Seriously, calling your books your babies can lead to a whole lot of trouble. Mommas can get downright feral to protect their babies, but as an author, you have to understand all those sticks and stones and words…well, they’re unlikely to hurt your book.
They can stop your book from going far though. Sometimes with reviews and sometimes because word is going around that you’re a BBA (badly behaving author). Even worse is when, right from the get go, you get a great big ‘No thank you’ from the people who matter most.
Readers, right? Well, no, actually. Those people who rejected your baby were business people and they eyed that pretty little book the way judges look at toddlers prancing around the stage at pageants.
It could be style, it could be a whole lot of things, but those ‘judges’ decided your book didn’t have what they were looking for. So naturally, you check out what they’re looking for and lose your damn mind!
Yes, I’ve totally had those moments. I read Twilight and did some serious damage grinding my teeth because my book had been rejected by that publisher. The book isn’t to my taste, but I try not to diss other people’s reading choices. I did hate on it a hell of a lot because ‘WTF! You chose sparkling vamps over my book? REALLY???’
I still think the book would have worked better with fairies, but…*shrug*
Anyway, the point is, it took a few more books getting rejected and taking my career in my own hands to figure out that the judges you’re trying to impress aren’t sitting behind a desk reading manuscript after manuscript until their eyes bleed and they start thinking of aspiring authors as if they're door to door vacuum salespeople. (Insert sucking pun).
The judges are the readers. Point final.
And what do readers want? Well, they know it when they see it. So you start off by dressing your baby pretty. Nope, you don’t have to have her all dolled up like a mini version of ‘Pretty Woman’. Unless that’s the kinda story you’re selling. ;)
Of course, your little darling has to be all polished, which means going through the same stages you would with a traditional publisher. Crit partners and beta readers and editors galore! You have to put your best work out there!
In my case, I got to that point, and now I’m a career author, full time and everything. Which is awesome! It’s everything I dreamed of!
But when it came to publishing my precious young adult? The one that wasn’t Twilight?
Yep, I forgot all about the ‘It’s not my baby’ and I held it tight because I didn’t think I could bear anyone saying it was ugly. I’m damn proud of all my books, I love each and every one and the characters are all special to me. But Eternal Neverland is where I started. Where the dream began. I see it as…
My precious was actually the most fitting.
So where do I go from here? Well, I’m a professional, so I polished that damn book up, gave it a kiss on the forehead, and sent it out the door. And I’m not looking at it like my baby. No, ma’am.
Here’s an excerpt if you want to check it out ;) :
**Special Sale price of $0.99 for pre-order and release week. Price will go up to $3.99 after release**
Arm around her waist, hand curved behind her neck, Charlie pulled her against him. “I’ll make it quick. This will help with the pain.”
Her head fell back and he lowered his mouth to her throat. A light press and the sharp edge of his fangs cut her skin. Saliva seeped into the wound, burning around and inside like an injection of acid. She whimpered and stiffened. Charlie shifted and bit down deeper.
Body growing numb, pain receded and the slight pull became pleasant. Her fingers found their way into his hair and the texture seemed to flow from her calloused fingertips to fill her hands, drape around her arms and finally cover every inch of her flesh. In some part of her mind she knew his hair hadn’t changed, but every nerve carried the sensation of it, as though keyed to focus on the luscious feeling from without than the life being drained from within.
In the distance, a faint scuffing sound pulled her lazily from the soothing pleasure. She spotted a little head, peeking out of an alley. Cold washed over her, waking her fully. She mouthed the word ‘Run’. Charlie’s mouth left her neck as he followed her gaze.
His attention shifting to her little brother brought memories to play; mother bent over daddy’s ravaged body, a hushed sound in the backyard, soft footsteps on the thick grass that framed the in-ground pool. She could still see the water, clean and clear, glowing from the aqua lamps that shifted colors from tranquil blues to serene greens. The approaching figures showed in the reflection of the water, but nowhere else. Still, they could feel the predators closing in. Mother had screamed, ‘Get Toby! Keep him safe!’ and stifling sobs with her hands, Helena had run to the nursery and taken Toby from his crib. He was too heavy to carry and too small to keep up and She almost abandoned him twice on the way to the neighbor’s house. The names she’d called the frightened two year old in an attempt to get him to move faster still disgusted her, but she’d gotten him to safety. The neighbors had met them on their lawn and rushed them into the house, the wife calling the cops, the husband manning the barricaded door with his gun.
The cops came and took her and Toby to the hospital, and after hours of questions, left her to the doctors. Who left her alone to rest.
She’d considered sneaking out of her room to find her brother, but the feeling of being watched overcame the urge and lured her to the window. She’d snapped the curtain aside and seen the creature, retreating into the well-lit courtyard, weaving through the night staff smokers who didn’t seem to see him. She couldn’t say for sure it had been Charlie that night, but she blamed him for putting her there, blamed him for the doctors trying to drug her when she told the story of the invisible people, and blamed him for leaving her no choice but to escape the hospital without Toby.
With Charlie distracted, she could escape again. But she wouldn’t. This time, she would do as her mother had asked. She would keep Toby safe.
Energy surged through her. Axel reached out and she twisted away. Charlie grabbed her arm before she could fall. She clenched her fist and swung it up toward his face with all the strength she had left. Her knuckles hit his mouth and a fang slit through his bottom lip.
For a while, he just stared at her. Droplets of blood plopped from his chin onto her lips. Spilled into her mouth, coppery and thick, sweet and tempting her to lick it all to save herself. She swallowed, sure she needed more, but she was afraid if she moved he’d snap her in two.
He laughed, making her jump as he used the back of his hand to swipe the rest of the blood from the already healing gash. “Like I said. Cute.”
Axel reached for her again and she let her weight drop. Charlie wouldn’t let her go. She didn’t have the strength to pull away so she screamed. All wrong. Toby’s presence had thrown her off. Her plans had failed. She was going to die.
The cold tip of Charlie’s nose skimmed the edge of her ear as he whispered. “Don’t give up so easy, kid. The cavalry has arrived.”
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