I’m a firm believer that when something stops being fun–when you stop enjoying it–its time to walk away. If its not longer something you feel passionate about or something that feeds your soul, its not doing you any good. I’m not one of those fake it and grin until you make it kind of people. And that is why I will no longer be posting makeup and skincare item reviews on this blog.
As you’ve probably noticed, my posting schedule took a bit slide downhill over the past few months. I was having a really hard time finding things I cared enough to try for you guys. I was beauty burnt out. I just wasn’t excited about anything anymore. Sure, I’ve found a product here and there that I loved… But I just wasn’t running to the computer to share it with you guys anymore. Sitting down to write a review felt more like a chore; I just didn’t have anything new to say. I found myself getting so much more joy out of writing the cookbook cook-through posts than I did yet another lip gloss review… Which made me realize it was time to hang up my beauty blogger hat, step back, and take a long, hard (giggity) look at what would make me happy again.
It was then I realized that the answer had been staring me in the face all along…
I’m a writer and damn near always have been. I was that imaginative kid who had lots of imaginary friends (the favorite I remember being a triceratops), and wrote my first “full-length” three hundred-odd handwritten fantasy novel in the sixth grade. (Of course it was mostly a terribly plagiarized version of a Forgotten Realms book I had just read but–hey; at that age, I think the “didn’t know no better” clause applied.) I still have a large chunk of that terrible, hard to read (both in plot and handwriting) first novel tucked away in a binder, a reminder that even then I knew there was one thing I wanted to do with my life: write.
Over the years since, I’ve written quite a few novels and fantasy had always been my genre. Its what I have read from a young age and what will always be nearest and dearest to my heart. Even though the kids in my class always taunted me for “reading the dictionary” when I hauled out Dragonlance novels at recess (or even the mammoth tome “The Deed of Paksenarrion,” which, to be fair, was damn near the size of a dictionary), I always had a book in my hand. Dragons and magic and strange, fantastical races were just where it was at for me.
So, its no surprise that I tried my hand at my own fantasy novels when I first started writing. A dear friend and I created our own fantasy world and wrote many tales in it… But none ever saw the light of day. Of course the first few–written in middle and high school–just weren’t up to snuff, given our young ages and the hard work we had to do to improve our writing styles. Even the “final” novel I set in that world and spent many painstaking years crafting wasn’t something I would ever have considered for print. It was a big, bloated 150k+ monster, riddled with flowery prose and too many characters doing too many things… And I sort of stopped writing for a while at that point, having just “wasted” nine or so years on something that I thought (and still do sort-of kind-of believe) was beyond fixing.
I hit a point where I thought I would never see my dream realized. I would never be a writer.
Until, one night as I was lying in bed telling myself stories to help me fall asleep (What? Doesn’t everyone do that?), a new voice popped into my head. She was brash, she was bold, she was sarcastic and wittily irreverent in a way that resonated deep within me. Only problem? She lived in modern times, in a modern world… Only she happened to have some faery blood that gave her a great–and incredibly inconvenient–power. This Caitlin Moore–the focus character of my first urban fantasy novel “Iron”–was born.
The next day, I had a full outline down–something I had never completed so quickly or completely previously. I knew where I was going with this story almost instinctively and I banged out a first draft like the wind in the year following. Where I had always hemmed and hawed; struggled and backtracked in my previous fantasy novels, this one flew from my fingertips onto the page. I laughed, I cried; I felt a deep kinship with my new MC in ways I never had previously. I finally felt like I had found my story; like I had found the song the writer inside me needed to sing.
When I completed “Iron,” I spent a good month or so editing it into shape. When I felt I had a readable draft–with my heart in my throat–I sent out copies to a circle of readers, to get their thoughts. I was amazed at the good feedback I got–everyone enjoyed the story and wanted to read the next one ASAP. I was elated…
Until I remember what a stone cold bitch the world of traditional publishing is. For a new writer, in a niche genre like urban fantasy (which, I believe gets a bad wrap from so many heroines boinking their way through the paranormal kingdom already on the shelves), it was going to be hard for me to break in. I tried anyway, submitting to agents on and off over yet another year (during which I outlined and started on the follow up novel). No one bit. I grew discouraged. I didn’t think I would ever get to share Caitlin and her story with the world..
…Until an epiphany hit me just last week.
