Posted by: innerpilgrimage | June 30, 2011

Well, That’s A Novel Idea!

      I feel silly in a way, knowing that my three-book trilogy is probably about to be a four-book trilogy. The final book is huge, still.

      It appears that all those years of reading 1,200+ page paperbacks ended up putting me in position to do it myself. To be honest? I probably would have done better to break the second and third books into two books apiece. No matter, however. Considering less than 100 people have read my books (including friends)? I accept that it’s really only a self-care thing anyway.
      As this is an anonymous journal, I’m not putting down the titles of anything I wrote or published. My husband, M—, thinks I should publicize the books through here. If this weren’t a journal for my journey from the bondage of addiction? Sure. Or maybe not. My novels really are for me. Publishing them is less about becoming a world-famous author by hook or by crook and more about getting them out there as a commitment to myself and others who I told I would publish for.
      Speaking of unpublished tomes, I recently finished Don’t Hex with Texas by Shanna Swendson. Since I don’t particularly like movies any more, I tend to get my entertainment from books. I really do like light reads because I can get a whole series for the cost of two tickets and a concession-stand visit, they entertain me more than what has come out in the theater, and it takes about as long to read them as it is to sit through said film. Plus, I can put them down if I need to run an errand or whatever.
      Why I mention this book (besides the fact I just finished reading it after reading the previous three: Enchanted, Inc., Once Upon Stilettos (In the early 90s, I actually owned a pair of high-gloss metallic ruby-red stilettos–though mine were sans enchantment), and Damsel Under Stress. These are the only published titles of the five-book series she had planned. And Book Five will not be published unless enough demand rises that a publisher wants to pick it up. This is sad, because the fun box of mixed Pop-Rocks-and-dark-chocolate-coated caramel ice-cream bonbons that is the “Hex in the City” series (Okay, it’s officially the Katie Chandler Series, but it’s magic and cynical snarkiness and cute single men and some great character development) is worth reading if (1) one likes their chick lit heroines cynical, (2) one likes their chick lit heroines to be cynical for silly reasons, and (3) one really wants light entertainment instead of disturbed Swedish Lolita fantasies or adolescent vamporn.
      Oh, and to the OAers? I apologize for the super-descriptive food reference up there, and I hope you didn’t trigger hard enough to go hit the local supermarket to make them. As a food addict, I speak in food, still. This book has the razzle of magic (Pop Rocks), the bittersweet cynical main character (dark chocolate coating), and a dose of fantasy romantic heroes that would be too cloyingly sweet (caramel ice cream) without the magic action and the bitter-humoured heroine (dark chocolate to balance the super-sweet). Though I’m not a fan of traditional romances, I really like the snarky chick lit style. If there isn’t a forehead slamming on a dining table and a long-suffering “Why me?” whimper from the main character (or something like it)? I tend to avoid “romance” books.
      Actually, I avoid romance books entirely. It once was described very well on the NaNoWriMo boards (it’s not there any more–this was about 5 years ago). To paraphrase? Chick lit makes the woman the main character; a romance novel makes the relationship the main character. I prefer individual journeys and growth more than having two perfect people struggle to put a dysfunctional relationship together and have it work . . . even though as a love addict, I can predict where these things will go totally awry.
      Romance novels encourage the powerlessness of love addicts, feeding the lie that a swarthy billionaire lothario does not care that Peggy Jean is carrying Bubba Cletus’s baby. No, he is intoxicated by her differentness, and he cannot live without her.
      We call that toxic love where I come from. Peggy Jean is a “Distressed Damsel”, S.B. Lothario is a “White Knight”, and Bubba Cletus doesn’t care if he’s a sex addict or not. No, give me the slapstick comedy, the satirical whimsy that lets me know it is all tongue-in-cheek. Add some paranormal to it (keepin’ it unreal, of course)? And I enjoy it very much.
      Okay, so now that I have talked up Shanna Swendson’s books as poolside summer reads (and admitted openly I do read “chick lit” and “hen lit”–something which I was once ashamed to admit but now don’t really worry about), I am on to the point after this long-winded detour.
      I have two unpublished giant tomes in a trilogy, both of which were supposed to be published by now. The first book not only belly-flopped (Ah, the wonders of grandiose thinking meeting the reality of not being willing to do the footwork to publicize the book!), it went headfirst into the granite quarry which doubles as the local swimmin’ hole and is now requires resuscitation and rewriting.
      Like Shanna, I sometimes feel there’s no real reason to put the energy into putting the books out. Well, except one thing: It reflects the process of my recovery to me.
      The original drafts of the second and third books keeps her a whiny approval and love-addict. This is a character who is supposed to come to terms with her choices–good and bad. Who accepts her imperfections by the time the third book comes around, and who still struggles with her personal moral compass in the face of societal pressures (and her personal resentments which drive her to make decisions she deeply regrets later on). Who still struggles on a daily basis with trying to be true to her convictions yet sometimes slipping anyway because of things which she cannot do alone–yet she tries to because she trusts no one but herself.
      Yeah, I know. She’s my development. And when it’s time to do that edit of the first book, I actually am just going to correct the punctuation and fix the sentences with missed verbs. Yes, I needed a proofer and editor to make the book sing, but I didn’t have access to them. So, it is the best I could do and represents hundreds upon hundreds of hours I could have been living my life instead of isolating into my own head.
      Which, in a way, is why the second and third books haven’t been published yet. I have a life I kinda want to live, and I spent far too much time in the fictional world where I was G-d. I could control it all, move the actors where I wanted, feed them their lines. In exchange, I missed out on a lot of life and nearly lost what I now treasure.
      But I will get the books out, with the changes that make sense to the story. Just like my life . . . with the changes that make sense to my recovery.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food addict and an approval/love addict. I’m experiencing the process of recovery, which shows itself in how I feel outside of the culture sometimes. It’s not bad. I’m planning on being part of humanity, just not planning on being part of the culture of passion-addiction–bemoaning my fate because I can’t have a storybook (or romance novel or romance movie) ending.
      Besides, Eros (passionate/romantic love) is exhausting, because it’s got the adrenaline on all the time. A good lifelong romantic relationship balances Eros (passion), Philia (friendship), Storge (familial love), and Agape (spiritual, “unconditional” love). Oh, and an acceptance that sometimes life does, indeed, require seeking out others to help us when we reach those banging-the-forehead-on-the-dining-table-and-groaning-“Why-me?” moments in life.
      You know, the ones we laugh about with our three fabulous friends over cocktails as we talk about our waxed-n-buffed boy-toys, our sex lives, our shoe collection, our handbag collection, our designer label clothing collection, the miserable size of our walk-in closet (which is actually the second bedroom of the apartment we own in Metropolitan City), and the upcoming runway show where we will refresh said shoe-bag-clothing collections.
      Yeah, heh, heh. I don’t either. 🙂


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