Thursday, January 04, 2007

Living in Terror

Okay, first of all, I am officially blonde again. After going fire-engine red last May, I switched to dark brown about two months ago because the red kept fading and looking rusty. Plus, as is always the case when I color, I get bored and was already feeling the re-blonde itch, so wanted to get rid of as much red as I could so I wouldn't turn brassy.

(Those of you who also have pinkish tones in your complexion know what I'm talking about--golden or yellowy blondes make us look like horrible tomato people.)

Anyway. I better finish or this whole post will be about hair, thus rendering the clever title ineffective. Last week I scoured the shops here to find a bleach that actually works--for some reason, blonde dyes here are really useless. They couldn't lift an empty paper bag. But I did find a 40-volume developer and bleaching kit which would have worked beautifully if I'd had time to really let it. I didn't. (See, I used to bleach my hair white. The way to do that is to leave the shit on until it dries. Seriously. I'd leave it on for like 6 hours.) This time I only had an hour and a half, so my hair ended up orangey-pink with white roots. It was, in a word, absolutely fucking hideous. I looked like some sort of creepy sugarplum doll turned evil. And also, tomato face. It didn't help that I had a stress-related spot on my chin, either (which is thankfully gone).

So hubby had to go to Tesco for me, because I didn't want to leave the house, at least not without piling my cotton-candy hair in a hat, and buy me some dye. Light ash blonde.

Sigh. I look like a normal, pretty girl again. I'm sure in photographs I'll still look like a fat-nosed moonface with piggy eyes and no chin, but trust me, I do actually look pretty in person. And that's probably the only time you'll ever hear me admit that.

I also chopped off about three and a half inches, so I have a chin-length bob. I prefer to think of it as sexy flapper hair, not dull suburban mom hair.

Anyway, on to the point of the post, if you're still with me.

I'm scaaaared.

Scared because my 750 will be up at Miss Snark this weekend, and I am more and more convinced that it will make me look like a hack. I rewrote it but thought I had to send it right away so didn;t give myself enough time to edit. I'm sure it's garbage. More to the point, I am sure every agent and/or editor I might ever want to query, or who might ever see it, will be reading the COM and will know I'm a terrible writer. They'll get my query and say, "Yeah, I remember this. Garbage. She sucks" without even looking at the new, improved pages I sent. I mean, c'mon, it's not like my hook is one people will forget, is it?

So that's Fear #1. But nipping at its stylish heels is Fear #2...because I have two lovely new releases, I will also soon be getting reviews. That's right. People who don't know me, or possibly know of me and think I'm an idiot bitch, will be telling other people if my books are worth reading or not.

You guys know how strongly I believe people have a right to their opinons. I am fully prepared to stand by my previous rants on the subject. If a review opens with, "December Quinn thought she could pass this shit off as a story people might want to read, but we know it's The Worst Book Ever Written and she's a talentless hack with ugly pinkish hair," I'll take it on the chin (where the stress spot thankfully no longer rests). I sent it to people for reviews. My publishers have sent it to people for reviews. It's the name of the game, and I've sent it to some places where I highly respect their opinions and ability to express those opinions but where, also, I'm quite aware they get snarky. I love the snark. If they snark me, I asked for it, and it won't mean I think any less of them for it.

But that doesn't mean I'm not terrified, and hope hope hoping they don't snark it (too much) and call me a crapbag who only thinks she can string a couple of words together. I hope they don't laugh at me. I hope they don't make fun of me. I hope they love the book(s). I hope they love the characters and are entertained. That's the point, isn't it? If I was writing just for myself and not to entertain people I'd be writing Mary Sue fantasies about me and various comic book heroes/actors/Sid Vicious.

But there's no I'm very, very scared.


Bernita said...

Oh fiddle, December.
Garbage fears.

Anonymous said...

Emotions like fear, anxiety, and I'll even list hope as an emotion here, are what makes life worth living. Some people's lives are near flatline so enjoy it while you've got it. Drink it up, wallow in it, grab it and hang on, squeeze it, make love to it, soak it in, soak in it, savor it, lick it up (as KISS would say), wear it like a $3,000.00 suit, etc. Get the message? -JTC

P.S. I don't understand about women and hair coloring. My daughter is the most beautiful brunette (I guess -dark brown with a hint of red) and is constantly screwing with the color.

