Deb Susan knows about fear… and ice cream

I’ve mentioned before that fear is an author’s constant traveling companion, and that I rely on my friends – my worry marines – to help me through. I may or may not have mentioned that I thrive under pressure and usually get sick when the stress lets up. (Sad but true – especially when I take vacations at Christmastime.)

Putting that all together, I thought I’d handle the upcoming book launch without much trouble. I’m a literary attorney, for crying out loud. You’d think I’d know a thing or two about book deals and publication.

Not so much.

Working as a publishing lawyer prepares an author for publication about as much as this I Love Airplanes video prepares you to fly – and land – an F-14.


In other words, not much.

As if to prove that Yes, Virginia, things can always get scarier, my book is launching one month after my only son graduates from high school and one month before he goes away to college – and his orientation overnight (which 70% of parents DO attend) takes place just five days after Claws of the Cat releases.

Oh, and my law partner of over ten years retired in May, making this the perfect time to open the boutique solo practice I’d been considering.

I’m not just on speaking terms with fear … at this point, it’s speaking for me.

And yet, the process has taught me some critical lessons about myself and life in general. Here’s a sample:

1. Good reviews – even national ones – will not eradicate your fear that people will hate your book.

2. However, stepping into cat puke, barefoot, at 2am WILL take your mind off the cause of your sleepless night.

4. Hot fudge sundaes offer a nicer way of forgetting your troubles. Whenever possible, go with the sundae instead of the puke.

5. Taking on ALL THE CRISES at once minimizes the number of hours you have to dwell on each, and also ensures variety in your day!

6. Remember that hot fudge sundae? That was good. Let’s have another!

7. Every person who likes your book will earn a special place in your heart FOREVER. No exceptions. You will find yourself loving people you’ve never met in person (and might never meet). This is awesome. And it helps the fear.

8. Cats are awesome. Except when they’re trying to steal your hot fudge sundae. Or puking on the rug at 2am.

9. If you have teenagers, don’t tell them about the sundae thing. They’ll remember. And they’ll use that knowledge well – and use it often.

and, finally:

10. By the time you reach the final month before your release, you won’t be able to count to ten without missing #3.

But perhaps the most important lesson I’ve learned from this summer and this launch is this:

I will survive this fear, and when it’s your turn you will too. The fear alone won’t kill us.

And since that’s the case, remember to take time to enjoy the process (and the sundaes).

Because, at the end of the day, it’s living a dream, even if it’s scary sometimes.

Have you ever had a dream come true and discovered it was scarier than you imagined? I’d love to hear your story in the comments!


4 Replies to “Deb Susan knows about fear… and ice cream”

  1. You’re book will be great, your son will do great (and so will you without him), and your boutique practice will do great. There. I’ve said it — let it be so. 🙂 (Did that get rid of your fear? Probably not…)

    But seriously, that’s a lot of life change happening all at once. Reef-watching (while eating a sundae?) will hopefully help you lessen the stress.

    Are you going to Bouchercon, by any chance? I just registered…Felt a little spark of fear just doing that! I’ll hopefully have ARCs, but mainly I’m just going to have fun, make new friends, and practice being an author. Self-promotion is scary!

    1. Thank you Lisa!! This may not eradicate the fear, but it did send it off to a time out for a while 🙂

      I’m not going to make Bouchercon this year, because it conflicts with RMFW’s Colorado Gold conference (and I’m teaching and signing at Colorado Gold) but I’m planning to attend 2014’s conference in Long Beach because the November dates don’t conflict with my other obligations.

      Enjoy the conference, though – it’s supposed to be fabulous – and don’t worry! Mystery lovers are always looking for a new book and author to love!

  2. Did you mention a hot fudge sundae! Because I’m liking the sounds of that!! Nothing like the triple slam to get your adrenaline racing – but I agree with Lisa that it will all work out brilliantly. And we have control over these things.

    1. The sundae is calling…do not resist. It will get you eventually. 🙂

      And thank you. The good news is, it does pass, and I’m taking time to enjoy the process even though the fear.

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