What I'm reading: Winter and Night by S.J. Rozan
I feel like a normal person. I mean, I don't have two heads, and although I have my quirks, I don't think they put me outside the box of what "everyday" people do. Yet the reaction when I tell people I'm a writer is always one of surprise and amazement.
While at Barbara O'Neal's discussion group at the library last week, Barbara pointed out that in addition to book club members, and some 'off the street' attendees, there were also a couple of writers present, and she pointed us out. Jaws dropped.
While I was getting my library card last week, I was chatting with the librarian, who remembered me from the discussion group. I mentioned my interest in doing programs for their library, and as we chatted, a woman standing in line waiting to return her books spoke up. She said, "Am I in the presence of a real author?" My response was, "Yes," although I didn't continue with, "and it's not really such a big deal."
I never got that reaction when I said I was a teacher, which I think is a much more difficult and honorable profession. And certainly not when I was a part time assistant to a non-profit scientific organization (although when I mentioned it was a group involved in marine mammal science, I got a few questions—mostly about dolphins, about which I know very little. I was the person who entered membership data into a computer.)
We've started things rolling on fixing up the house. Our first projects include window treatments and closet systems. Through a deal with Costco, we had representatives of both companies come give us estimates. When the topic of my writing came up, both were way too impressed. Each bought a copy of WHEN DANGER CALLS, and the window lady stuck around an extra twenty minutes asking me questions about the writing process. (She didn't seem miffed that I didn't ask her what it was like to measure windows.)
Trust me. I'm not amazing. (Although, thanks, hubby, for the Mother's Day card that said I was. Somehow, I don't think you meant it in the same way.)
I hardly feel successful. I get rejection letters. I haven't sold that big 3-book deal to a major publisher. My books aren't easy to find, so unless someone is looking for me, they're not going to stumble across one of my books at the grocery store, or even at the bookstore.
It's a slow-moving, tough, and often depressing business for someone who's not even in the mid-list hierarchy. It's certainly not making me enough money to live on. For every plus, there seems to be a minus. For example, shortly after I sold WHERE DANGER HIDES (a plus), the sequel to WHEN DANGER CALLS, I got a notice from the publisher saying that When Danger Calls was being remaindered (a minus). Bottom line: they don't have room to warehouse the unsold copies, and unless I want the books, they'll be destroyed.
As the author, it's frustrating, because now, should new readers find the second book, they won't be able to pick up the first—at least not through normal channels. The print run on the book wasn't large to begin with, so I bought all the remaining copies, which are now in my garage.
But people still tell me they envy me for being able to write a book.
And those reactions are part of the reason I continue to write. Of course, the biggie is that if I'm not writing, I'm no fun to be around. Writing is like breathing, and if I've been away from it, I might not notice that I'm tense and irritable, but as soon as I get going on a story, things mellow.
And the other reason is hearing from someone who bought and read one of my books. The woman who had designed our closet system emailed me the next day. I expected it to be some detail we'd left out, or a problem with the installation schedule. However, this is what it said:
I'm just starting chapter 4 and wish I had more time to read. I got hooked right from the beginning. I'm sure I'll be calling to get more books from you when I finish this one!! Love it!
So, if you'd like your own, autographed copy, the plus on this one is for you. I'll sell them at 50% off the cover price, and that will include shipping. So, if you're looking for a top-quality, autographed hard cover romantic suspense, I've got 'em. Check out the first chapter, read the reviews on my website. If it looks like something you'd like, drop me an email telling me you saw the offer at Terry's Place for the special price. I even take Paypal.
Writers - do you think you're normal? Do people think you're special? Readers: What's your feeling about writers as opposed to other professionals?
Tomorrow, I'm proud to introduce debut paranormal suspense author, Karin Harlow. She's got a fantastic series coming out soon – L.O.S.T. – The Lost Option Special Team. You'll want to come back—especially since she's going to be giving away a special prize. Tell your friends! I'm going to be busy--my editor just sent me the first round of edits for WHERE DANGER HIDES.