I have promised myself that this morning, I would only spend a few short moments on my blog. The past two months of my life have been quite the ride. I self-pubbed my first book through Amazon, Kindle, Smashwords and Createspace, adjusting formulas and formats along the way to make each vendor happy. I’ve created a Facebook Fanpage, a Twitter Account and this blog. The first book, Letters To Young Chong goes through tiny face lifts here and there. There’s time invested in self-promo, which I truly think is the hardest part of this process. Then there’s the second book, Tomato Stakes. Every single day, I try to put a little love into that baby to coax it on it’s way to greatness and giggles. This craziness is sealed with the chaos that my pets have decided it’s appropriate to wake me up at midnight, two a.m. and four a.m. I can’t remember the last time I slept straight through the night.
So this morning I said, “Let’s be kind to ourselves. Let’s have some coffee. Let’s get some chores done and give ourselves a little break today.” My dog totally agreed. She loves coffee and being a slacker.
I can’t go without mentioning my first book club attendance last night went quite well. I was invited to be a guest at the Books, Booze and Bitchin’ Book Club of Exmore, Virginia that is hosted by Chelsea Doepp. This month, they read my book. I was ecstatic when I heard, honored when I found out that it was actually drawn from the hat, and completely nauseated in the final moments before my arrival.
“What if they say they hated my book and it was a complete waste of their time?”
The beau responded with, “I don’t think that is how it is going to go at all.”
“Why, did you pay them?”
“Threats work just as well.”
I glare with my toothbrush hanging out of my mouth.
“You are going to do just fine.”
It took a while for the nerves to wear off after my arrival. I’ve never done well as the center of attention. That’s actually one of my favorite things about being a writer. The anonymity. Really, how many people could stand in line at the grocery store behind a famous author and ever realize who it was? I’ll be completely honest, that Stephen King really is the only face I would know… and that’s because watching the films made of his books is like a game of Where’s Waldo. Where will that Stephen King pop up? And I love that. Authors who do well can still run by the store, pick up a box of tampons and never worry that someone will post on Facebook, “OMG, E.L. James and I get our period at the SAME TIME!” On the other hand, I bet I can easily google what Justin Beiber had for breakfast last Tuesday.
I enter the house and I’m trying not to totally freak out. I know for sure that one of the book club goers loved my book. We have discussed it every time we see each other. She always tells me that she never thought there was someone out there that had experienced so many of the things that she had. She is my crutch. I have to believe that if everyone else hated it, I still have the one groupie to get me through the night.
One phrase I heard over and over again was that everyone felt that it really took guts/balls to do what I have done. As a memoir, I put it all out there. The whole nitty gritty. It’s one thing to discuss with your closet friend the intimate details of your life, but to share those stories with an audience of the whole world? Do I have regrets of that, no. And anytime that I hear a little voice in the back of my head whispering, ‘what have you done?’, I think of my great grandfather. I attribute much of my longwinded storytelling abilities to Mervin. Towards the end of his life, he decided he wanted to put together a collection of stories from his life. He had already wrote two books, Waterfowl Hunting On The Currituck Sound and The Outer Banks Of Dare & Currituck Sound. His son, my grandfather, helped him collect these stories on video. He told the stories that he wanted generartions to know and love for years to come. Unfortunately, he left out a lot of good parts. My grandfather urged him to tell the whole story. Mervin wouldn’t budge though. Some of the parts that really made those stories were either illegal when they happened or possibly embarrasing to those involved. So basically, he left out a lot of the punch lines. I was not going to pull a Mervin with my book.
It was asked, “Is there anyone that you don’t want to read your book?” My grandparents. If I can keep them believing that this thing will only be available on e-readers for all of time I will be one happy camper. The abusive ex. I’m sure at some point he will find out and I’m sure his reaction is not going to be pleasant, not that any of his ever were.
They wondered if I would be concerned about the double standard of sexual behavior between men and women. I’m sure there are people who are going to want to say awful things about me because I discuss openly the things that are only whispered over drinks. If the opportunity to call me a skank is what draws them into the book, well I’ll take readers how ever I can get them. Jokes on the nay-sayers, hmm?
What really impressed me though is how everyone discussed that they could relate to so many of the stories. So many people have experienced a love that never gets to live itself out, a boyfriend who is heavy handed, a guy that comes and goes on a whim, the overly nice guy.
I left with my writing batteries recharged. I felt a boost of confidence that this dream is possible. I have a story and others want to know it, they want to love it, they want to relate to it. I’m going to keep pushing this wagon as hard as she will go until the wheels fall off, because I’m not going anywhere. Letters To Young Chong is here to stay. The world better be ready to embrace it.
* The book club served food mentioned from my memoir as a theme. This is fried ice cream from El Maguey. If you have not experienced this and you are in driving distance, you better go get yourself one.