It Begins

I've said many times that I'm going to have to develop a much thicker skin if I want to be an author (which I do). I'm about as thin-skinned as a jellyfish right now. Must develop the thickness of a rhino if I want to avoid developing a critical spirit of my own when people decide they don't like my work. Yes, even before they've even read more than a few sentences. Haven't I, after all, read a few paragraphs of a story before and absolutely hated it? Haven't I been overly critical at times about other authors' writing styles....or lack of proper grammar? Yes, and yes.

There will be people who think my plot line trite and overdone. There will be people who think my book poorly written (although I hope not). There will be people--I can guarantee--who think my book too preachy, or complain about it being "Christian" (never mind the fact I plan to make it ABUNDANTLY clear what my book is and what it is not).

I think sometimes any excitement from friends or people who know me to read what I've written goes straight to my head, and I get "the big head". I try not to let this happen, of course, but it invariably does. So that makes it all the more difficult when there are those who have--already--expressed disdain. Before a word is even in print, and the only things actively representing my writing are this blog and the teaser posters I've made.

I need to remind myself that I am not a professional. I've never done this before. Any of it. Not the book. Not the publishing. Not the cover creation. And certainly not the teaser posters. A graphic artist I am not--unfortunately, artistic creativity in that sense has completely eluded me. And for crying out loud, a blog is at times nothing more than a glorified diary for grownups.

While I make every effort to find something positive to say in the reviews of even the books I dislike the most, I realize not everyone embraces this policy.

I will not wake up tomorrow with the skin of a rhino. This I know. I also know that it's a process. Just as I need to guard myself from getting "the big head" when I receive the positive reviews, I also need to guard myself from getting too critical or defensive when I don't. And maybe, just maybe, those negative reviews will have something to say that truly helps me in the long run.


Social Media Promoting

I've created a Facebook page and a Pinterest board just for the promotion of 'The Reunion'. As of now, I'm shooting for a mid-June book release.

Anyway, a fellow author in a Christian authors' group gave me the idea of creating teaser posters to share on social media as a means of promoting the book prior to release. Great idea! So far, I've created eleven posters, two of which have gone "live". I'm going to do another one or two in the next couple days and then restrict them to once a week until the book release. Hopefully, it'll help generate interest.

Teaser Posters

A friend in an online group for Christian writers gave me the idea to create "teaser posters" to promote the coming release of my book. Here are the posters:

Number One:

Number Two:

Number Three:

Number Four:

Number Five:

Number Six:

Number Seven:

Number Eight:

Number Nine:

Number Ten:

Number Eleven:

Number Twelve:

Number Thirteen:

Number Fourteen:

Number Fifteen:

Number Sixteen:

Number Seventeen:

Number Eighteen:

Number Nineteen:

Number Twenty: (and the most important)

Number Twenty-one:

Number Twenty-two:


Culture Stress

I remember the day not long after our arrival in Costa Rica where I had a complete emotional meltdown (yes, there's a blog entry about that). Then during language school, there were days where I had had enough of Spanish. I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want to speak it. I didn't want to read it. While those days didn't occur very often, unfortunately for me when they did, it was always within the first 10 minutes of my first class, which was grammar.

Again, I've had my moments here in Mexico (most notably during the house-hunting process. There is, again, a blog entry about that, but it was never posted. Some things I write and choose not to share with everyone), but they have, again, thankfully been few and far between.

And then there's today.

This morning, I am unaccountably weepy, irritable, and hyper sensitive. The littlest things set me off into bouts of tears or anger: the front gate left open, clutter, the kids' squabbles, a friendly "how are you doing?", the realization that I mistook color-safe bleach for liquid detergent.

I can't remember the last time I had a sound, full night's sleep.

And Spanish. Oy. Some days I feel like I'm making real progress. This weekend, however, it felt like everything I was trying to communicate might as well have been in French for all that was understood by my listeners. And those trying to speak to me might as well have been speaking in French, as little as I understood them. I am heartily tired of not being understood and not understanding what's said to me in return. I've been told that the only way for this to get better is to spend more time listening and speaking the language. But when you're discouraged or experiencing culture stress, the last thing you want to do is hear or speak it more. And so you avoid it like the plague, which only makes it that much harder to speak and understand. It's a vicious, vicious circle.

I truly do love living in Mexico. I love the people, most of the food (as long as it's not too spicy), and the culture. There are far, far, far more things I love about life here than I dislike (mostly the driving). But I find myself increasingly homesick, looking forward to seeing friends and family and having the chance to become reacquainted with familiar places.

I did a little research on culture stress. All of the above are symptoms of this emotional state. I'm not exactly sure how to make it better. I plan to spend time in prayer, listening to the sounds and music that soothe me and raise my spirit, and rest. I definitely covet your prayers in the next few days especially.