I miss writing my regular posts. The Advent Calendar is wonderful fun and I love getting to feature authors, activities, and books. I love making people happy by giving away prizes. But I miss getting to write my own posts. Today, instead of the regularly scheduled Thursday Thankfulness I’d like to reflect on my first almost-week as a new author. Really, that’s a great deal of my thankfulness this week anyway.
Two months ago, I wrote a post describing how books are like our babies. That was well before publication time, and I had no idea how much the pre-publication, publication, and post-publication phases would intensify parental feelings toward my first-born. It was all the more complicated because I had thought The Way Home (aka Kat 1) would be my first book and not The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus. In the rush of excitement and nerves, I wanted to preserve these feelings for posterity. I will never publish my first book again.
If I were to write a letter to Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, or Vennie for short (at first I said “Mrs. Claus” but then it became confusing to distinguish my baby from Mrs. Claus the august personage whose wrath I dare not incur)…
I’m sorry that I haven’t been a better mother to you. You weren’t quite supposed to be my first-born, you see. Kat and Natalie are angry that you have stolen the first-born spot when it rightfully should have been theirs. I tried to appease them by saying you will pave the way. You are braver, hardier, and better suited to testing the waters to see whether your more fragile sisters could follow.
But you are my first, your eyes reminded me as they darkened with hurt. What should have been your day of glory instead became a guinea-pig experiment. You were the canary in the coal mine, and you were thrust into the darkness to see whether future explorers could survive.
You wanted my whole heart on your day of glory, and instead you received only part of it. I’m sorry that you will never be my only, but please try to understand. You may have been published first, but Kat and Natalie came to me first. I love you, too, but I’ve known them longer. I will learn to love you in a different but equally special way.
When things got complicated right before you went out into the cold, cruel world, I wanted to cancel. I was sure that people would see you, judge me, and never touch any of my books ever again. At the time, I hated the days and nights I spent frantically, exhaustedly scouring your every nook and cranny for flaws. Now, I look back and appreciate those extra three days to get to know you better, to tweak a little here and there, and to add little touches that I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Please, Vennie, appreciate how much love you have received. I am amazed and grateful at how much our community has supported you (and me). The past few weeks of guest blogs, spotlights, interviews, and promotions have felt like your baby shower, coming-home party, baptism, and first day of kindergarten all wrapped up into one glorious event. You may not be Kat and Natalie, but I promise you…this excitement of doing everything for the first time will only happen once. This is what it means to be supported by community. This is what it means to be loved.
Did you know, Vennie, that you’ll be featured in the 12 Hunky Days of Christmas Reviews? I know! You, hunky? You’re just a baby still! But the book reviewer apparently was excited to read you. I have to admit I’m a bit scared at what the reviewer will say, but aren’t all parents afraid that our babies won’t measure up? When I saw your first report cards at Blushing, my heart dropped. I was terrified that I would be called out as a fraud and that I’d be told to go back to a real job instead of pretending to write books. I was afraid that you would be called too silly, too fluffy, too downright quirky to be taken seriously.
Maybe you aren’t a bestseller, and maybe other authors’ book-babies will outperform you in every way. Maybe if I had made you a longer story, or if I’d done this or not done that, or if I had shoved in the sex scenes that people seem to want…but somehow, you made it anyway. Thank you for being stronger than I thought.
Dear Vennie, I know that nothing will ever be quite as perfect as you might wish. But please hold tightly to your chest the knowledge that you, my dear, are loved.
With all of my love and thankfulness,
P.S. Don’t even think about dating until you go to college. And you will be going to college, young lady!