Page 1. That's right. The first page.
When I earlier talked about bad publishing deals
, here's what tf I meant. See the part highlighted in the picture above? That's from the first chapter, first page of my novel, Minister of Justice
. The original manuscript read like this: "The body the station had
But, in their infinite and cut-rate wisdom, the publisher
and editor decided I used the word "had" too much. "It makes it too passive," they said. So I painstakingly went through the manuscript and changed the majority of instances where "had" appeared. But I left that one, because, um, it fucking needed to be there.
So they went through, and I shit you not, used find-and-replace in Word to get rid of every fucking instance of the word "had" in the manuscript. And in the process, changed a perfectly good sentence into a FIRST FUCKING PAGE MISTAKE.
I pointed it out to them.
But if you pick up a printed copy of Minister of Justice
(and you should, because despite their worst efforts, it's still a good novel), you can still see that mistake in the first page. And there are numerous other mistakes throughout the manuscript, some of which are mine (I type fast, and when I'm writing on an iPhone, autocorrect is not my friend), but most of which were introduced during the editing process.
I can't tell you how frustrating that is.
All of this came up because my mother is now reading the book. Whenever someone I know reads my work, I go back and re-read it to see what they're seeing. OCD much? Yes, thank you.
Of course, her first instinct was to defend herself against what she saw as attacks on her in the book:
The "mostly fiction" thing is something I wrote when I signed her copy of the book. Fuck me for trying to be funny. Still, I don't blame her. No one wants to see themselves through the eyes of someone whose view isn't completely positive. I guess she got her revenge by calling me greasy-haired (completely untrue, for the record):
Yeah, you read that right. My mom told me to make my novel's mom a "sexy vixen." Is it any wonder my mind isn't right?
Still, her reading the novel made me go back and look through it, and I really do like it. Love it, even. Despite the fact that buying it would cause money to undeservedly go into the pockets of the publisher, I still think you should buy it, because I want you to read my work. I have not made a single dime from that publisher on Minister, (I have made some respectable money selling it on my own) but that doesn't matter. I just want people to read my books. I have a good business; I don't need to make a lot of money on books. I just want people to read them.
That sounds pathetic, so for the record: I made good money on Deadly Vows. In person-to-person sales, I made good money on Minister of Justice. Though I hate to give that publisher any money, fact is, Minister is a damn good book, and I enjoyed reading it to see what my mom was reading.
You will too. If you can't afford 14.95 to buy the paperback on Amazon (and Jesus, that's a lot of money for a paperback), the Kindle version is a lot cheaper. Doesn't make me any difference, as long as you read it. The shady-ass publisher isn't sending me any cash either way, so just get the cheapest version and start reading!
My mom appears to love it:
(Troy is my brother. Candi is my older sister)
Also, have I mentioned that my mother came here for Christmas, and immediately made an impression on my kids?
I was surprised when Axl asked this morning, "Why did the grandma leave?"
And then, tonight, as April and I were watching season three of Girls (an excellent show, by the way), he kept coming in and pasting stickers to my head:
Shut up. I know I'm old.
His reason? "I love the stickers the grandma gave me." I didn't even know she had given him stickers. Apparently, they were in the first page of a coloring book she had given him.
Ah well, he had fun. By the end of the night, I had something like 20 stickers on my head.
More importantly, my view of my parents is colored by my perspective, my prejudices, my peculiar psychology. By all accounts, my father, who was horrible to me, was an excellent grandfather. And my mother clearly made my children feel special.
Regardless of the real or perceived slights we have all experienced, we owe it to our children to let them experience a world unencumbered by our prejudices. I can be grumpy about my upbringing, but in the long run, my kids should have the opportunity to develop their own opinions, even if those are divergent from mine.
My parents weren't malicious. They did the best they could to raise their four children, and it's easy for me to sit back, using modern understanding, and judge them. I would have done it differently. But I wasn't a parent in the 1970s. I was a child. I'm a parent now, and my parenting style differs greatly from theirs. In 40 years, my kids will be bitching about what a horrible parent I was, despite the fact that I'm doing the very best I know how to do.
So I'm going to give my parents a break, at least as far as my kids are concerned.
My mom made my kids love her. And I'm happy about that.