Even When it Burns
In 2010, A Ranger’s Tale, my first fantasy romance book was published by Melange Books. Needless to say, I was quite excited and more than a bit naïve. I started scheduling book signings and other public appearances. One of those early showings was at the public library in my hometown for their book club’s monthly meeting. There, I would talk a bit about my writing and publishing process and read a passage from the book. Some of my family would be there too, so it was bound to be a great day.
The reality? Not so much. The ladies of the club gathered around a long table, while I sat at one end. For other authors, it might have felt like a place of honor, like Captain Kirk’s chair with less Spock. For me, it felt like being on the stand in front of a jury, accused of not being a real author.
That’s actually what one lady said as we wrapped up the hour. I think the exact quote was “I know a real author, Jane Smith*, and I don’t read fairy tales.”
I’d already endured the scowls from their group while I was speaking, and now I’d heard exactly what they were thinking the entire time.
Not a real author.
Had I not been stubborn, I may have thrown in the towel and gave up writing altogether after that, but I didn’t. Why? Because writing is a passion of mine. I want and need to write, and yes, I want to share my stories with the reading world.
So I dug in my heels and kept at it. I’ve published two more books in the Tallenmere series since then and am working on my fourth. I’ve expanded my horizons with romantic comedy, contemporary and historical romance and even children’s books.
Me in elven warrior costume with mentor and author Leona Pence at Imaginarium in Louisville, KY, Sept. 2014.
Though I have yet to speak to another book club, I’m no hermit. I’ve attended numerous conventions and book signings. Some have been good, some not so good. But I’ve met lots of great writers and fans who enjoy what I write and encourage me to write more.
Sure, I’ll never forget the book club turned trial, but I’m not letting one bad experience keep me from doing what I love. Or several bad experiences for that matter. It’s not just my ambitions that I have to consider. I have three children who watch what their mama does with keen eyes. I want them to know the satisfaction of working hard to achieve their goals. Even though I don’t want to see them struggling, I know they’ll have to if they want to succeed. I know that if they’re on fire for something, they’re going to get burned, but they’ll never know what they can accomplish if they don’t try.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs, one that helps me remember to keep getting up and forging ahead when the world (or snobby book club ladies) knock me down. No matter what your passion is, don’t let anyone tell you you’re not “real”. Get back up and try, try, try…
*Author’s name changed to protect identity.
Bio: Mysti Parker is a wife, mom, author, and shameless chocoholic. She is the author of the Tallenmere standalone fantasy romance series and The Roche Hotel romantic comedy series. Her short writings have appeared in the anthologies Hearts of Tomorrow, Christmas Lites, Christmas Lites II, Christmas Lites IV, The Darwin Murders, Tasteful Murders and EveryDayFiction. Her award-winning historical romance, A Time for Everything, will be published this summer by EsKape Press.
Other writing pursuits include serving as a class mentor in Writers Village University’s seven week online course, F2K. She has published one children’s book, Quentin’s Problem (as Misty Baker), with another (Fuzzy Buzzy’s Treasure) coming this spring. When she’s not writing fiction, Mysti works as a freelance editor and copywriter. She also reviews books for SQ Magazine, an online specfic publication, and is the proud owner of Unwritten, a blog voted #3 for eCollegeFinder’s Top Writing Blogs award. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband and three children.
Visit Mysti’s website: www.mystiparker.com