Saturday, May 17, 2014

CE Roof - Maryanne

I'm walking through the yard, minding my own business when I hear someone call, "Guten Tag, Kendra! Bonjour!"

I don't have to look up to know who it is, though I do anyways to figure out where she is. With a slight shake of my head, I answer, "Hello, Maryanne. Good to see you to." I spot her. She's ... on my roof. "What are you doing up there?"

"Ysga didn't want to land on the ground today, so dropped me off here," she replies nonchalantly, examining a tree that I think she is planning to use to get down. She says something in a language I don't understand, but due to my authorly powers, I do catch the gist of her words. The tree's a bit further away than even she's willing to risk.

"I've climbed that tree before," I shout up to her. "It's not fun. Hang on, I'll get you a ladder."

Luckily, we have ladders on hand, and within a few minutes, she's on the ground and at my side. After she helps me put the ladder away, I turn to her with raised eyebrows. "So, what do you want to talk to me so badly about?"

"What makes you think I want to talk to you about something?" asks Maryanne.

"If you're not here to tell me of a brilliant new plot idea that I or may not include, or to continue to try to convince me that you need a flying carpet - which you do not, you already have a dragon! - or to pester me about the fact that I'm not to your book yet, why are you here?"

"Because I know that I'm your favorite character and I thought you might like some lunch. That's the problem with working at a fast food place. You teach yourself not to eat."

"No arguments there," I admit. "But where is the food? Ysga didn't fly off with it, did she?" Maryanne isn't wearing any sort of bag aside from a satchel that I know can't carry food of any sort.

"Oh, no, Ysga didn't fly off with it. I left it on the roof. Everyone knows the best place to eat picnics are is on the roof."

"And we're on the ground, Maryanne."

She gives me a blank look, then glances back to the ladder. "Well, then we'll just have to go up there!"

I laugh and haul the ladder back off of it's place. "You should have told me that before we got this put away."

Soon we're on the roof, and I find a blanket laid out, laden with all sorts of food that I can and can't identify. Maryanne seats me on one corner, then sits down on the corner across from me. She prays a blessing over the food, then nods for me to pick up the cup in front of me.

"I know that you don't like tea," she explains, picking up her own cup, "so I gave you water instead."

I nod. "How thoughtful of you."

"You know, everything seems small and petty up on the roof," she observes. "So insignificant."

"And now we come to what you came here to talk to me about." I pick up a sandwich and bite into it.

"I was just making an observation!" she protests. "But, since we're on the subject, I suppose I can make another one. Kendra, you've been letting those small, petty, insignificant things really drag you down the last several weeks."

I sigh. "I know, and it's easy to think past them here on the roof, but down there ... I know that all things work together for good, but sometimes my life seems like so much of a mess, I can't see how any good came come of it, which leads to apathy, which leads to writer's block, which leads to me being grumpy."

"You should eat then. You're not you when you're hungry."

"You've been watching TV again, haven't you?"

"Yeah, why?"

"You're my only character who has a life outside of your books. You were watching Merlin, weren't you?"

"Yeah, why?"

"I've only ever seen half an episode of that show - and it's not available in my Amazon Prime, so I probably won't be seeing it anytime soon."

"Your loss. Arthur is so handsome! Why are you looking at me like that? You know I'm obsessed with Arthurian legend in my own world as well!"

I shake my head. "Only you, Maryanne, only you."

She leans forward and places a hand on mine. "Kendra, I know you're a long way away from writing my books, especially the book where I'm the age I am right now. But press on. I know you're sometimes drug down by your life, but press on. Someday, you're going to look back and not be able to remember any of all this that you're so upset over. You won't remember the bouts of writer's block. But you will glad to be where you are, and you will be proud of your shelf of books. Don't give up!"

"Only you, Maryanne."


  1. It sounds like you've been having a rough couple of weeks. I'm no doctor, but the best medicine is always to run to God. Immerse yourself in His word, remember that the focus should be on Him, pray, fellowship with believers (aka don't keep things to yourself, talk with others who can help). "Fear God and keep his commands, that is the whole duty of man" says Ecclesiastes 12 (Ever read Ecclesiastes? It's one of my favorites).
    There must be a bout of writer's block going 'round. I've got it too. Well, maybe not a block, per se... but I'm certainly lost motivation.
    (...Water for the picnic? Why not hot chocolate? Or is that only a wintery drink?)

