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Basket Case & Support System

I know it does not seem like it but I am shy about new things. Shy about going to new places, meeting new people, trying out new things. I force myself into it because it is good to stretch my horizons and courage is what you do when you knees shake.

That said; thank the universe for my husband. He is my rock, my anchor, my support system. Last night we had the first of two (maybe three) readings for my newest anthology, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE URBAN KIND. It was at Wayward Coffeehouse in Seatlle. I had never been there before. So, I was nervous about that. I wasn't the one who set it up; one of my writers did, so I was nervous about that. It was the first reading, more nerves. First time I would see what my writers (Nathan Crowder, Rosemary Jones, and Erik Scott de Bie) thought of my editing, nerves-nerves-nerves.

As we were leaving, I had this wild urge not to go. Instead, I started asking husband outrageous questions: What if they aren't expecting us? What if no one shows up? What if people do and they hate the book? What if no one buys any books? What if my authors don't like the book? What if me winning that award for editing was a fluke?

On and on. Jeff calmly, patiently, answered each question as he drove us there. He made fun of me and in the end, he assured me that no matter what, it would all be OK. Really. He promised. And I felt better.

I had to. I had to put my public, fear-nothing game face on.

I was a basket case for nothing. Wayward Coffeehouse is wonderful, welcoming and has really good coffee. All of my authors were there and if they were nervous, didn't show it. We had people show up and they bought books. Nate, Rosemary, Erik, Jeff and I got to sit down and chat afterwards. It was a good time, thanks to everyone.

When I mentioned my nervousness, Erik and his wife talked about how Erik had not been nervous because "Jenn was taking care of it" but if I had not been, Erik would have been crazy nervous. It just brought it home to me about how difficult readings and signings can be for many authors. A lot of us are shy. We're better behind the screen. That smile most of us authors show hides a person quivering in terror.

It also brings home to me just how important a support system is for an author. My husband is the person who makes sure I can do what I love. He understands when I can't watch TV or play Aion with him because I'm on a deadline. He also drives me places because I'm too nervous to do so. We both –know- that if I had to, I could and would do it. But we also both know that him being there for me makes it so much easier.

The next reading of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE URBAN KIND will be on April 15th at the University Bookstore, 7-9pm - 4326 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105. Reading/signing: Jennifer Brozek, Nate Crowder, Erik Scott de Bie, Rosemary Jones, Alma Alexander and Mark Henry.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
cuddlycthulhu
Apr. 12th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
Will you be at BayCon this year and, if so, will you be doing any readings?
jennifer_brozek
Apr. 12th, 2010 07:04 am (UTC)
I will not be at BayCon. I will be visiting family before they disown me. :)
cuddlycthulhu
Apr. 12th, 2010 07:11 am (UTC)
Heh, ok. I might be coming up north for Westercon if I can find a job in the next few weeks. Will you be attending that?
naamah_darling
Apr. 12th, 2010 03:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, I would have been a little freaked out, too.

I mean, sure, when I was dancing I got to where I could go on stage in front of people in revealing outfits and shake my thang, but even reading a story to friends has my hands trembling and my voice shaking -- and that was something I very badly wanted to do. I don't know how I would react to the anticipated presence of people I didn't know.

Wonderful to have support, both in the form of good staff at the signing venue (it makes SUCH a difference) and for partners who are good at dealing with writerly nerves.
torreybird
Apr. 12th, 2010 03:07 pm (UTC)
My husband plays exactly the same role for me when I've done readings, went to my first con as an author, all of the above. What's funny is that he's the antisocial misanthrope - so if he's willing to go to a social thing to support me, to tell me that it will be OK, then I better pay attention.

I'm so glad the Wayward reading went well - I was certain it would, since it wasn't my turn to be nervous! Looking forward to the next one, though I hear I shouldn't plan to sleep after hearing Nate's story...
kmarkhoover
Apr. 12th, 2010 04:38 pm (UTC)
Excellent post, thank you for sharing.
eyezofwolf
Apr. 12th, 2010 07:24 pm (UTC)
I'm glad that it went so well for you. I can completely understand the nerves. I have almost talked myself out of many conventions and still get nervous going to them - even when it is one I have been to several times.

I'm sorry I could make the reading. I was scrambling to finish up a story and send it off for the Writer's Symposium work. I just ran out of time.
cochese
Apr. 12th, 2010 08:18 pm (UTC)
I'm always amazed by people who pull off the veneer of confidence. Nate especially always seems like he's got it together, even when he will claim otherwise.
tatterdamelion
Apr. 12th, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC)
Actually, I won't pretend to claim otherwise. ;)
I did theater and speech team in school, so I'm kind of used to the whole "getting up in front of people in new settings/functions" kind of thing.

However, put me at a party where I don't know anybody and I'm generally a bit uncomfortable and damn-near useless. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

That's why I was so thrilled to hang out with Jennifer and Maggie at Norwescon -- they were two people I knew who seemed to know other people when we did the party circuit. I hit the Tor party solo first -- lasted 10 minutes, then fled to the safety of a reading.

You were a rock star at Norwescon, Jen, instrumental in making that a brilliant con experience for me. :D
bolthy
Apr. 12th, 2010 10:54 pm (UTC)
Ah, sorry. I had vague recollections of expressing dislike for the experience. I may have misremembered.

Funny, I did theater and speech team in high school. Doesn't help me a lick. ;P
jennifer_brozek
Apr. 13th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
Thank you much.
flameshadow
Apr. 20th, 2010 11:31 pm (UTC)
Ha! I was thinking the same thing about you and Jenn! XD

I'm so glad it went well, Jenn! I think Andy fills that role for me, and at Norwescon when he was away, YOU filled that role for me! :-D

(To be honest, I'm not that surprised that it went well: and you *totally* deserved that award for editing! Congrats again on that, btw! ^_^)
jennifer_brozek
Apr. 20th, 2010 11:51 pm (UTC)
Well, it helps if I don't have a support person to become the support person for someone else. That way I can worry about them and not me. It's a weird transference thing. I kinda of understand it and role with it. :)
flameshadow
Apr. 21st, 2010 04:00 am (UTC)
Haha, it's a win-win! :-D
seductionjunkie
Apr. 13th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
He is an awesome husband and I'm VERY glad you both have each other, makes me happy that you two are so happy :)
xjenavivex
Apr. 15th, 2010 03:52 pm (UTC)
I have faith that no matter how nervous you are in a situation, you will always come across as the amazing professional you are. jeff is awesome. I am so glad he is your rock. I have one of those and I know what a difference it can make.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )