them on my homepage–but the thing that stuck with me the most after all my time on there is how popular surveys seem to be on MySpace.

I don’t get that.  I mean sure, I read them, but I never fill them out  Besides, if I was going to take the time to fill out a survey, I’d probably choose one of those that promises something in return.  You know, like those that pop up on the Internet at times, offering free laptops or a gift certificate to some restaurant or even money if you’ll just take a small survey–yeah, right!

So, I’m a survey voyeur.  I read them, even think about how I would answer some of the questions, but you won’t ever see me filling one out.  It’s not that I don’t have the time…well, maybe that is the reason.  You see, I know how my brain works, and one suvey might take me hours to fill out.  I’d agonize over every question and once I posted it, the chances are very good that I’d read back over what I wrote, cringe at some of the answers and think what a boring person I really am.

I don’t need a survey to point that out to me.  I know I’m boring and I’m actually okay with that.  I’m a homebody, one who’s uncomfortable being in the spotlight–unless it’s in front of a bunch of elementary students, that never bothered me at all–and one who could very easily become a hermit.  Yes, that’s right, if I had my druthers, as my grandpa used to say, I’d cut myself off from the rest of the world without blinking an eye.

The thing is…if you’re an author, you just can’t do that.  You have to put yourself out there, you have to promote yourself and your books, and you have to be a participating member of society, even if it is just in cyberspace.

And thank God for cyberspace.  I don’t mind promoting myself or my books on the Internet, but I have a feeling next year when the two print anthologies which will include a story from me are released, I’m going to be wishing I’d stuck with ebooks.  I know I’m already dreading it, but I’m going to have to suck it up and do what needs to be done…

…I’m going to have to put on something besides jeans and a sweatshirt, go out in public and talk to real, live people–and I’m going to have to be nice to them.

Oh, horror of horrors!

My sister just forwarded an email to me entitled “When God Paints.”  It contains some nature shots that are absolutely awe-inspiring and ends with “He uses all his colors. Make it an awesome day.”  If I knew how to include it here, I would.  But, alas, being the computer moron I am, I have no idea how or what to do and besides, there’s every possibility I’d be infringing on some copyright law if I did.

Which brings me to something that’s been on my mind a lot lately; copyrights.  I have one book out now, another one coming next week–excuse me while I do a quick happy dance over that one!–and another slotted for sometime later this year–which I would probably dance about too if I could get an actual release date out of my publisher.  Arrgh!  Anyway, back to copyrights, I am going to have to get busy and list all of them with the copyright office sometime soon and I don’t have a clue how to do it.  I have the site, and I’m sure if I did a little research, it would be a painless process, and in the long run would be to my benefit, but I keep putting it off.

 I don’t know why that is.  Maybe it’s because all of my releases are in the form of ebooks instead of actual print books–and the fact that I’m even saying that pisses me off!  I hate it when I tell people I’m a published author and the conversation rolls around to publishers which always leads to the fact that my books are all ebooks.  So many people give me that “look.”   You know, the one that says, “Anyone can get a book accepted by an epublisher.  Come back and talk to me when you have a real book published.”

Well, the fact is, not everyone can get their book accepted by an epublisher.  Since my first book came out, I’ve done a bit of promoting and I’ve met quite a few people on-line who have submitted books to epublishers and haven’t been offered a contract.  I have three now, and one of them, Unwilling Angel, the one that’s coming out next week actually won first place in a writing contest.  So, you would think I’d at least be feeling a tiny little glimmer of self-confidence over that one.  But I’m not, that vicious demon of self-doubt has taken up permanent residence on my shoulder and I have to wonder how many books it will take before I’m able to knock it off.  I also have to wonder if I would be feeling the same way if my books were in print.  Who knows?

I just had a short story accepted by a print publisher for an anthology to be published later next year in print and ebook form, so I will be in print–eventally!  Will it cause a dramatic up-swing in my self-confidence?  I can’t say for sure.  The thing is, I chose to submit to epublishers instead of print publishers because I’m, um, not exactly what you might call a “people person.”  If I had to actually go out in public and meet people, well, yikes!  I’m sure I’d suffer from anxiety attacks, at the very least, possibly have a heart attack or stroke, at the very worst.  Scary!

Hey, I just found out I can use my ‘delete’ key to get rid of unwanted words, something I complained about in my first post yesterday.  Whoopee!  Sorry, WordPress!  I take back all those nasty thoughts I had about you yesterday.

Okay, back to my original topic.  Copyrights.  As soon as I get this posted, I’m going to click on the copyright site and get those suckers protected…

…yeah, right.

    

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams