For as long as he can remember, Crik has always been too scared to seek freedom. Instead, he spends most of his days in Ungstah working in his master’s store, avoiding the Ash Kings, and scavenging and stealing food to keep himself and his best friend, Jak, alive. But when he steals from the wrong person, the only world he has even known collapses around him.
Does Crik give up and die or does he leave his life of slavery and its scar behind to do what no other Downer has ever done before – escape from the city of Ungstah?
Below is the map of the world I've created. Not every place in that world is marked on the map. But it does give you a brief glimpse in what the land looks like.
The last few months have been difficult.
I am overjoyed about getting published. But to be honest, it doesn't come without worries... especially for me. Unfortunately, I am a creature of habit. And when that habit is broken, it opens a flood gate of stress for me. I have to adapt and that isn't easy. I like ritual. There's a safety there. In some ways, I got so used to rejection it became a comfort.
But now things have changed and I have to readjust. To be successful, I need to change my way of thinking.
You see, when you write a book and are fortunate enough to get it published, you would've thought that the most difficult part of the process is complete. For some, it may be. But for me, I have just entered the thick of the woods.
For me, the work has just begun.
I have to sell myself.
For me, this is by far the most difficult aspect about writing and getting published. You have to believe that people out there care about what you write. And more than that, they want to read what you have to write. Unfortunately, I fall along the lines of thinking that no one cares about what I have to write. I am a tear drop in the ocean.
It is a weakness of mine. But if I allow that weakness to dictate what I do, I will never accomplish what I have to.
You see, you can't believe that no one wants to read your book even if it's true. You have to convince yourself that there is an audience out there waiting to consume it, to relate to it, to fall in love with it.
To be successful, you must believe this. That is where I have to change my thinking, and like I said, I'm not good with change. But it helps when you see friends and family share your book and share in the enthusiasm about it. For that, I thank you!
(Now, if you are new to this blog and you don't know this by now, you can pre-order my book Scar of the Downers at Amazon. Or you can click on the picture to the right of this blog. Also, if you're interested, you can check out my Goodreads page as well.)
Here is the cover to Scar of the Downers, which should be released in March 2015.
It is available for pre-order on Amazon.
Before I was published, the pressure was getting published.
Now, that I have a book coming out in less than a couple of months, I'm finding other pressures.
I have a plan for a sequel for Scar of the Downers, and I actually started writing it before I got the publishing contract. Now, I've been working on it, and I'm finding that it's really hard to write.
Change is hard for me. I was used to the struggle of trying to be published, and the feelings that went along with it. After 10 years of it, I now have to adjust to new insecurities, time constraints, and overthinking of things.
I mean, how do I prepare for something I've never been through?
Change: the inevitable evil that's sometimes good.
As you can see, I'm a cautious realist, not a pessimist. I look at things through a realistic lens with a bit of caution. No, I'm not footloose and fancy free. I think through of things. I weigh the good against the bad and then expect the worst. On the flip-side, my wife thinks she's an optimist. I just say she's flighty and sometimes delusional.
(Liz's reaction: So I'm butting in here, but I was reading this for Scott, and I feel I have to point out the obvious. Please, please go back and read that "Change..." statement. If that doesn't scream "pessimist" and "skeptic," I'm not even sure what a pessimist is! hmmm... I think the only "delusional" one here is the blogger himself. ;) I'll admit that I am not without my bitter feelings toward some things in life, like the wicked prospering, having to wake up early, or even some days of the week. However, I do believe that I mostly see the proverbial glass half-full.)
(My Reaction to Liz's Reaction: Liz is a public optimist, I'll give her that. She "fools" a lot of people into thinking that she is. I'm not saying she doesn't have her optimistic qualities or moments, but that's really the lesser argument... she thinks that I'm a pessimist, but I don't really agree. I'm a realist. Sure, a realist who sees the world through darker lenses, perhaps. But I'm still on the spectrum of realist. I don't believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket, but I'm a wait-and-see kind of guy with a shotgun in hand. I think Liz is lucky that she married me because I've probably saved her from many a hair-brained scheme, e.g. the planting of catnip around our house to prevent our cat from running away. You can read about that "great idea" in this post about the feline member of our household.)
(Liz's 2nd Reaction to Scott's Reaction: LOL. Well, I have to admit that maybe that whole catnip thing was NOT the best idea! But I still maintain my optimistic status in life, with maybe a touch of gloom (that's where the hating of some of the days of the week come in). Sorry for the sidetrack. Although this does give you a REALISTIC glimpse into our conversation life. We could go on like this for quite a while. And, I think that Scott's lucky that he married me, because he needs some positivity, am I right?!)
Anyway, that's what I'm dealing with right now. I'm not complaining, because this is what I've been working toward for what feels like a very long time. I just feel some trepidation and some anxiety now that is bleeding over into my creative life. It's hard to write, it's hard to plot. I'm glad I already have a framework for where I want to go, but the path is proving to be little difficult right now.
But, this is definitely a difficulty that I'm thankful for.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.