Tiptoe-ing into the guest room…
“Oh, good. You’re awake. I brought you tea and…cookies. I stayed up all night baking them. I burned a few…oh, okay. I burned most of them. But the ones on the top of the pile should be pretty good.” I place the cookies and cup of tea on the bedside table.
“You don’t have to get out of bed, as long as you are in Mia’s Guest Room, it’ll work just fine…oh, you want your dachshund slippers?” I bend over to pick them up off the shaggily carpeted floor. “Here you go! No, no let me…”
I gently slide a slipper onto each delicate foot.
“Now you look more comfortable, Raine. Are you ready to start? Great…mind if I sit at the foot of the bed?” I push a couple of pillows onto the floor and sit down. “By the way, I love your Mumford and Sons T-shirt–super cool! So, uh…whenever you are ready…”
After a sip of tea, a nibble of a cookie, the FABULOUS Raine O’Tierney clears her throat.
“I’ve been thinking a lot lately about social networking and how utterly stressful it can be for a brand new author. When I take off my tiny hat and my hot pink glasses and my faux mustache and become regular ol’ library lady, I love getting on and seeing what my co-workers and colleagues are all up to! I like to comment on their photos, chat with them, ‘like’ particularly witty posts—it’s all very easy and natural. When I have to do the same thing as Raine O’Tierney? It sometimes becomes a challenge!
When I received my first contract last year, I knew I was going to have to network. So I got myself all set to go onto the major social networking sites and I stepped into the world, friending other authors, and I was immediately hit with feelings of panic and inadequacy. It was like changing schools mid-year and walking into a cafeteria where everyone is already friends!
So I stood there with my proverbial lunch tray, not knowing where in the world to sit, eventually finding a little corner by myself and wondering—was it always going to be this way?
The answer is NO. No, it won’t. I know it’s hard feeling like the newbie and the odd man out, but it will get easier. I’ve made some KICKASS friends and I’ve learned some lessons along the way. If you’re feeling alone, consider the following pieces of advice that were given to me:
- Be helpful! If an author asks for advice about a subject you know about—talk to them!
- Be friendly! Maybe not such a good idea to start a fistfight when you’re trying to make friends. Don’t talk crap on people. Be positive.
- Don’t be a walking advertisement! Seriously, don’t. It’s WONDERFUL to announce that you’ve just got your first galley or to remind people to come to your public chat, but you will only turn people off if every post is a reminder to buy your book.
- You’re MORE than just an author! What are your other interests? Give a shout-out to your favorite show, post art you’ve done, or just celebrate your love of dachshunds. It’s all about connecting with people in a variety of ways!
- Support other authors! Tell an author if you loved their book and if someone asks for a beta reader in a genre you enjoy? Consider offering your help!
And the biggest one (and hardest for me!)…
- BE PATIENT! It takes a while for people to get to know you and if you panic and run away, they never will. I was told (repeatedly) that once my first work actually came out, conversations with people would happen more naturally. Of course, I decided this couldn’t possibly be true and spent months feeling isolated… Then the release drops and wouldn’t you know it? Conversation happens naturally.
Know this—you’re not alone in how you feel. (Most) all of us have felt this way to varying degrees. It’s hard to believe when you first walk into that cafeteria, but you really are part of one of the coolest, most supportive groups in the world! Give it time, you’ll find the whole cafeteria is yours.
(Thank you, Mia Kerick, for having me on your blog!)”
“Oh, Raine, you are so very welcome! It was my pleasure!”
“And you are absolutely glowing this morning.” (Don’t you agree, audience?)
“Is that a gift for me?” I lift a book from the deep mauve bedspread. “Your very first short story? Under the Table and Into His Heart! Well, sweetheart,” I lean toward the top of the bed and hug my guest blogger firmly, “I am speechless. I mean, you didn’t have to do this…but I’m so very glad you did!!”
Under the Table and Into His Heart by Raine O’Tierney
At the Under the Table host club, Valentine’s Day means one thing: cash. Neglected housewives, newly ex-girlfriends, and lovelorn thirtysomethings pay for the attention of handsome men. Shy bartender Jem has always wanted to be a host, and when the club’s owner, Miss Rye, accepts a contract from a MensLove Convention, Jem volunteers to flirt and make out with another host for the ladies’ entertainment. Bailey, an older man who’s had his eye on Jem, convinces Miss Rye to let him be Jem’s partner, and everyone gets more than they expected—especially Jem and Bailey.
“It was just playacting,” he said emphatically, hoping to make it true. His breath escaped in a little white plume that quickly dissipated on the night air. No. No, it wasn’t.
“Maybe for you.”
Bailey had slipped through the door unnoticed, so that when he spoke, Jem started. He turned on Bailey. “All of that—the kissing—it was real for you?”
“You… like me?”
No one had ever liked him in his whole life. Tolerated him, for the sake of Renzy, yes. But liked him? He could remember standing next to Renzy at school, while his brother received one love confession after another from the girls in their class. They had faces so similar they could almost have been identical twins—if not for the eyes. Renzy was always the one people were drawn to.
“I can take it back if you want,” Bailey said quietly. “If you think I’m too old. Or if you’re not interested in being with a man. I’ll say I was joking just then, and we can pretend it was just a job.”
“You can do that? Just pretend?”
“No. Not really. I doubt I’ll be able to delude myself after tasting you. But for your sake, I can try. All you have to do is tell me that you want me to pretend.”
Cover image and author photo
Attached in the email! J
Raine O’Tierney is an always-writing, boundlessly enthusiastic, exclamation point addict! (!!!) She is known for declaring every day “the best day EVER!” and every thing her “all-time FAVORITE!” Despite this (obnoxious?) exuberance, she still somehow manages to have a wonderfully encouraging husband, Siôn, (who also writes M/M rom!) and an amazing group of friends and colleagues who continue to support (read: put up with) her. Raine spends her days working as a library lady, fighting the good fight for intellectual freedom.
Website and social media links