Hoping It’s Really Mine

“You live in a dream; you manufacture illusions.”

-Tennessee Williams

As the days march on from that first one where I clicked “publish” on Kindle Direct Publishing, it feels less and less real. I thought it would be the opposite—the more time that passed since publishing Rachel and the Mighty Arm that Built Egypt, I thought it would feel more real, more concrete, more natural, more like, “Of course I wrote a book. I’m a writer.” But instead I feel more detached, more like it was a fluke, more like it was a mistake, more like it’s not real.

ME_Ellison_K

I just clicked to enlarge the image of my cover on Goodreads. “Wow,” I thought, “that looks like a cool book.” Not my cool book. Just a book someone wrote. Me? Logically I know that I did, but I’m back to feeling that paralyzing fear of failure, that writing books is too big… even though I’ve already done it.

I’ve got partial outlines and an absurd amount of notes on the two sequels I have planned for Rachel and the Mighty Arm that Built Egypt. I’ve also got three partially written non-fiction books that I meant to have finished by October.

That’s not going to happen now.

Forgive me the cliché, but… life has gotten in the way. My health has been awful all summer. With the stall in my writing due to my health, the seed of self-doubt has had time and room to grow again. I’m well practiced in self-doubt, self-sabotage, and low self-esteem. The struggle is not deciding I’m a failure just because I’ve had a setback.

This is me just being real.

I really do love my book, too. And I know I’ve got so many more books in me, but right now I’m feeling stuck. There are so many other stressors in life and there’s my poor health. I want to pretend like all of the world doesn’t exist and wake up feeling well and just write book after book. Unfortunately the stress of life adversely effects my already poor health. So I’m just struggling through each day. Not even opening up a word document to work on my books. Writing a blog post once a month. Hardly posting on any social media. Wondering when/if I’ll finish what I’ve said I would. Feeling like a fake and a failure. Staring at the beautiful cover of my published book. Hoping it’s really mine.

Five Stars and Recommendations

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.

-Anonymous

I haven’t posted a blog for a while, and  I’ve been feeling terribly guilty about it, so I figured now was as good a time as any to post. Today I got another five star review on amazon. It fills me with giddy anticipation every time I see someone new has rated my book. I am simultaneously excited and horrifically nauseated as I scroll down to see what my latest reader has to say. Fortunately, so far folks are really enjoying my book. And I have no problem admitting that makes this author feel extremely validated.

5 stars

I know reviews aren’t everything. We all have different tastes in books. Heck, we have different reasons for reading books. Rachel and the Mighty Arm that Built Egypt might not be your ideal. But it thrills me to know that so far folks like it.

My hope is Rachel and the Mighty Arm that Built Egypt becomes that book that maybe not everyone has heard of yet but you recommend to friends and family. Do you have those books? Or is that just me? I try to find those special books that might not have gone supernova mainstream yet and share them with my loved ones who have similar tastes.

Lately I’ve been recommending almost anything by Charlie N. Holmberg. I generally start with The Paper Magician, but most recently I picked up a copy of The Fifth Doll as a gift for a cousin. I think the thing that makes a great book is the writer’s voice, and Charlie’s writer voice is clear and easy to follow. Her stories are fresh and creative as well.

I’ve also gifted and recommended more than one copy of the first of the Island of Fog books by Keith Robinson (and gotten folks hooked on the series, thank you very much). I had the treat to beta read for Keith on two of the books in the series. Such a fun set of books, especially for those of us who love mythical creatures and daring adventures.

For fellow Disney nuts, I wholeheartedly recommend The Disneyland Quest and its sequels. Author Matt Ainsworth knows Disneyland top to bottom and his descriptions make you feel like you’re in the park.

And then there’s The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson. I’ve lost count of how many loved ones with whom I’ve shared that delightful book. It’s such a fun fantasy, and I read somewhere it was one of the books which inspired J.K. Rowling to write Harry Potter.

Thank you, readers, for the wonderful, thoughtful reviews and support! And if my book becomes one of those books you share and recommend with the folks most special to you, thank you for that, as well.

This is My Radio Voice

I apologize for my terrible interview skills.

-Heath Ledger

I did a radio interview last week on Live at 5 with Aaron on 1240 KSUE in Northern California. Aaron had me on his show to talk about my book, Rachel and the Mighty Arm that Built Egypt. I was excited to learn Aaron was reading my book. Every time I hear someone is reading my book I can’t help but be pleasantly surprised. I guess there’s a part of me that still doesn’t fully comprehend folks are reading something I created. I’m sure I’ll get over that eventually. Hopefully.

