Evernight Teen Publishing

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Black Amaranth: My dark world filled with color.

Black Amaranth was released August 16, 2013. My debut novel...my baby. This was a day at times I feared would never come. Now, it's here and gone. The thrill and glitter still remain but now it's more like a glow.

With the release, a litany of questions cropped up.

Am I as far ahead in the sequel as I should be at this point in the game?

Will Black Amaranth live up to certain expectations? Will the sequel?

What will it feel like to read the reviews? Good or bad?

How are the sales performing?

Was it enough?

I had a moment, a special moment that came under strange circumstances. With the release, I had to take an author picture. You'll never see me blow up any media sites with glamour shots of myself. 14 years of blissful marriage and 2 beautiful girls later, I am not, um, quite the girl I used to look like.

I refused to get a professional picture taken. I'm painfully shy in front of the camera. Having my husband take it was bad enough. He has the patience of a saint. After two hours of "posing" for pictures, I deemed them all to be evil works of the Devil.

Each one seemed to accentuate my chin in a bad way, or I looked bloated, old...simply not as I once was.

I sat down, frustrated. I picked up a book, began reading while sipping on piping hot coffee. My husband quickly snapped a shot. He said, "This is it. This one's you."


Feeling overwhelmed, all the above mentioned questions surfaced in my head. It was like they were taking turns having a fist fight in my brain. I just wanted to read a book and drink coffee. At this point, I was DONE with pictures. He insisted I look. Closing my book, setting my coffee down, I let out a long sigh and looked at the camera.

The picture forced me to chew on a lot of things. One by one, the above mentioned questions were replaced with answers.

Black Amaranth lived up to my expectations. After all, it was the world I created. I gave it life. I should have faith in what I breathed life into.

The sequel will find its way too.

I've been published. Reviews will come. Good and bad. Sometimes it's not what happens to you, but how you react. Good reviews will certainly put a smile on my face. Bad reviews are simply the opinion of another. There might actually be something worth taking away. I don't know. It's a bridge I'll cross when I get there.

Sales: It's a bottomless pit that's unpredictable. I'm not going to let myself get swallowed up by the unknown. I will simply...continue. I'm a writer. That's what I'll stick to. Percentages give me a headache.

And then the picture. That's me. Before and after Black Amaranth I was and still am a reader. I love books. I love coffee. I wear black. My hair is usually in a bun of sorts. On the rare occasions I wear mascara, I usually forget that I have it on and rub my eyes resulting in smudges or burning eyes. Sometimes both.

Jane Eyre is undeniably one of my favorite novels. There's much to learn from her character. I relate with her. My picture helped put things back in perspective. I am Sasha Hibbs. I am a plain Jane. It's not the clothes I wear, but the person wearing them. I will never be revered a great beauty. There's a million of those creatures out there. I want to stand out. With my words. My laptop is my makeup. I want my fingertips to write beauty into things, places, times.

This is ME. The girl behind the book, reading about another world, words churning in her head, idea's surfacing. That's who I am. That's who I will remain.

Tomorrow I have an interview with the Clarksburg Exponent. I am thrilled. I'm not nervous about pictures. Not anymore. After all, it's not about what I look like. It's not about the girl wearing black. It's about Black Amaranth. It's about the journey. It's about reading and writing.

I'll show up tomorrow wearing my trademark black, hair pulled back into a bun. Maybe I'll spice it up a bit and wear some mascara. I'll try to remember I'm wearing it. But I'll show up for my interview with something else. The most important thing: my words. I have a kaleidoscope of words that are bursting with color and brightness. I have a story to tell that's full of life, and energy, and vividness.

My words...that's what I want to be beautiful.