Growth hurts. Pushing outside my boundaries twists my brain and wrenches my gut and I just gasp and close my eyes and try to get some oxygen. Just one big, clean breath of fresh air before I throw up from sheer nerves. Yep, that tinge of bitter bile in the back of my throat, the flushed face, the sense of impending doom: it’s all there. Growth can be scary – but scary can be good.
It would be easier to just keep writing gay romance because I already have a publisher who seems to like me. Why rock the boat, right? Why not just carve myself a little niche and settle in and crank those adventurous love stories out, one by one. Because it’s a cop-out, that’s why. Because fear of rejection is not a good enough reason not to try something new. It’s not strong enough to bar the way to other types of stories. They clamor for attention. New characters rise their voices, do stupid things, do brave things.
Old women. Young women. WOMEN. Writing about guys is fun in its own way, but we need women, too, and those women better be formidable. Strong and real and unafraid of what life has to offer. Well, maybe not all of them will be so tough at first, but they’ll learn, and younger women will be inspired, and learn from them.
Thrillers with diminutive art students caught up in the outbreak of war.
Suspense that revolves around a crone with decades of experience as a martial arts instructor.
Diamond smugglers, either aided or thwarted by their women.
But I really didn’t want to write about that today. I wanted to write about how vulnerable it feels to know Mugen Press is sending out Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of my adventure/memoir book to major review venues. Does the New York Times Book Review really need to know? Will Ari Shapiro of the NPR fame really be even remotely interested in a story of a Czech family crossing the border into the West in 1979? Does any of that really matter?
Time will tell. For now I’ll hunker down and press outside that comfort zone of mine, for the membrane that encloses our comfort zones is made of a thin, stretchy layer of fear.