    1. You're right. I don't spend as much time in God's word as I probably should, though I do pray a lot. But I have been slacking off in that the past few weeks ... and that may have something to do with my writer's block. Since the publication of Sew, and I received a review that pointed out that there was no real Christian elements in it (There wasn't, I added the two references to the Author when I changed the cover), I have made an effort to not publish a long work that didn't point to God again. And since that means that I have to inject the plot of my Bookania's with it, which can be very frustrating.

      And honestly, if I had continued this CE, Maryanne brought me the same admonition. She's more in tune with my emotions than most of my characters (probably because most of the other characters are trying to convince me to go easy on them, while she's the one who comes up with her own terrible plot twists) and she's more in tune with God than many of the characters in her world. Laura and Jen have been chiding me as well.

      Since publishing The Ankulen, writing has been like slugging through mud. My NaNo flew out quickly enough, but even there, I have barely touched it since I completed the challenge. I know that writing has frequently been slow like this, but The Ankulen was so easy and painless, and I was so in tune with it and its message, I kinda forgot what it was like to write a book that wasn't easy.

      Of course, there's always the issue of fact that I sometimes wonder if people actually care about my writing. I know that you guys do ... but there are days, especially if I've had a few long days at work (as I've had this week, a few workers have quit, and we have a new manager, so it's been ... interesting), and I come home and the blog entry that I wrote this morning doesn't have any comments, and I still have only two people entered for that contest I'm running ...

      I don't like to sound petty here, but I don't want to stay in fast food. I want to make a career out of my writing (and my knitting, but I've even been uninspired to do THAT!), but it's hard to make money off of books if you're not growing your audience and all that. The past few months, it's felt like my audience has been shrinking. I know it hasn't ... and I know I've actually gained followers, but I still feel a bit lonely if my readers don't talk to me. I want to discus something other than hamburgers!

      Before this becomes a blog entry on its own merit, I will address the Hot Chocolate issue. Maryanne's world, while it does have chocolate, has not figured out how to turn it into a beverage, and it's also a luxury item. And while she does know that the drink exists in my world, she wanted to make the picnic out of mostly food from hers. And she knows that I haven't been drinking as much water as I should be the last few weeks/months. (Probably another contributing factor to my despondency.)

    2. I disagree. There are Christian elements in Sew. A book doesn't have to make references to a higher power to be Christian. I think that as long as a book that's written by a Christian doesn't deviate from Biblical principles, it's fine. Especially if it's fantasy. With fantasy/fairytales it's kind of like you have to leave the God-figure out of the story (like in Lord of the Rings) or make him the center of the whole story (like Narnia).
      Sew, while it may not have too many references to The Author, shows the importance of family. It also portrays Biblical marriage. I personally don't think you need to inject it with anything.
      (Though if you feel the Holy Spirit calling you to write more allegorical fiction with a stronger message of Christ, by all means do it!)

      Now let me ask you a hard question:
      Who are you writing for, God or yourself?
      When I first published my book, many of my family bought copies, but as far as I know, no one in the self-publishing world has bought it (probably because it's not an eBook). I was getting discouraged and wondered if maybe I should be doing more to promote it. But then I changed my mind. Ultimately, my work is to glorify God. Even if no one ever reads it, I know that I've glorified God by using the talent he has given me. I'm too busy to promote my book, so I am satisfied that, with the Lord's help, I was able to publish a book before I was 18! (That's something else to remember. You're so young yet. You don't have to be a #1 bestseller. Right now is the time for you to develop your writing skills and build a base of loyal supporters by just being friends with people. I know I'm more willing to buy someone's book if they are my friend first and foremost, and aren't trying to use me as some sort of advertisement).

      I've read a couple of times on your blog that you're worried about people not caring about your writing. You know that isn't true. Your family and friends care. You're not alone. It may sometimes feel like it, because people have things in their lives that they have to deal with too, and may not be able to be there 100% of the time - but God is never too busy. He wants a deep and personal relationship with every one of his children. And the best way to build relationships is to spend time with people. It's no different when cultivating a relationship with God. That's why it's so important to read the Bible and pray every day (which is a lot harder than it sounds).

      Self-publishing is a very competitive field. There are thousands of books self-published a year. For every good book, there are probably ten bad ones (covers, plotline, development, grammar, etc.). I know that I, as a reader of self-published books, am very discerning with what I choose. Right now, there are five authors that I trust (you among them) to give me quality, enjoyable, self-published literature. If I don't have a relationship/trust with the author through their blog, chances are I won't buy their book.

      Also, if I'm not interested in a book, I won't read it. I really enjoyed your Bookania books, but maybe they aren't everyone's style. Though they are great for all ages, I think that younger audiences would especially enjoy them; more so than the 14-30 age group (which mostly, it seems, makes up the self-published blogsphere).

