Hello! I realize it’s been a while since I last blogged. Life has a serious way of keeping us from stuff we used to like doing. As someone with three blogs I rarely see, much less use, I think you all might have a hint as to what that one thing is I like to do. I used to love talking to you all, telling you stories, talking about life and some of the deeper aspects of it.
It’s been a while since I’ve even heard from some of you. Yes, I miss seeing you reading my posts. I miss the occasional interaction and the lighthearted way you all helped me feel. When you become a product of the industry instead of part of the writing/book authorship of it, it makes you think about things other than writing far too often. I guess I miss the innocence of aspiring to something new. I’ve been working in this industry since 2011. I would have preferred to have kept writing and learning. Some people never have the angle to the inside that I do, but I’m not sure you want it. It wasn’t any easy road. I can say I gained knowledge from the experiences, so I can’t trade that for anything. I would, however, trade the pain for something else. Anything else besides more of the same.
I’m not done writing, I don’t know that I will ever be. I’m done expecting anything from anyone in regards to people caring enough to actually read and enjoy what I do. That part of the innocence is gone. I think these days, if you decide to pick up a book and read it, if it just so happens to have my name on it and you enjoyed it, lovely, score one for the Mistress of the Macabre. If not, I am not going to let the words of others who will never in a million years begin to understand the intricate workings of my addled mind get me down. (Your best bet would be not to waste your time.) It’s not fair to me to let people’s ill will and nasty attitude get me depressed about something they probably think I suck at, but don’t have the guts to try as hard as I have. I began this long journey before some people were even born and learned (am learning) a lot to improve. I will have a legacy to give my children when I’m not here anymore. What will you have? (Yes, Poe fans, his fame springs to mind here as well. Maybe when I pass, my name will finally be known…no idea! LOL!)
If you don’t already know this, I’m not just the Mistress of the Macabre. I actually write in a few different genres. I know not everyone is comfortable with my scary stuff. The one thing about writing it that makes me love it so much is knowing this. You’re not supposed to be comfortable, you’re supposed to feel things and be taken out of your element and into another world. That’s what reading a good book is! I had a comment said to me once that made me laugh. It was about my first novel. As it was going through edits, the lady who worked with me on it was brash enough to say to me, “Who are you trying to impress?” The answer is simple, EVERYONE! Who do you not want to read your work? I mean, come on, you WANT people to want to read your stories. At least I used to care about that stuff. Especially when I first wrote that particular book. It was supposed to be the one that launched my career. Again, as a writer, how do you NOT want that to be impressive? And this book ended up being a first novel feat of its own. It came out at over 119K in word count. I am whittling it down from that, of course, but not as much as some people would hope, I’m afraid. The newest version is sitting at 113k respectively, right now. It’s my baby, what can I say? I love that book. I think aside from the Revenging the Evil series, Mystik Legends was the most fun to write of anything I’ve ever done.
Again, Horror isn’t the only genre I write in. I’ve written a little bit of erotica, paranormal romance, dark fantasy, dystopian fantasy, children’s, satire, and poetry. I even challenged myself once to write a short tale in a style similar to Edgar Allan Poe called Her Uncaged Heart. (Yes, I love his work, imagine that! LOL!) I’ve found I like to explore genres as much as I like to explore methods of murder, which is a lot. (Someone please erase the browser history off of all my computers when I die. Thank you in advance and send copies to the person who I deem my file holder, you know who you are, ‘George’!)
All through the time I’ve written in the open, all five years, I’ve let you all see me, I’ve done a lot of experimenting with words. I remember the days when we were all first networking, we used to have nerdy fun with words, phrases, metaphors, and sentences. That was back when our world seemed far more lighthearted than it turned out to be. We put on this façade and wore it. Some of us wore it better than others. In my innocence at the time, I didn’t understand this. Then I learned to hide behind the mask and not truly reveal what I felt, after I tried so hard to unleash what I’d been hiding all that time. The real me used to scream, wanting out. I let her out and then reeled her back in. I felt I had no choice, because it wasn’t professional to show people who you really are. Are you even human sitting behind that machine? Some of us just so happen to be, closed off from the rest of you, not free to be the wild, wounded, bleeding souls that we really are. So, yes, I write in a number of different genres as a challenge to myself, so I might express something that’s hidden away from the world and can one day come to light.
People have said that writing can help cast out our demons. In some ways that’s true, it can help us heal from some of the battles we face, but it also helps us express all the things we’ve had to hide. All people are different, vastly in some cases. Maybe some of us are shy, or scared. Maybe some of us are afraid of how we’d be seen if we wrote about a certain aspect no one wants to talk about but, still exists, ahem, I think you know where I’m going with this… That doesn’t make it any less worthy of being talked about. So, people hide who they are or what they want from the world. I don’t believe in using fake names or fake lives. I write using my given name from the day I was born as a way of trying not to hide at least some things.
I’ve only got the one life and will lead it how I choose, I am not here to judge you. Only you can fully do that because you know what you’ve done or haven’t done that you should have. I guess I’m trying to say, make the most of it in your own way, if that means writing what you damn well please, so be it. Use those words to get your point across and tell us who you are. Me…I’m just, well, you know…me. All I can ever do or be I’m doing and being right now. Without a list of my ambitions in life, I’m still the same wayward, wild, spunky little thing who loves her kids. I’m still an overachiever at whatever I do. I guess, no matter how hard we try, some things remain the same, whether it’s writing, or anything we want to do. I happen to love creating things and I always have. Before writing, I had many hobbies, most of which I’ve not done since I started all of this five years ago. Remaining focused on the goal, I stayed in a large way, looking toward the future of my career. I didn’t know at the time I entered into this field that I would become any of what I became. Having three little to no paying jobs sucks, by the way. When I first started working for others, I didn’t know how much my ‘internship’ was costing me. Live and learn, learn to get it right, and back to the drawing board are some things I’ve tried hard to base this career on. I’m not talking about a career as an author, I’m talking about a career helping them. For those newbies to my table, I started out as an agent’s apprentice and an editor at Romance eBook publisher, then I was also working at one of those self-publishing package type of publishers (short lived, of course.) And all of this was pretty much simultaneously. This is when you go partly insane, almost literally. It took me a while to figure out I needed to generalize myself and resign myself to the fact that I can’t do everything. (It was hard to come to this understanding with myself, at first, I’m not sure me, myself, and I were in agreement.)
After some much needed time away from working and some time spent writing and getting better from all those crazy days I spent without half of my brain functioning properly, I decided to stick with editing, formatting, and learning in that area. So, yeah, that is the career in writing I meant to say earlier. As a writer, those of you who are there, you know we don’t make much selling our work online. There’s a pretty flooded market out there, that’s not a joke. So, if there is something besides the writing that you like, that can tide you over until you get picked up by a house that has that amazing track record for sales; find it, be it, do it to the best of your ability and keep learning. For me, it just so happens, I still get to create things. Sometimes it’s that smashingly beautiful cover work, or that gorgeous layout you noticed when you opened the book of an author I might know. It could even be the website of one of your long-time friends. You never know.
Until next time, folks, enjoy yourselves. Get some sunshine between all these bouts of rain. Happy spring!
Jennifer Oneal Gunn, mom of two who loves her job as author almost as much as she loves helping authors make their books shine by editing, formatting, and sometimes making them great covers.