My stomach churned with acid and I fed it coffee, shutting out the self-destructive whispers encouraging me to abandon this pursuit. But as I turned the corner into my office, I saw the message scribbled on my tiny chalkboard: Publish or Perish.
In that moment, I wanted to perish.
But I sank to the ground, positioning myself in front of the plastic tub that holds my laptop--the makeshift desk I fashioned when I moved back to New Orleans a year ago. My old desk didn't survive the trip out of my old office, much less the trip from northern Louisiana.
For hours, I fought with various uploading systems and formatting requirements, making all the final arrangements to let people read the book I wrote, if only in electronic form.
And then, I stalled.
Paul told me, "Julie! You're a published author!"
I made a pained, jarring sound, a shriller cousin to Tina Belcher's signature groan. "I can't. I can't right now. I'm sorry. That's not for right now." I don't remember the exact words, honestly, because panic had taken me hostage by that point.
Until I forced myself to click the appropriate buttons and type out the neurotic disclaimers and publicize the publication of my dark fantasy novel, because to do anything else would have been equally impossible.
Now, I'm exhausted. I'm touched by the kindness of the people in my life. I am a self-published person.
And I can't wait to torment myself anew when the paperbacks release in a few days.