Robyn said...

Take a deep breath, and repeat after me:

I do not suck.
I do not suck.
I do not suck.

And think how good your ash blonde flapper hair will look on a book jacket.

S. W. Vaughn said...

You know, I rather like the idea of being a talentless hack with ugly pinkish hair...

I happen to know that nothing I can say will assuage your worries. However, I will say that the opening of Personal Demons is definitely NOT crap, and even if the Snark... well, snarks it, you absolutely should not take it personally.

Tastes are so subjective in this biz, it's a wonder anyone ever gets published at all. You are a very talented writer, December! It's hard to believe (trust me, I know -- I'm going through the worst bout of non-confidence I have ever experienced right now), but it is the truth. You do not suck.

If nothing else, realize that you have been published by companies that are selective, demanding, and only take quality writing -- Whiskey Creek, Torrid, Ellora's Cave!! Seriously... you rock!

Bernita said...

Maybe you shouldn't have dyed your hair after all, December.
Those are definitely
"blonde" thoughts.
You have what it takes.
So. Just. Stop. It.

December Quinn said...

Actually, Bernita, I'm naturally blonde. Perhaps the dye has brought my dizziness to the forefront? :-)

I try to stop, but like a self-hatred junkie running dry, I can't help it. I will try.

Yes, JTC, I will be sure to wear my fear and doubt like heaven. Good? Tee-hee.

Different hair makes us feel like a new woman for a few days. We can be somebody else, even just in a little small way.

Plus we want to look preeeety for yoooou.

December Quinn said...

Oh, okay Robyn. I'll try. I'll wait until the hubby gets home, so he can laugh hysterically at me.

Yes, it would be good on a book jacket, but for that picture, on that lucky day, I'll get big girl-pop-star hair extensions.

No, you're right, S, you can't entirely convince me. It does help, though. Honestly, I'm not so much worried about Snark as I am anyone else who might see it, if that makes any sense. Which I know it doesn't.

Why are you feeling non-confident? Because you so don't suck either. Maybe you should do Robyn's mantra with me.

BernardL said...

If you have guts enough to pull these hair trials on your husband, I know you can face a few snarky comments about your writing. As to all the sudden stress writing syndromes you have going, the only person you have to please is the one in the mirror every morning with pinkish hair. She’s the one who not only reads your work and must love the words, she must also re-read your work until it’s almost committed to memory, all while taking a chain saw to parts almost as hard to lose as children. Level with us December, you wrote this post to try out a new whiney character you’re installing in some plot you’re doing, aren’t you? :)

S. W. Vaughn said...

LOL - because I would turn it into a completely ineffective mantra by adding qualifications:

"I do not suck (nearly as bad as that guy)."

"I do not suck (as much now as I did when I was in kindergarten)."

"I do not suck (eggs, because they will make me sick if I eat them raw)."

Sorry for distorting your mantra, Robyn! :-)

I have a theory. I believe we think we suck, because we know that to believe we rock would be contrary to all the directives our parents, teachers, etc. have ever given us about pride and how it goeth before a fall. If we suck, at least we won't fall that way!

littlebirdblue said...

Right, Ms. D, here's the deal;

you can't write the worst book ever written. Sorry; I know you were reaching for that particular brass ring, but it's already been nabbed according to the smart bitches @ in their dec.29th post.

AND...if that's not enough for you, please take a peek at Mr. Buckell's author/critic response FAQ []. There are some hi-larious links in that post, especially the link to the medical-pathology description of Rice-Hamilton Disorder.

December Quinn said...

Now, Bernardl, I don't generally write whiney women. Although that's not a bad idea. No, I'm just being insecure today. It's post-holiday doldrums, I think, couple with getting ready to edit a book, and start actually querying real live agents. I think I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for rejection.

Lol, SW! I do have one or two really crap pieces of writing (NOT my own!) that I pull out every once in a while when I'm feeling down.
And yes, I tell myself I suck so I won't end up with what I have a sneaking suspicion littlebirdblue's links will tell me is called Rice-Hamilton Disorder.