While I am a diehard lover of traditional, printed books (and a self-admitted book sniffer), I have embraced the digital world of ebooks wholeheartedly. I am an avid reader, sometimes reading two books in a week. My husband–also a big reader–and I share a tiny one-bedroom. Even though we read most of the same books (most predominately fantasy and dystopian fiction, with a dabbling of sci-fi now and then), this does not leave a lot of room for books. We have one bookshelf and it is packed with graphic novels and cookbooks–two things that just need to be read in print, in our opinion. We just don’t have the real estate in our home for fiction novels too.
So, we both jumped on the Kindle bandwagon ages ago and have never looked back. We love the Kindle and we upgrade to the newer editions of it frequently. (Well, I do. my poor Husband just gets my hand-me-down electronics.) Its convenient (we can read the same book at the same time without buying two copies) and allows our massive collection (approaching 750 books over the past 4 years) to be at our fingertips at any time. Hands down, we love our ereaders for reading fiction.
So, as I was lying in bed having the existential crisis regarding my not feeling passionate about beauty blogging any longer, but now knowing where to get my creative outlet if not for blogging, I realized… I would never buy my own book off a shelf at Barnes n’ Noble. And I don’t mean that in the whiny “oh woe is me!” way; I mean honestly and truly. I wouldn’t buy it–or any other book. I don’t buy printed fiction anymore; plain and simple. If a book isn’t available for Kindle download, I’m not reading it until it is.
In that moment, I realized I was being an incredibly stogy ass. I had had that image in my head for so many years–well over two decades–of holding my pretty little mass market printed baby in my hands, that I had never truly considering other options for it. Even though some people had mentioned ebook publishing, I had pretty much dismissed it out of hand, still stuck on that utopian picture in my mind… And that was just plain stupid.
I do not live a traditional lifestyle by any means. I am a loud-and-foul mouthed big girl who has strong opinions and isn’t afraid to voice them; who is unashamed of being a die-hard geek (Comic Con tickets secured again this year, bitches!) and who has a lightly checkered past that would cause most truly traditional people to look at me askance. So why was I so set on going the “traditional” route when it came to my future in writing?
Thus, the plan to release “Iron” as an ebook was born.
Now, don’t get me wrong; this isn’t something that will happen overnight. Its been months since I’ve looked at the draft as it currently stands, and I’m pretty sure–now that I’ve put some distance between myself and it–I will be horrified with what I find when I crack open that document later on this evening. A final re-write and another round of editing are most certainly in my future. After that comes the fun of finding a cover artist (which is in the works), formatting the manuscript it to be uploaded on Kindle and Nook, marketing than damn thing so that it stands a hope in hell of standing out among the tons of books out there… And so on and so forth. There are probably a dozen little nuances about self-publishing digitally that I am blithely unaware of but will soon become intimately acquainted with.
Long and hard (giggity) the path ahead of me may be, but its a journey I am deeply excited about and am currently undaunted by.
Over the next few weeks (maybe even months; I really have no idea how long it will take me to shape “Iron” up and finally get it uploaded for sale), I’d like to take you all along with me on the journey to self-publication. I don’t know if I will have as regular a posting schedule as I did when beauty blogging–as I don’t know when and how things will happen just yet–but I hope to have something to share with you at least once or twice a week, even if its just griping over the process and the snaffus I’m sure will arise. Maybe I’ll even share excerpts and snippets with you as I go. Who knows! (It could even be a boat! … Points to whoever gets that reference.)
If you wish to follow me in my new incarnation as a writer, please check out my new Facebook page here and hit the little “like” button to make my day. Right now it is a work in progress and very rough, but I hope to spruce it up in the days to come. I also am going to do my darndest to use Twitter more fully as well. Its a social network that I have never really gotten the hang of (I’m too long-winded for so few characters!) but I’m gonna try; I promise. You can also continue to follow me via email and WordPress updates, by using the features in the sidebar to the right.
As of now, I have removed most my old beauty related posts. The reviews for products I truly enjoyed and that I still feel strongly about, I will leave up for a bit for people to continue to enjoy, but from here on in, I will likely only be talking about the road that I take to get “Iron” into digital print and the sequels to come beyond that. Oh! And the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking cookbook cook-through posts. Those will continue quarterly because… Well, I just love them!
So, as I set forth on this new path–this new adventure–into the world of self-publishing and ebooks and urban fantasy book luv, I hope some of you will stay with me. If not, I understand and thank you for your readership over the past two years. It was a fun ride, but I think the one ahead is an even bigger one, and it’s calling my name…