Fair warning, I cuss. A lot. If you prefer your reading experience less peppered with profanity, I suggest another post, blog, and author.
Also, fair warning that I keep things real. I will not sugarcoat shit and tell you it's candy. If something was bad, I'm not going to say "this was kind of not okay." I'm gonna tell you it's bad in no uncertain terms.And now, on to the post!
Do you remember writing your first book? What were your thoughts about a career path on writing? Where are you now and how is it working out for you? If you're at the start of the journey, what are your goals?
Holy guacamole and the entire bag of chips, you people are evil! This is something I really don't like to talk about, but since I'm hoping to eventually publish a book chock-a-block with encouraging thoughts for writers including thoughts like "sometimes you have a really shitty experience, but don't give up," I'll address it.
When I wrote my first book, I very much wanted to right a wrong. I'm going to be vague about certain details because even though very few copies of this book exist, I don't want anyone to find it. It is not available in e-book form and never will be.
The lightly fictionalized version of the story goes a little bit something like this.
There was an author. We'll call her Diana Desrosiers because that sounds like a name that an author who writes paranormal romance would have. Diana was an extremely sensitive lady who had never received much understanding from the people in her life. She was struggling with undiagnosed ADHD and improperly treated PTSD. Diana didn't like herself very much. She felt like she couldn't do anything right. She made the mistake of thinking she had to have a man in her life to be complete, and she almost always chose awful men who abused her.
When she was younger, Diana really wanted to be a musician. She was not innately gifted in this area. Her parents fought against the idea of her becoming a musician. They even went so far as selling all her instruments including the piano she had loved like a member of the family. Diana's parents didn't like her husband (let's call him Ivan) very much either. In fairness to Diana's husband, he did try to be a good guy, but there was too much hurt inside both of them for things to work out right. However, they made a commitment to being good parents to their son, whom we'll call Tristin. They consider each other to be family and will always be there for each other.
Diana really wanted to mend the rift between herself, Ivan, and her parents for Tristin's sake as much as her own. So the family went to counseling together. It didn't help. The only thing Diana remembered about the sessions was her father saying that she was the least musically talented person in the family. At that point, Diana, who had been struggling to maintain her belief in herself, gave up on music altogether. She has never touched a musical instrument since that day. She was twenty-five years old then. She is now approaching sixty.
Diana didn't know what to do with herself without music. One evening, she and Ivan went to dinner at a cafe they liked. There was a palm reader there, and Diana decided she wanted a reading, hoping it might give her a sense of direction. Diana said she'd always wanted to be a musician but didn't feel very hopeful about it right now.
The palm reader said music didn't seem to be the right path for Diana, but there was a very strong indication that she could be successful with writing. This made Diana happy. She had always excelled in writing when she was in school. Except for one teacher who was a total asshole, her teachers always praised her abilities. She wrote stories to help her feel better when she was being bullied at school, which was most of the time. Diana thanked the palm reader. Her path was clear now.
Diana wrote a little of this and a little of that, but she didn't have a clear goal in mind. Most of her writing was rather depressive because she was extremely depressed. She submitted her writing to a few publications, but it wasn't what they were looking for.
One night Diana had a very vivid dream, and she decided she'd write a book about a lonely author in a bad marriage who falls in love with a seductive, reluctant vampire. Diana and Ivan's marriage wasn't going very well by this point, and she wanted to take her mind off how lousy her life felt. We'll call Diana's author character Amanda. Amanda's husband is Leland and the seductive vampire is Samir. We'll call her book The Beauty Within.
Diana's story wasn't a bad story, but she didn't quite know what to do next. She didn't have all the amazing tools available to indie authors today. She didn't know how to query an agent or where to submit her work. She was distracted from her book for a time as her marriage to Ivan fell apart and she had to go back to work to support herself and Tristin.
For a long time, Diana only wrote fan fiction. She had pretty well given up on the idea of becoming a published author. By the way, fan fiction is real writing. Ornery Owl is not one of those snobs who derides fan fiction as a lesser form of writing. Sure there is some garbage fan fiction out there, but there are also some garbage books published by large publishing houses. There is also some very well-written fan fiction that kicks the crap out of certain popular books that Ornery Owl is too polite to name. There is some great fan fiction that kicks the hell out of a certain movie that Ornery Owl is not too polite to name, that being the trash fire known as Alien 3.
Sorry, I digress. Let us return to the story of Diana the Hopeful Author.
Diana had always been very interested in the spirit world and practices such as channeling. One of her maternal great-grandfathers often saw ghosts, including people who were close to death but had not released their material bonds yet. Diana had only seen one ghost, but she sometimes had precognitive dreams and sometimes sensed things she shouldn't have been able to know but turned out to be true. Diana was empathic and had a sensitive soul.
One day Diana learned about a young man in the underground music scene who had committed suicide by putting a shotgun to his head. We'll call him Niklas. The more she read about Niklas, the more she felt the way his death was treated as "something cool" was wrong. She reached out to Niklas and, it would seem, contacted him. She wanted to help him tell his story. She felt that she could revive The Beauty Within and incorporate it with Niklas' story, hoping that when people read the story they would see Niklas as a real person and not as the "icon of darkness" they'd made him into.
Although Diana's heart was in the right place, the way she went about enacting her goal was erroneous. She should not have used Niklas' real name or the real circumstances of his death when she wrote the story. She should not have revealed that she believed she had been in contact with his spirit. Diana received death threats from certain fans of the extreme metal genre. She had female fans of Niklas contacting her to ask her to put them in touch with him. The things some of these ladies said could make even the spirit of the late John C. Holmes blush. Ornery Owl will not repeat them here.
Diana also made the mistake of becoming involved on a personal level with some of the book's fans. These were troubled people and Diana's self-esteem was already fragile. To add diarrhea icing to the manure cake, Diana had spent thousands of dollars on a POD publisher only to pull the book from production because she could no longer deal with the death threats, lechery, and frenemies made from releasing this badly-advised book.
Diana did not think she would ever write again and for a long time, she didn't. Then she slid back into writing fan fiction.
Diana once thought she would become a FAMOUS AUTHOR and would salvage the reputation of a troubled young man who didn't deserve to remain infamous following his unfortunate suicide. At this point, she is not trying to become a FAMOUS AUTHOR. She is happy enough to be just an author. She has self-published a few of her stories on Amazon.
Ornery Owl Says:
Opening your greatest points of vulnerability to a large audience can be costly. It nearly cost me not only my craft but my life. It took me years to get over the pain inflicted by this experience.
~Ornery Owl Has Spoken~
Here's what I was listening to while I crafted this post. No, Odysee, I will never be That Asshole who enables autoplay.
Here's the link in case you can't see the player.