My Lowest Point as an Author After the Book Launch

My Lowest Point as an Author After the Book Launch

Depression sucks, and this is the only way I can start this post. In fact, bipolar disorder sucks because, I don’t know, I’ve learned that bipolar depression and depression are different, in that in bipolar depression, irritability and rage seem to be more common–and believe me, I have plenty of irritability to go around. I hate the irritability because it makes it so difficult to connect with people, and I tend to get snappish. Sometimes I just want to break down crying when I’m around my fiance because he is being so attentive and loving, and I just can’t reciprocate because I am literally paralyzed by my depression and irritability. I desperately want to talk to him and cry in front of him, but I feel so paralyzed. 

In any case, Shannon Thompson wrote about one of her lows as an author, and I thought I would do the same, even though my lows have to do with depression. 

During the launch week, I didn’t feel the sting of depression at all because I was on Cloud 9 with all the exposure my book was receiving. I knew it was being bought, and even if my Amazon ranking sucks right now, I’m confident the e-book will do well–or I should be confident–because I plan to do different giveaways for the book blitzes–like Amazon gift cards instead of e-ARCs. I feel like that by the time the e-book releases, an e-ARC might discourage people from buying the e-book due to the fact that they just might wait around until the giveaway is over with.


In spite of When Stars Die being published, I have fallen from the high I had last week. The launch week was wonderful and beautiful and gave me the confidence I needed as a writer, but now that I’m done with that, I am filled again with crippling self-doubt: What if my book doesn’t sell as well as I want it to? What if my royalty check blows, pointing to the fact that my book isn’t selling well? What if, even when the e-book comes out, all the people who can’t wait to read it never buy it because of monetary reasons or they have other books they want to read first? In fact, in spite of being on YA Interrobang, Veronica Roth’s book obviously stole the show from all the other authors’ books who were being released that day, like Mary Gray’s The Dollhouse Asylum. Even though my book is in a store, is anyone buying it? I know one person bought it, and that put me on a super huge high during launch week.

When Monday came, I could barely get out of bed, so I stayed home, stayed in bed practically all day, slept, and missed class because I just couldn’t do it. Even now I can barely do it, but I have to so I don’t get dropped from my classes with a fail. I even so desperately wanted to cut myself–mostly my thighs and wrists–but I didn’t do it, ONLY BECAUSE MY LEOTARD AND TIGHTS WOULD NEVER COVER THEM UP. If it weren’t for ballet, I may have fallen prey to the blade. 

It wasn’t the self-doubt of my book that brought upon this intense depression. It was just falling from the high I had during that week, the awesomeness ebbing away, and me just feeling the depression once more. It’s discouraging because my Lamictal is currently at 150 mg, and I don’t notice an improvement at all. Not one single improvement–not even a tiny bit. While I’m on Klonopin and it gives me patience, I feel like I need to up my dose now, because the previous week, it made my head clear and didn’t allow the depression to incapacitate me. And this terrifies me because what if I have to have electroshock therapy, like Esther in The Bell Jar? I know that’s a totally irrational thought considering there are plenty of meds for bipolar individuals out there, but Abilify worked for a time, then crapped out. Upping the dose of Abilify did not improve my mood, so Abilify stopped working period.

There are a few lucky individuals out there whose meds work for a long time and seem to work for the rest of their lives. My grandmother is on Lamictal, and while she is not blood-related, she seems to be holding strong with it.

Why can’t I be one of those lucky individuals? 

Everything has been so hard because of this stupid depression. While this semester is easier than the semester I had in the fall, it’s still so difficult to get out of bed and get things going. I still have this strong feeling that I’ll end up in a psyche ward again. I don’t know why. Sometimes I have this sense of impending doom that I’m going to do something awful to myself, even though I have yet to do so.

As soon as I get up and start my day, all I can think about is going right back to bed and napping until dinnertime–the Klonipin at least lets me nap comfortably. And even with ballet, my thoughts constantly switch between going and not going. I know going ups my mood, but it’s the going that is so difficult because all I do is want to sleep, sleep, sleep, so I don’t have to feel the depression raging in my brain.

It really sucks, because even though I have a book blitz going on this week, nothing can get me out of this. I have even been writing on The Stars Are Infinite, and I like the direction it’s going, but it’s not doing a thing for me.

Like Shannon, I am trying so hard to up my mood, to be put back on the high I was on during launch week, but I can’t do it. I simply can’t do it. It’s this stupid flaw in my chemistry that makes it all so difficult. It’s this stupid flaw in my chemistry that brings upon the self-doubt, because I’m certain if I wasn’t depressed, I would be totally blowing up my social media right now, being chatty with everyone, being personable, being proud of my freaking book. But, no, that doesn’t want to happen and isn’t going to happen, probably not until the e-book’s launch, or until my freaking meds start working. 