Off to check that out now so I can come back and giggle!

December Quinn said...

Oh, littlebirdblue, thank you! That was absolutely awesome!

Actually, I think I've possibly read at least one book worse than the one on SB. Actually, two, but the second wasn't actually a published work so I don't think it counts.

But you know, writing a ridiculous anachronistic romance has a ctually always been a dream of mine? A totally stuid farce. I always thought it would be a blast to write.

Anonymous said...

"I do have one or two really crap pieces of writing (NOT my own!) that I pull out every once in a while when I'm feeling down."

I knew that free download I told you about would come in handy ;~} -JTC

December Quinn said...

NONSENSE, JTC, you STOP THAT right now. I'm honored to be invited to read that free download (although I confess, and feel awful about it, I haven't had time to download yet) and would never even think such a thing about it.

No, I'm talking about A) A book I had to read for contest judging, which included, as the heroine was falling from a [redacted], the immortal line, "She waited for her bottom to promptly meet the ground!"
and B) something someone I knew slightly once was working on and sent to me. Words, even my own expertly chosen ones, cannot describe how bad this was. I don't even think Bernita's vocabulary could find a word for it. As an example, you have a Meet Cute where our heroine, staying in a cabin whose address is "45 Wood Lake Rd", is accosted by our hero, who thinks the house is his rental. The address he's looking for is "78 Woodlawn".

Which is not only the exact address of the home in John Candy's Summer Rental...but what idiot confuses those two addresses?

The whole book was like that. With lots of exclamation points and a creepy stalker as a hero to boot.

BernardL said...

No whiney women characters? Wow, are you missing some great humor stuff. Any of us who have kids can write whiney like pros. :)Seriously, a character with both whiney and sarcastic remarks can really liven up the plot, filling in as comic relief or an annoyance. It’s hard enough writing with confidence. Writing while fighting off insecurity would be like running a marathon in lead shoes.

December Quinn said...

That's certainly good advice, Bernardl--I'll keep that one in mind. Lead shoes. It's a good rebuke to myself in future...

I write lots of sarcastic characters and dialogue, but I haven't really done whiny. Who knows? I'm sure I'll have occasion to at some point!

kis said...

We all go through phases where we're sure every word we write is crapola. I think it's linked to moon cycles or Mercury retrograde or something, because with me, it doesn't ever seem to conform to any kind of logic. I've had requests for partials and wondered WTF the agent was smoking to want to read more of my crappety crap.

It's a low ebb, that's all. Even if you get snarked, you will eventually reemerge into a period of high confidence again. And I wouldn't worry about anyone thinking you're an idiot bitch. I don't think you've ever written a mean-spirited word about anyone--at least, not that I've seen.

You have publishing creds. You have an internet presence that does you credit. You have a good attitude and pleasant personality. You have talent. Who wouldn't want to work with someone like that?

December Quinn said...

Thank you so much, kis. I do try to be pleasant, although of course there's always people who will take whatever you say, no matter how innocently you mean it, as an insult or whatever--which is the fault of the internet itself as a medium, I think, more than them as people. But I do worry, as I think everyone who spends any real time online does, if I don't come off badly.

Perhaps fear of being snarked is worse than the snarking itself? We shall see...

Ann(ie) said...

I wouldn't worry about snarkasm. If people like your stuff, great! If not, they're still talking about it. Over on SB people probably buy Cassie Edwards just to see why Candy loves her to hate her so much. It just hurts so good.

kis said...

Yeh, I think "Desire's Blossom" might just go into reprint over that.

December Quinn said...

That's true, Annie. I'm one of those people who really does buy books if they get absolutely horrid reviews.

I guess now, since I've been assured so many times that agents/editors google you...I worry the first thing they'll see is, "December Quinn's sucky book made me pee myself with incredulity."

And that would be bad. :-)

Wouldn't surprise me, Kis...I wouldn't mind reading it...

Isabella Snow said...

Good luck with the 750!

(And isnt leaving that stuff on for 6 hours bad for your hair??)