I have great news! TIARA TROUBLE, the first in the Destinee Faith Miller Mystery series, will be available for purchase on 10/28/2013. Eee!
And that’s the cover, right there! All Destinee’d up with her signature pink and zebra. You knew Destinee’s signature colors were pink, black, and zebra, right? Unlike her trampy arch-nemesis, Tishelle Tucker, whose signature colors are red, black, and leopard.
So, now with a release date set, and behind the scenes plans going into action, I will admit to you that I am scared. What if it flops? What if people hate it? Why did I write so many words? Is anyone going to get my sense of humor? What if I’m not a good writer?
A lot of what-ifs, people. Ultimately, if it flops, it flops, and if people hate it, they hate it. I wrote so many words because they seemed necessary at the time, and if I continued to second guess myself, it would have been whittled down to the length of a magazine article. If no one gets my sense of humor, that’s fine–like that hasn’t happened before. I’m okay with the sound of crickets. And, I know I write well. Whether, or not other people agree that I write novels well is yet to be seen.
I think I got so used to people telling me that I wasn’t ever living up to my fullest potential that I never think my efforts are my best. Or, maybe I’m afraid they are. And if they are, what does that mean? Does that mean I am not the rare Sparklefly my mother thinks I am?!
I think about that a lot when it comes to how I parent. I see a lot of myself in Thor. He is an exceptionally smart child, and he is an exceptionally creative daydreamer–those two things don’t add up to Straight A Student. That doesn’t mean he isn’t living up to his fullest potential, though. That means that this is his groove.
Grades don’t show potential. Grades show self-discipline. Kind of like being an accomplished musician is different from being a talented musician. You can be taught to play anything. You can’t be taught to create. What is ideal is when you have the self-discipline to make the grades, and the potential to turn that self-discipline/learning into something.
I tell Thor that he must strive for excellence. I expect him to try his hardest, and not give up. I don’t expect him to make perfect scores, but I expect him to work toward getting things right–he should want to get things right. I don’t expect him to be the top of his class, all honors, everybody’s all-American. I expect him to fully utilize his resources, and do the work. Where he lands, he lands.*
I have, and will continue to impress upon him that education/school is what gives you the tools to build a future. Does he want a brain that is like the little pig who built his house out of straw, or does he want a brain that is like the little pig who built his house out of bricks? Well, he has to have to right tools to build the kind of brain he wants, and the right tools are often heavy and take more effort to lift.
Writing this, I am thinking about the wonderful teachers I had, who outweighed the awful ones. Good teachers are brain-tool salesmen, who make you think you can’t live without knowing how to parse a sentence, or solve a quadratic equation. You just have to have that ability to name the colors in the rainbow! You absolutely MUST get in on that ability to recite the Gettysburg Address! You cannot possibly go another day without reading The Scarlet Letter! Because good teachers get you to buy in to the mental body building it takes to wield the tools, and the stamina necessary to keep going.
It isn’t necessary to be a sparklefly. Sparklefly is only good for so much. But it is necessary to build a solid foundation and the self-discipline to put that foundation to work. Enough elbow grease can shine up an ordinary fly to look sparkly.
I worked hard at TIARA TROUBLE, and I’m not going to lie and tell you I didn’t on the chance that it fails. You know, so I could say, “Well, it’s not like it was my best effort.” I honestly don’t know what my best effort looks like. All I can tell you is that I worked very hard and I am proud of the result, and I really hope you like it. I hope it makes you laugh. I like it. I’ve had to read it about 60 times now, and I still make myself laugh.
So, thank you Mrs. Farr, Mrs. Mendina, Dr. Chaisson, Dr. Morris, Mrs. Monroe, Mrs. Anderson, Mr. Cargile, Mrs. Mack, and Mrs. Barnes. You were excellent brain-tool salespeople, and the fact that I am a functioning adult, much less a published author at all is a credit to your mad skillz.
*There is no Tiger to this Mom. That might not be something to be proud of, I don’t know. I guess I’ll find out in about 20 years.