      Just remember: It's okay not to be okay. It's okay to be discouraged. It's human. It's also okay to talk to people about how you're feeling, and to give every part of your life and worries over to God. And that's not easy. It's probably the hardest thing to do - especially if you don't want to give up everything to Him (that's what I'm struggling with right now).

      I'll be praying for you, Kendra!

      Ah, now I see about the water! Well, water's good too! In fact, I should probably go get a cup...

    3. When I published Sew, I chose the Amazon categories "Fairy Tale Retelling" and "Christian Fantasy" for its categories, but Amazon was weird and the "retelling" didn't display properly. I didn't realize this was a problem until I received my first "real" review and it was basically "This book was nothing original, just paper mache, and it had no business being in the Christian section." And while I knew the book was plenty original, and that the reader probably just didn't care for retellings, the other part did concern me. I had published the book during a point in my life when I was spiritually dry (not a good time to make decisions like that) and the review shook me up enough to remind me what my initial purpose as an writer was - to write books that would lead people to God. It took me a while, but at last I realized how God is viewed in Bookania. And it's not so much that I'm "inserting" him, as I am making sure that his being there makes sense.

      Ee ... hard question is right, and one I needed to be faced with. Unlike some other authors I could mention, my path to authorhood did not involve sitting in church one day and realizing God wanted me to be an author for him. Writing has been something I've always done and always been good at, and while I want to give him all the glory, there's a petty part of me that becomes proud whenever someone praises my writing, and jealous when they're not. And sometimes that petty part of me takes over.

      And, by the way, you have had at least one sale from your blogger friends. I have it sitting next to me on my desk. (I had a desire to buy some books that I haven't been able to get on Kindle the other week, and yours was one that I purchased. Thought I'd do the favor since you had been nice enough to buy mine.)

      Competition IS fierce in the Self-publishing world, and honestly, the ratio for bad to good could be higher. I pick up 90% of mine for free on kindle, and most of them, honestly, need work. Or a trash can. Like you, I'm only going to shell out my money if it's an author I trust, or I know they've done the same for me. (Which kinda defeats the purpose of helping each other make money, but, eh, it brings up our sales ratings, and that's always a good thing!)

    4. That must have been a hard review to read. (I definitely don't agree with it! I think all your books and ideas are very original.) I understand more now and I think that's great that you're making sure God makes sense in Bookania!

      That's a great testimony about your writing!
      I'm right with you there, sister. My petty side takes control waaaaay too often. Especially in the area of music. I'm continually asking the Lord to humble me. Something else I need to do more often is turn the praise right to Him. He's the one who has given me my gifts and instead of taking the praise for myself, I need to surrender it right to Him.

      (Aw, thank you! I hope you really enjoy it! Sorry it's still not available for eReaders... I know it's the cheaper and preferred method for buying self-published books, but I need more time before I can even start to look into the eReader guides. Do you have any advice?)

      *nods* It's kind of sad, really. Most of the people just need a good editor that not only fixes the lumps and bumps, but teachers the author to do it too (hey, give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats forever!).

    5. It was hard, but after examining the reviewer (I later ran across her blog) I realized that a lot of the problem was that Sew just wasn't her type of book. I know how much creativity it takes to write a retelling.

      Advice for e-books ... hm ... maybe I'll do up a blog entry later. It's actually not hard or complicated. If you have a word document and a cover art, you've already done the most time-consuming part part. I don't know anything about Nook or Kobo publishing, but the majority of people read on kindles or kindle apps, so I don't think my sales have suffered because I've chosen to skip them.

    6. I'll look out for your post! (Whew, it sounds like it's not as hard as I thought it would be!)

  2. P.S. I totally wouldn't want to stay in fast food either! Great job for persevering, though! Especially if a field that you don't enjoy.

    1. It'll be six months on Thursday (which is my day off, incidentally). I don't not enjoy it. I do enjoy people, and food, and it's great experience, especially for the salesperson part of my authorly job. Today was a pretty good day, and a pretty interesting day (most of us were in a good mood ... and our current maintenance man, when he's in a good mood, likes to boss people around and flirt. And sing off key. And the girl who I don't regularly get along with well decided we were besties today. It was crazy.

    2. (Argh, I was going to attach this reply on to the other one but then accidentally published the comment... Haha, whoops.)
      Oh, nice! That's a good treat for your six month anniversary! The experience alone is worth all the negatives of any job, I think. Your maintenance man sounds like an interesting guy to work with! The girl too... Girls are so strange. I had a friend like that too. Two friends. Often they act like that because something difficult is going on in their own lives, so I've learned.


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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