So I want to leave you all with a picture quote from When Heaven Was Blue (it says His Vanity in the corner, but that is no longer the current title of the book), a contemporary fantasy I hope to get back to work on in December (involving mental illness, of course), because this is exactly how I feel right now. gene

But in spite of feeling this way, I don’t want to discourage anyone else. All I can do is keep writing and keep publishing, and for now, that is what keeps me tethered to this world, even when everything else is so impossible to connect to. I want to be honest with all my Stars. I don’t want you thinking that now that I have a book published, I’m living cozy in my house, sipping moscato, while pounding out another brilliant book and not lacking in confidence what-so-ever. 

Tomorrow I am going to blog about what an anonymous user on Tumblr told me about my publication path. 

A Review of The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

A Review of The Dollhouse Asylum by Mary Gray

14741373I received a free ARC from Spencer Hill Press in exchange for a review.


Elysian Fields, a place cut off from the rest of the world due to a virus known as the Living Rot, is meant to be a paradise for Cheyenne and the others who have been kidnapped and brought to the small subdivision. But that’s just it. They were kidnapped and are now forced to play parts that Teo Richardson, the one who brought them to Elysian Fields, wants them to play. And if they don’t play the parts in a way that pleases him, they will no longer remain in Elysian Fields.

The Dollhouse Asylum is reminiscent of  Lucy Christopher’s Stolen–only much, much creepier. Cheyenne, and the others she was brought with, have been bestowed with new names that–Cheyenne’s being Persephone–“reflect the most tragic romances ever told” (back cover of The Doll House Asylum). But there is something sinister with these tragic romances that makes The Dollhouse Asylum fairly unique among the YA genre.

At first, Cheyenne was a character for me that was hard to like because it was obvious that there was something off about Teo right up front because of the mere fact that he had to kidnap people in order to bring them to Elysian Fields. She was obsessed with Teo in unhealthy ways, but I suspect Mary Gray didn’t want us to sympathize with Cheyenne’s affections, as she doesn’t write Teo in a way that makes him likeable at all, not even in the beginning. Cheyenne’s affections seemed almost Stockholm Syndrome-like, but she soon loses any and all feelings she had for Teo when he does something unforgivable. This is when Cheyenne starts planning to escape Elysian Fields, knowing it is not the paradise Teo made it out to be.

Then there is the Living Rot, which are your basic zombies. Teo brought Cheyenne and everyone else to Elysian Fields to help them escape the scourge of the Living Rot, and even showed them footage of the Living Rot overtaking their world. Immediately I knew there was something off about Teo’s supposed desire to protect them from the Living Rot, and I suspect Mrs. Gray wants us to know this because it makes Teo that much more sinister. And it does. To question whether or not the Living Rot may or may not be real casts Teo in a vicious light that makes any and all background story to try and justify why he is the way he is obsolete.

As for the pacing, it starts out slow initially. What Teo does at first to determine who gets to stay in Elysian Fields and who leaves is to have his inhabitants hold parties. These inhabitants are divided off into couples to match their tragic romances: Romeo and Juliet, for example. If their soiree doesn’t meet Teo’s satisfaction, they are gone. The pacing picks up after the first party, and this is when Cheyenne, and the readers, realize what a monster Teo truly is.

Teo himself is a well-crafted antagonist. Mary Gray does an excellent job of creating the perfect psychopath. Teo is obsessed with numbers, Originally there are eight couples at Elysian Fields, but he wants to bring that number down to seven. Then, eventually, he wants to bring that number down to three. He is also into literature, art, and math, all subjects that point to his incredible intelligence. Being the typical psychopath, it is impossible for him to feel empathy or sympathy. Any atrocities he commits he laughs at, and Cheyenne has no choice but to pretend the atrocities don’t bother her in order to protect herself and receive an elusive vaccine that Teo says will protect them all from the Living Rot.

Elysian Fields is also a very dark place. While the interior of the houses give off this façade of grandeur, Elysian fields is surrounded by a forest of thick trees–and a barbwire fence. Cheyenne also manages to run into a snake at the beginning of the book, one that seems to be purposely placed. Elysian Fields alone had me questioning the validity of the Living Rot. Yes, one could suspect the fence was to keep the Living Rot out, but after Teo’s first atrocity, one has to question the ultimate purpose of the fence.

The one thing that I disliked in this novel was the overall development of the relationship between Cheyenne and Teo’s brother, Marcus. There doesn’t seem to be enough of these two for me to feel any true attachment to their relationship. I did want Cheyenne and Marcus to end up together since there is so much darkness in this book, but I don’t feel like they were developed enough as a couple. With how many times they sneak out and go to the fence, one would think there would be more sneaking out and seeing one another in order to develop some more intimacy between the two. I understand this is risky, but throughout the book, I felt that Teo wasn’t keeping an eye on them that much to make certain they weren’t doing anything that would anger him. But this facet of the book in no way ruins the book for me.

I give The Dollhouse Asylum a 4.5 stars out of 5.