The awesome super awkward anxiety ridden first bookstore book signing!

unnamed

This Saturday I had my very first bookstore book signing and it went way differently than I expected.

First of all, it was awesome. My family, friends, and strangers being there, seeing my name on my book, purchasing it and having me sign it – it was a dream come true.

Second, it was horrifying. I had a lot of people rsvp saying they’d be there, but I was still scared I’d be sitting there alone staring into space listening to crickets. Not everyone showed up, but enough to where I was greeted and always had someone to talk to. Yay!

Third, and the one that really got me, was the realization that if I didn’t smile and talk to every single stranger I saw, I would not sell any books. People did not come up to me to see why I was sitting there or strike up a conversation. I had to do it myself. Most of them thought I worked there, even though I had a huge sign saying I was the author right next to me (with my photo!).

My problem? I have really bad social anxiety. I could never be a saleswoman, striking up a conversation with strangers at the store with an ‘are you looking for a new cell phone carrier?’ or ‘would you like a bath remodel quote?’. Every time I looked at someone entering the store, my body would begin to shake and my hands sweat, but I said hi anyway. Most time they just say hi back and walk faster. But sometimes, they slow down and take a closer look, and I give them my pitch. Sometimes it worked and they walked away with my book in their hands. Other times they congratulated me and went on their merry way.

On Sunday, I had a book signing at another bookstore, and this time I knew what I was getting into. I perfected my pitch, got myself ready to stop people who are holiday shopping, and sell some books. And I did.

Even so, I’d be happy never to have to do it again. I hate being the annoying salesperson I myself always try to avoid eye contact with. But, I understand now that it’s part of the gig, and I will have to continue on if I want to be a successful author.

I’m not dead.

20160417_164437

It’s been almost two weeks since I updated. Here is why. Since last Monday I’ve:

  1. Climbed a mountain.
  2. Walked across an erupting volcano.
  3. Swam with colorful fishes and sea turtles.
  4. Been on yellow, white, green, red, and black sand beaches.
  5. Saw how pineapples, cacao, and coffee plants grow.
  6. Learned more about Pearl Harbor.
  7. Attended a Luau.
  8. Tried poi (ew).
  9. Watched a sunrise and sunset over the ocean.
  10. Celebrated 10 years of marriage.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, my husband and I went to Hawaii for our anniversary. It was incredible and we have countless pictures to prove it.

But, vacation is over. It’s time to get back in the groove – reading and writing.

Starting Monday.

Luckily with two 14 hour plane rides, I have two books under my belt! Reviews incoming!

On writing difficulties.

file5941245785213

I’ve started my next novel, and there are several difficulties I’ve noticed that I haven’t run into before.

1. Writing in first person but not being that person. This is my first first-person novel. Obviously, the main character is not me. However, when I write ‘I’ and then write something that’s not me, it doesn’t feel right. The character was supposed to be prissy. Nope, can’t do it. Had to change her to just be an airhead.

2. Writing in present tense and keeping it that way. I’ve always written in past tense. Always. I keep finding myself using was instead of is and it’s frustrating. It’s like double the editing effort.

3. Seeing the word count makes me sad. Knowing how much left I have to go is disheartening when I feel like I’ve been writing all day / week. Yes, it’s slowly growing, but not enough to make it feel worthwhile, not right now anyway.

Anyone else?

The big transition.

I am at the point in my life where I can make a conscious decision to become either a full time writer or a full time employee and very part time writer.

I am in the midst of a job prospect in a field I’m semi-interested in, that utilizes my degree, and with higher pay than I have ever had before. Pay that would significantly benefit our lifestyle, though we do not need it to live comfortably. My husband doesn’t want me to take it because he thinks the world is a terrible place and would rather me be safe behind the doors of our house. But, he is very supportive of me (and I love him for it), and if I want to take this job he will make it work.

However, I am also in the midst of the possibility of having my first novel published, while almost being done with another (unrelated). I have at least five more mapped out and ready for writing. However, if I continue down this path, I will undoubtedly make very little money for a while (or forever), until I have readers and more things published. And for me, writing takes time. A lot more time than most because I spend most of it looking up words I know exist but can’t find in my brain.

Not to mention I don’t even know if I’m a good writer.

A part of me just wants to take this job and forget about it all.

And a part of me wants my name on something permanent. Something physical. Something mine.

Oh the dilemma of life.

