Where we last left our intrepid author, she was relishing the glow of her decision, three weeks old tomorrow, to end her relationship with a house seeking her McGuinness / Pedregon Casebook suspense mysteries. Has our daring cougar heroine kept her courage? Is she second-guessing her decision? Is she deciding to call it quits on this writing life and deciding to take up quilting, instead?
**cue in organ music.**
No, I’m not taking on quilting; I’m lucky if I can handle a simple base stitch and darn clothing with holes in them. But–and I’m being honestly serious about this–either I’m due for another vacation (the one I took in December, one long month from writing, editing, or anything craft-related–did me a world of good . . .)
Or it really is time to pull the plug on this business and find something else to do?
I mean, I’m feeling crowded out. Not so much shoved aside for something better, but with many people writing nowadays, there’s more books out than anyone could possibly read. I’m shelling out dough to recoup a fraction of said spendings. I know I’m good, but so are thousands of others jockeying for the Amazon Kindle top, middle, hell, even bottom, lists these days.
And the deeper rot-gut of this writing life: pardon my language, but why the fuck must other writers be so damn nasty to another of their fellow scribes? I don’t give a rat’s ass how lousy your day’s been; someone else’s has been worse. And put your lousy day in perspective: you’re still breathing. You have your health someone else might not. You have what others might not; you might not have what others do.
You’re alive. That’s reason enough to take a step back, rather than be into your feelings like you’re a tantrum-throwing child in a store making as epic a scene as the kid possibly can do. When a kid does it, it’s admittedly annoyingly amusing, but definitely worth a laugh. When somebody full grown does it, it’s just ass-rot pathetic. Or a meds adjustment, and in which case: Cue in the cute doctors in clean white coats!
One of my biggest passions in life, apart from writing, is music. And customer service. And animals, acting in plays, singing–anything creative, pretty much. But I really get a kick out of being in public: helping people, giving them information, teaching (in my old life, I’d been an Explainer with the New York Hall of Science from 1988-1994). And lemme tell ya, I had a blast. I also worked as a concession girl for a movie theater in a small Arizona town, as a Hardware Associate for Home Depot, and went for a job as concession for Harry M. Davis for the New York Mets when Shea Stadium was not yet Citi Field.
So what’s this leading to? I freaking love interacting with the public–be it acting or transacting sales–and feed off that energy. I’m as nice as pie with them, too. Provided I’m not provoked. But of course, there’s always one or two jackasses in some capacity to see if they can needle me. Almost always never works, but then . . .
It does. Writers do, too.
I was sacked last week from an FB group called Indie Authors Group. Why? Because one writer got snippy I showed too much cheek in my “legal expertise”–that’s knowhow and insight to those of you in #RioLinda 😉–and without as so much as a how-do-you-do, I was out.
I only mentioned knowing something about copyright laws, libel suits hard to prove to win, and what writers were allowed to use and not use, and that, since I’m part of two writing orgs with legal eagles in their newsletter “Ask A Lawyer” columns–and one who happened to be a former Queensboruogh Community College prof of mine–I said as much.
Guess people don’t like cheek. Or my brand of it, anyway.
I’m not complaining (much), mind you. But writers, if you want people to be nice to you, for fuck’s sake, it won’t kill you to BE NICE BACK! We’re all damn grown folks here, so ACT LIKE IT!!!
Or suffer the consequences.
Be mean to a flight attendant, a server, a bartender, she will spit in your drink or take a lick of your food before you get it; I’ve seen it and once or twice, admit to committing my share of it as a health bar barista a decade ago. Keep being mean to a cat, a dog, a bird, you’ll never be trusted again. Rotten teacher? You’ll be out of a job more often than taking attendance. Jerk neighbor? Kids will turn your house into a condemned site come Halloween. Ever heard the expression, “Don’t piss off the chef?” That, kids. Be nice to the cook because you don’t know if that delicious New York strip done to order was on the floor a half hour before.
We’re not just consumers, we’re fellow writers. Be an asshole to one of us,or another reader, that’s the surest way to not get a book sold, as BAD word of mouth will break you as GOOD word of mouth will make you.
Have you heard the horror tales of how editors, when liquor’s loosened their ties, belts, and tongues considerably, dish the dirt on hopeful authors who were great or made themselves the east end of a westbound horse after the hopefuls have gone to bed? Oh, my daffodils, they do. And they will decide to give a contract or not based on your conduct, professionalism, tact, you having your shit together, not just acting like one who does on TV or boasting about it on paper in theory. Show a modicum of restraint to those reps of the publishing industry–agents, editors, publishers, etc.–do the same with your peers. If you can’t behave with some level of professionalism, please make space for somebody who can. Because we don’t need people like you.
Yet when did it get OK for other writers to be pills to their fellow scribes? From that single FB experience–always only takes one, doesn’t it?–I not only will never read a book of hers, but one of her fellow admins who tossed me without so much as a heads-up won’t be in my library, either. Character counts more than you being able to weave a damn good tale. There’s too many of us out here that can do that, and be as gracious as a long-awaited perfect spring day than to you nursing a perpetually nasty-ass disposition.
In case you might’ve noticed, I’m hard-hitting. Liken my candor to being in a verbal cage match. Like Donald J. Trump. We’re from the same city and we’re both Geminis. We’re embarrassingly honest. And we like it that way.
But, Missye, weren’t you gonna mention that part 2 of your sacked contract?
Yeah, I’m getting to that. Thanks for indulging me.
Even after I felt it coming, I honestly felt like a loser with a branded L in my tuckus when the reality of being cut loose from the house set in. Any relationship that ends, good or bad, is a death. And I had to properly mourn that loss. But this loss was particularly hard. Like losing a first job you didn’t much care for, or breaking up with a rotten sweetheart, in or out of the sack. Least you had that to complain about. Better to have a rotten hell than no hell at all. Right?
So said the boys in my life–my husband, Peter; my son, Jordan; my “little book brother” Jay Vincent; and my book beaux, Casper and Logan–all told me I’d done the right thing, that I can tell the stories not only how I want them to, but craft them how I want them to look. And the readers will come–for the voice, for the imagination, for the ______. Oh, and all five of the fellas told me,”Don’t settle!” emphatically and unanimously.
“You’re better than that, Mom.” (from my son Jordan, a.k.a. “Jay”).
“You got this, Starshine!” (a pep-talk from Logan).
“Keep going, Snowflake. The world needs your voice as only you can play that music you do. And I need yours, too.” (from Logan’s cousin, Casper.)
“Honey, you’re too good to quit. Don’t let that house’s mediocrity hold you down; they knew they had better than what they’re used to.” (said input my husband, Peter.)
“I can’t sleuth without you, Big Sister. Who’s gonna help me referee those McGuinness assclowns I call best friends?” (my “little book brother,” Jay Vincent Pedregon.)
And the coup’ de’ ta:
“No matter where you go, I will be there with you. And yes, child, I changed my mind having you in that place. I have better for you. Trust in Me.”–God.
Well, now. I guess I’ll keep writing.
Thank you for reading. Come on by often and keep me company.