Still Nervous

So, I wrote this thing?

Do any of the rest of you get that occasional moment of wonder that people – perfect strangers – are reading your story?

I guess it’s not quite imposter syndrome… instead of feeling like a fraud waiting for a man with a clipboard to come up and say I’ve been found out, I’m just standing here marveling that other people are interested and like my stories.

Peter’s coming up on 15 books out, and part of me is all “I should be perfectly blasé about this by now, given how many times I’ve gone through release day with my love.” But… nah, still nervous.

This story was extremely frustrating on several levels – it’s working title was Worst Vacation Ever. Because when Raina and Akrep first popped in to my head, I foolishly thought it was going to be a vacation romance. I mean, two people on a bus to a touristy souk, awkwardly trapped in the same seat together? Okay, by  the time they got there, I’d figured out that he was a lot more than meets the eye, in a tradecraft way rather than transformers, but… And then there were knife fights. And bombings. And escaped genetic proof-of-concepts, with a grudge. And revolutionaries so focused on bringing down The Man that they didn’t realize what they were puppets for…

And then there’s Akrep. I didn’t expect I’d be writing it from two points of view. He didn’t care; I was going to tell the story from his point of view, too. (So much for a gentle learning curve on writing. It took a while to get my skills up to telling this story.) As well, I realized that this character was calm, competent, and knew exactly what he wanted (even if I didn’t.) So I figured it out by asking the competent men I know who’ve been interesting places and done interesting things what they would do in a situation.

Yes. I admit it. My standard was “what would Peter / LawDog / Jim Curtis do?” Which is how I learned a whole lot about interesting things, including the amazing amount of scrap lumber just the right size for kneecapping pursuers in Istanbul alleyways. Sadly, there was nowhere to work in the story about trading a safe full of classified documents for two pairs of Levis jeans, or the time someone decided to raid an army base to upgrade their helicopter’s weaponry… Another story, another day!


20 thoughts on “Still Nervous

  1. I get shaky whenever 1) I get an avalanche from Instapundit or IMHO, 2) when I launch a book, 3) when the book does well, 4) when people like a paper I’ve given or an academic article I’ve published. And I’ve been at this a little longer than you have, but not much.

    The internal conversation runs something like: Will they like it? Do they like it? Did I get this bit right? Is that bit too dark? Should I have put in more background/take out some details? Am I losing my touch? Am I getting too confident and cocky? Oh no, I missed that typo. Does anyone even read this anymore? Should I have stopped with 1/2/3 books? Do they like it?

  2. I must admit, I thoroughly enjoyed my love’s surprise when she asked me, somewhat diffidently, if I had any suggestions about how to stage an ambush on a switchback uphill road. My enthusiastic response, and a double handful of real-world examples, including some of the gory details, made her eyes widen somewhat. To her credit, she didn’t flinch – and she says she still loves me, so it can’t have been that bad!

    As to kneecapping in Istanbul’s back alleys, that wasn’t me. However, sundry other pleasantries (?) in the souks of Aden, Massawa and other “interesting” places . . . that would be another thing.


  3. I will admit that that nervousness is part of what’s holding me back from publishing. “Seriously, girl. You think that this little tale you wrote is so good that COMPLETE STRANGERS should pay you MONEY for the privilege of reading it? What kind of arrogance is that?”

    I’ll push past that,I will, I swear, but I doubt the feeling will go away unless I become as big as Stephen King–and probably not even then.

    1. Of course your book can be good enough.

      Sheesh, I used to read cereal boxes for pleasure. Surely you are not afraid to fight cereal boxes for my milk money?

  4. I confess that I never had that feeling. My reaction on the (lamentably few) occasions when I’ve made a sale has always been, “HOLY CARP! Somebody actually bought my book!”

  5. What I found boggling was watching my KU numbers on my first novel rising in realtime, after a mention by Glenn Reynolds. I was getting a sale every couple of *seconds.* Less boggling, but still a bit of a jolt was realizing that my five titles were being binge-read on KU. In quick succession, each of my titles was read to completion, without duplication. I could even tell which was which by the page count. It took two days to read my collections, three days to read TGO, and four days to read TCB, which is by far the longest.

  6. “Do any of the rest of you get that occasional moment of wonder that people – perfect strangers – are reading your story?”

    Yes, and its freaking me out a bit. The notion that strangers are going to read my books has held me back from publishing the first one. However I am powering forward slowly against the great resistance. It will come out, no matter the hoops that must be jumped through.

    1. Now I am curious as to if I am apt to be interested. Ponder me reading it… and if perhaps everyone else isn’t quite so strange after all. ♉

      1. If you like cute girls, guns, robots, aliens, monsters and beating up zombies, or more particularly cute robot girls with huge guns beating up alien zombies, plus a monster, could be you might be interested. ~:D

        I can easily imagine the minotaur reading it and yelling “YES!” in all the right places. I can also imagine Pajama Boy screaming in outrage by chapter two, the un-Wokeness may cause hives. >:D

  7. Haven’t had a book that was completely my own, but yeah, I do sometimes wonder if anyone’s reading my contribution to an anthology and what they think of it.

  8. Perhaps related, but only in a feeble way, when I am typing up a blog post, it bothers me to have anyone look at what I am doing. Yes, even $HOUSEMATE who knows me better than anyone (beside me… maybe). I go back. I change things. I jot down ideas that don’t always fit – and some are just outright wrong. BUT… once I ‘Publish’ or ‘Schedule’ the post? No issues with people reading it. That’s WHY it’s public post. The astonishment (or disappoint) is that anyone (or no-one) reads and comments.

    And of course, the deep, thoughtful stuff or at least more interesting (to me) seems to be ignored. And the quick throw-something-into-blogspace stuff gets comments. But that’s been true since the heyday of LiveJournal. It sort of fits, vaguely, with the idea that ESP is real, but works to annoy. For example, as anyone who has ever worked retail knows, if a customer is hemming and hawing about checking out and one stays by the register just in case, they will take for-bloody-ever to decided to check out. But should you decide to stop wasting time doing nothing and step away to anything else, nature sees a presence vacuum and now, suddenly they MUST check out RIGHT NOW.

  9. I think that “What Would Law Dog Do?” is a perfectly acceptable life philosophy.

    1. so, we’re supposed to a) blame it on sumdood or b) retell the pink gorilla suit story?

  10. Cover art made me think it was set in St. Louis, Mo. Just that whole Arch thingie. 😉

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