I was going to be the cool mom – and then there was Minecraft.

minecraft

I always thought I’d be the cool ‘fun’ mom. I’m young, I play video games, I love superheroes. I’m the full awesome mom package! When my 1st grader came to me last year and asked for Pokemon cards I gladly passed down my collection of first gens and holographics. I was so proud when he asked for Lego Star Wars for his birthday while my youngest asked for Lego Batman.

And then there was Minecraft.

I didn’t think much of it when my son asked to download it on his iPad because the kids at school played it. So I got it for both of them (4 and 6 at the time) and it might have been the worst decision I’ve ever made.

Ok, not really, but there are (many many) times I feel that way.

I have a love-hate relationship with Minecraft. The love comes from the amount of imagination it takes to create the things I see my kids creating. The first week of having it, my 4 year old showed me a house he built. And I mean a structurally sound house, fully furnished and decorated all the way up to the wallpaper type.

Holy crap.

If I was a cartoon character my jaw would have been on the floor. I’ve seen them make fully working railroads, castles, underground mines, farms, and more.

However, I’ve also seen them spend ten minutes chasing pigs.

And that’s where the hate comes from. The time spend on that game is astronomical but because there is no real goal or mission so it can be played indefinitely.

Every parent I know whose kids play says they are obsessed with Minecraft. That obsession is the reason for 99% of tantrums for us. It’s the one thing they cry about when told they can’t play or have to stop.

It got so bad last year I took away their iPads for the entire summer because they didn’t want to go outside. We’ve found a balance of some sort now, but Minecraft still rules their conversations and (non-screen) play.

Now I remember, I was -that- kid (though I was 11 when we got our first computer). I would spend hours playing Roller-coaster Tycoon and Heroes of Might and Magic. My parents would “ground” me by kicking me outside to play.

And of course I told myself that when I have kids, I will let them play video games as much as they want to.

And now I’m eating my words from a bitter pixelated pickaxe.

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

20575425

This book was very strange. I’ve never read anything like it. I tend to stay away from non-fiction for the exact reason that this book highlighted – the world is a fucked up enough place for us to live in, you have to lose yourself in non-reality to stay sane. Or is that even considered sane? Who knows.

As someone who plays World of Warcraft, reads, and writes to escape reality this book had two sides. On the one hand, it was very personal for me.

I have been there, as Sean was, in the hospital, after being inches away from death by my own hand, and though I was not permanently disfigured (not on the outside, anyway) it has changed the way I live in ways unimaginable.

His parents acted much like mine did. The why always hovered over us like a dark cloud as they sat at my bedside in the hospital room. Except mine knew the why the same way his parents, deep down, also knew.

When my mind gets to thinking about death now and my heart beats fast and I can’t breathe I just flip a switch and think about what my characters will do next. It calms me. It keeps me sane.

On the other hand, saying I ‘enjoyed’ this book would be the wrong way to put it. I read it and I felt it. It was written really well. Even with the different timelines I very rarely got confused. The imagery was vivid. Even though it was very dated, I trusted in it. I would believe this as non-fiction if no one told me it wasn’t.

I also don’t want to read another book like it. It took me into the deep dark corners that I fight every day to stay out of. If you want to read something for fun, this isn’t it.  Would I still recommend it? Absolutely.

My week with cancer.

A month ago on a routine dentist appointment, I got a cancer screening that came back positive. They assured me that it’s not a big deal and to come back in a few weeks to get it rechecked.

When I came back, I had it re-checked by a different doctor who said the screening still shows positive and I need to get a biopsy. Even worse, according to his notes they saw a lesion at my last screening 6 months ago but waved it off as normal.

So I go home with all these thoughts in my head.

1. I’m going to die.

2. If this is cancer, I’ve had it for at least 6 months. I’m going to die.

3. Oral cancer has a 5 year survival rate. I’m going to die.

You get the picture.

I came home just early enough to put my kids in bed and break down crying to my husband. He was great and did what any spouse should do – he held me and told me I was going to be ok.

But I wasn’t ok.

I would sit down to play a game and wonder why.

I would sit down to write and think why.

Everything was a “why am I doing this if I’m going to die”.

One week later I got the all clear. Not cancer.

But that week gave me the time to think about my priorities.

And even now, nothing has changed and everything has changed.

So I will take what I can from my week with cancer and I will make it matter.