My husband always tells me I live in my own world. I do. I like my world. Sometimes, my husband calls it my bubble world. I know what he’s talking about. I look at the world differently than most people. I’ve done it all my life. I can remember time and time again when I have reacted in a different manner than most. My history teacher in 8th grade, Mr. Stewart, told my mother he had never meant a kid like me. He said that when I set my mind on something, it was almost impossible to change it. Okay, so I took it personally when he called Auddie Murphy a B actor.
I’ll go back a tad and explain myself. I watched a movie with my dad—To Hell and Back. After watching the movie, I fell in love with Auddie Murphy. It was his story. Auddie Murphy was one of the most highly decorated WWII soldiers. He was short and was told he couldn’t enlist. He finally did enlist in the army, forging papers about his age also. He was only seventeen. I thought he was the bravest man alive…so when Mr. Stewart said Auddie Murphy was a B actor, I took offense. In my world, Auddie Murphy could do no wrong. In my world, he still can do no wrong. I admired the man.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. My friends and family call me Jaye. I know…I have so many names. Jerri Hines, Carrie James Haynes and Colleen Connally. When I sold my first story, I never wanted to go under Jerri Hines. I always wanted to go under a pen name, Carrie James Haynes. I also never intended to go under another pen name, but I have— Colleen Connally.
In my world, I would never had to go under another pen name, but reality crept into my world. Oh…that dreaded reality. The reality of the publishing world. What is it like behind all the perfect smiles. I can only tell you my experience. For a few years, I so enjoyed going to my local conference until last year. I loved having a couple of days to myself in April with others that shared a common interest. I loved making connections and networking. Everyone was so nice and friendly, so many smiles… I felt part of their world.
In my world, when you’re friends with someone, you do something nice for them. I tried. I offered free promotions to any author. In my years of Novel Works and my new blog, Romance in Books, Romantic Picks Just For You, I don’t think I ever turn anyone away who wanted a mention. Why would I offer free promotions? Because it was my way. I could have charged a fee or at least asked for a donation, but that’s not me. I enjoy feeling like I’m doing something to help others. Did I tell you I’m not a business person?
Last year, I was forced out of my bubble. I was ill-prepared for this publishing world. When I released Daughter of Deceit, I got slammed with negative reviews. I’m not going backwards with the details. Needlessly to say, I was stunned. I never expected it. Moreover, one of the reviewers decided it is her mission in life to save the world from my writing. For almost a year, it has been her mission.
First and foremost, I want to state— I respect everyone’s right to their opinion. I do. I also accept that not everyone is going to like my writing.
This is not a blog about negative reviews. It’s not a blog about right or wrong. It’s about my experience and what I‘ve endured this last year to a certain extent. I’m not going into details. When I got hit by this group, immediately I got emails from ‘friends’ with their thoughts. I have a pretty good idea what I’m going against at this time. I also understand exactly where I stand in this whole mess.
One one side, I have someone I’ve never met that hates me. She has spent almost a year watching my every move. I know she’s not going to stop. I don’t believe she can. This is the first time and only time I’m going to say something to her. Know I’ve known who you are since two weeks after your first review. Please note I have never, ever retaliated against you and for the record I won’t. It’s not me.
On the other side, my ‘friends’ long ago deserted my side. Those ‘friends’ you think are by my side left me long ago. Why? Because they were afraid you would attach yourself to them. I was told it’s not good for business. Well, the exact words were ‘We all build our own business strategies and our brand. I don’t judge you for what you do with yours — please don’t judge me for what I do with mine.’ I can assure getting attacked like I did was not part of my business strategy. This is where I differ from others, because I do care about my ‘friends.’ I have put myself on the line for others. I’ve never considered being ‘friends’ a business decision. Guess that’s why I’m not the best business person in the world.
I was told when I got hit like I did ‘to leave my writings behind.’ I was informed that because of this person that has attached herself to me I had only one alternative—to walk away from all my years of writing. Drop it and become someone else. I have fought this every step of the way.
I love my writings…good or bad, they are part of me. Doesn’t mean I won’t become anyone else. I know how. It’s just I don’t have any desire to be someone other than myself.
I have a couple of things going on this month. Broken Legacy is going to be released. I’ve poured my heart into this book. I’m also revamping the look to Winds of Betrayal Series. Then, we’ll see where I go.
For now, I’m going back into my bubble world. Did I tell you I like it there? I have decided I can’t worry about things I have no control over. I can only do the best I can. My daddy told me once, “If you can get up in the morning and look yourself in the mirror, you’ve done okay.”
The only thing I have control over is myself. You know what I want to do…write. That’s all. I just want to write.
Oh…did I mention that I won the history award that year from Mr. Stewart. He was one of my favorite teachers.