I guess I could be called a cat person. I have always loved cats. They're soft, can be cuddly (when they choose), and they have an elegance that I have always admired. Most of the animal books I read, growing up were about cats. (Well, except during my horse phase--then I loved horses!)
|Actually I still like horses, too|
(Express Clydedale Farm, Yukon, OK)
I grew up with cats. My mother had a purebred Siamese cat in Alaska that absolutely despised me, probably because I was too young to treat her like the goddess she felt she was. Ming Sue Khan became the holy grail as far as I was concerned. I wanted that cat to like me more than anything! As she and I grew older, I learned how to treat royalty properly and she allowed me into her realm. After her death, we didn't have any cats until Dad retired and bought a 'gentleman's' ranch.
There was Tom, who mainly lived outside, (except when I let him sneak in during the cold nights of winter. Never mind that there was a barn where he could sleep very warm and cozy.) There were others, but I can't remember their names.
When I was in Wyoming, living on my own, I had a cat I named Chewie (he was large and furry!). He followed me into marriage. Then began a procession of cats who held pieces of our hearts, because my husband is a pet person, too. We always had a dog or two, because he's a dog person, but Dan also shared my love for the aloof felines who wandered into our lives.
|Diego, an all-around phenomenal cat|
|Our daughter with Melvin. |
Currently, we have two black cats. The first one, Scamp, was (and still is) quite put out with our acquisition of Zorro, but he hasn't figured out how to make Zorro believe he's the alpha cat. I don't think he ever will. BTW black cats are NOT bad luck (except for me when I have to get up in the middle of the night!) The inventor of nightlights must have owned a black cat.
Just for laughs, I did a little video about being a cat person (not a cat lady!!) I tried to add it to my blog post, but I guess it's too long. Ah, well...
I recently wrote a small essay about my characters. I have touched on that a time or two, but this time I was writing a bit of a why and realized it went all the way back to when I was a young reader....
When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. I read fiction and non-fiction. When I read fiction, I gravitated toward speculative fiction, but also read historical, contemporary, classics, kids stories (not as much choice as there is now!), even a little romance.
Recently, I wondered what characters stood out and why. I remember Podkayne of Mars, Starman Jones, Hosteen Storm (the Beastmaster), Menolly (from Pern), Bilbo Baggins, Ramona, Socks, Tarzan, and others. The why? I liked Podkayne because she kept fighting, even during overwhelming odds, Starman Jones? He was at the bottom of the heap and persevered to the top, without stepping on anyone. Hosteen had lost everything except his animal companions, but he carved a new life, made new friends. Menolly, Bilbo, Ramona, even Socks the cat, had various qualities of kindness, loyalty, willingness to learn and change, willingness to sacrifice for their friends. They were brave when they needed to be--all-around great people.
Many times in my growing up years, book characters were more desirable than real-life friends. Since I moved around a lot, that was often even more important.
When I started writing, I gravitated toward those kinds of character traits. Are my characters perfect? No, certainly not. But do they exhibit a desire to overcome cruddy circumstances, or overwhelming odds? Yes! Do I want them to exhibit kindness, understanding, tolerance, as well as smarts and really cool abilities? Yes. My cat character, TB, (Realms of the Cat), includes all kinds of animals in his circle of friends and allies, including dogs and crows, as well as people. Diego (Moon Crusher) learns to live with aliens of all sorts after he is cruelly kidnapped by aliens. Corree (Mendel Experiment), is determined to see both sides of many issues as she tries to save her family and friends. Noki loses so much, but he is still willing to learn, and grow. Sadly he has to adapt to things he'd much rather not adapt to. Even in my upcoming tall-tale, Billy Bob is physically perfect, but he uses his strength to help his neighbors and his kindness to help a bully become a friend.
I didn't receive any advice, probably because each person's journey is individual. Still, I did receive an answer to my question--is it worth it? A tiny little voice kept telling me all day that it was worth it. The idea of pulling away from what I've been doing for three decades seemed like a betrayal of the talent I had been given by the Master. He is there to overcome my mistakes, my insecurities, and help me along the path.
It also helped that a couple of friends, one old and one new, saw one of my books at a party last night and were totally excited. The new friend won the book and her look of gratitude was balm to my heart. Okay, so I am not quite ready to grind away at the classes, courses, pundits, and how-to's for a few days. (Going to watch some of my grands for a week.) Still, I am a writer and I am going to keep on working as long as the creativity continues.
Would still like to hear from anyone with similar experiences....
In the meantime, read! Doesn't matter whose book, or what book, just read and enjoy!
I have been wondering lately if all of this book writing/marketing/pitching, etc. is really worth it. I open my mail and see long lists of emails about market research, using the latest plotting tool, creating the right mindset (I am beginning to hate that word, since I apparently don't have the right mindset--my royalties suck) to sell my books. There are emails where folks offer their services, (hooray, they'll get my books out there in front of the readers), for only a few hundred dollars each. Email lists, social media ads, school visits, trailers, researching, and the list goes on and on.
I learned that I need to schedule my time, stick to the schedule, sell myself... There is even a workshop for author introverts! All for a price, mind you. And I have paid some of those prices, only to feel overwhelmed and underachieving. I understand that there are so many different ways to make money in this business. But when I get all gung ho, and then do or say something that stomps on someone else's toes or writing psyche, I begin anew to wonder--is all this worth it?
Writing is a part of my life. It has been for thirty years. I love creating stories. I crank out about a 1000 words a day. That part's easy.
When I was writing fan-fiction, I dreamed of being a published author. Now I dream of writing fiction unfettered by the need for income, or reviews, or ads. I could probably make do on my retirement, but I am afraid I need the income my book writing would bring. Except it isn't. So here I am, stuck by my desires, temperament, and insecurities.
Have any of the rest of you felt this way? How did you overcome it?
Please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Onions are coming up in the grow boxes, along with radishes and a few carrots. A few tomatoes are growing on my planter tomatoes and we are under a freeze warning for the next two nights.
Say what?! Okay, maybe it's spring but remember that ground hog? He's still in witness protection. Well, the tomatoes are in planters so I rolled the planters into the garage. I think I pulled something getting them in the wagon. At least they are safe for the next couple of days. Things like the cute little blue spruce have to fend for themselves, but then it's from Colorado, so it should be okay.
Anyway, on a different subject, I got the ARC (advanced reader copy) of Billy Bob Flybottom and I am so excited! The illustrations are adorable and I can't wait for publication day. If you want to read an advance copy, email me and I can send you a link to Net Galley. email@example.com All I ask is that you leave a review there.
I hope you enjoy the story. It's an early chapter book--an Appalachian tall tale. (And out of my own demented mind!) It also won a couple of awards--3rd place RPLA, 1st place Oklahoma City Writers, Honorable Mention in Oklahoma Writers Federation. Billy Bob is being published by Doodle and Peck Publishers out of Yukon, OK. The illustrations are by David Barrow.
I got back from Tennessee last week. It was a wonderful trip connecting with author pals and old friends. Things have certainly changed in a year, though.