Liveat5withAaron

It was nice of Aaron to invite me to appear on his show. I only hesitated for a second before agreeing to it. Knowing that appearing on the radio is excellent free advertising for my book, it would have been foolish to turn him down. But still there are both definite advantages and disadvantages to doing a radio interview.

Advantages to doing a radio interview:

  • No one can see you and your pointy heard (wait, am I the only one with a pointy head?)
  • Or see how when you’re excited about something your eyebrows shoot up so high drag queens might get jealous (wait, is that also just me?)
  • It doesn’t matter what you wear
  • The radio doesn’t add 10 lbs

Disadvantages to doing a radio interview:

  • You must completely keep people’s attention with your voice
  • You can’t distract folks with your charming smile
  • How much you say “uh” and “um” becomes painfully obvious
  • If you don’t like your voice, then it sucks to be you

Most people don’t like the sound of their own voice recorded. They’re usually surprised by how high pitched it sounds. I actually don’t mind mine. But, that’s probably because I’m not at all surprised by how high pitched my voice sounds. I have a very high pitch voice (I got it from my mom. Thanks, mom!). And having had a speech impediment as a kid and having gone through speech therapy to correct that, combined with my background in theatre I have a very crisp exact voice, as well. So I sound like a cartoon character. Quite literally. I might have missed my calling. Oh well. (Disney, if you’re reading this… Call me!)

Despite not hating my voice I was absurdly nervous about doing a radio interview. We drove up to Susanville (where the radio station is) and my little bird heart was beating a million miles a minute during the entirety of our journey. While sitting in the studio my palms were sweating so bad I had to wipe them on my jeans more than once. Despite the nerves I was feeling, my family members who listened to the interview assured me I only sounded nervous at the very beginning of the interview. They said they could tell I relaxed part way through. The truth is I never relaxed. I’m not too good at relaxing in general. Put me in a position where I have to answer questions about my book and I’m also super aware of how long I’m pausing and how often I’m saying “uh” and “um” and yeah… there is no relaxing.

I think it still went well though. But don’t trust me… you be the judge. You can check out my entire interview on YouTube. Regardless of whether or not it went well, it was another learning experience. I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone a lot since publishing Rachel and the Mighty Arm that Built Egypt. Perhaps eventually all these things that feel so uncomfortable—like radio appearances and self-promotion—will feel like normal non scary things. Maybe. Hopefully. Probably not. Like I said, I tend to be a nervous person.

Bauming it for My Readers

“Oh indeed!” exclaimed the King. Then he turned to his servants and said: “Please take General Crinkle to the torture chamber. There you will kindly slice him into thin slices. Afterward you may feed him to the seven-headed dogs.”

L. Frank Baum, The Emerald City of Oz

I read somewhere that L. Frank Baum used ideas from fans when writing the sequels to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He wrote more than a dozen full length Oz books (and a few other Oz short stories). If you’ve taken that literary journey into Oz, then you know with each progressive sequel Oz got weirder and weirder. It’s a little unorthodox to work so hard to please your individual fans, but I think there is something beautiful and special about it, too. Can you imagine being a kid and writing a letter to your favorite author with an idea and actually seeing it in the next book? Continue reading

Across the Twitterverse

“Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee, tweedle-lee-dee-dee.

Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee, tweedle-lee-dee-dee.

Tweedle-lee-dee-dee-dee, tweedle-lee-dee-dee.

Tweet.

Tweet.

Tweet, Tweet.”

Bobby Day, Rockin’ Robin

I just celebrated my one month anniversary on Twitter, or as I like to call it—my Twitterversary. I’m not exactly sure how you might measure success on Twitter, but I’ll share some of my Twitterccomplishments.

In a month’s time I have:

  • Tweeted over 400 times.
  • Amassed over 1100 followers.
  • Had my tweets liked by ProWritingAid, Chipotle, the Minnesota Public Radio Raccoon (#mprraccoon), and Mark Hamill.

Yes, that’s right. The Mark Hamill. Chipotle and ProWritingAid didn’t just like my posts, they also tweeted me back. As you can see, I’ve had some pretty spectacular moments for my first month on Twitter. Continue reading