Well, Shield Maiden had an incredible publication day! There were some fantastic reviews, which you can read here:
Sifa Elizabeth Reads
The Strawberry Post
The Bibliophile Chronicles
SF Book Reviews
Pub day was a pretty profound experience, really. I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't want to be a published novelist. From the time I could clutch a crayon in my little hand and scribble "words" on a piece of paper, I dreamed of writing stories that would make people feel the things I felt when I experienced stories others had written, first read to me by my mother and later read for myself. "Writer" has always been part of my identity, even when I was awful at it. Even when I wrote three other novels that received rejection after rejection and ultimately never got published. Even when I decided I had to go back to grad school to get an MFA to be able to write Shield Maiden the way I wanted to write it. Nothing--not the rejection, not the feeling of defeat, not the feeling of failure--ever changed the fact that I knew I was meant to be a writer.
And finally, that day has happened. The communications started to slowly turn from "no" into "yes," starting with Kristina, my incredible agent. We then got another pile of "no"s when the book went on submission, but then everything changed. One traditional publisher in the UK said "yes," and then one of the Big New York Four added their "yes" to the pile, and suddenly I find myself facing a dream not to be longed for and denied...but fulfilled, real, and genuine.
For the first time in my life, I actually feel like myself.
And a remarkable thing happened yesterday when my book launched and I started seeing photos of friends and family holding it in their hands. All my fear and anxiety about being a writer just...vanished. My biggest fear, always, was that I would never be published, and that can no longer ever happen. No one and nothing can negate the fact that my book is, in fact, published and out there now, and no bad reviews or one-star rankings can ever change that.
I will always work to become a better writer, and I'm happily plugging away at several new book ideas, but I do so not with dread or fear of rejection--which I know will inevitably come. I write because I am a writer, and that label no longer feels like a costume or disguise I put on to fool myself or others. It's just...me. I'm a writer, and so I write.