It started innocently enough. When I was about five I was opened to this whole world of books in what’s known as “the library”. The library is what I consider the marijuana of written word. It seems innocent – nice little ladies helping you to your section, kids in a circle being read the special of the week with their parents watching, everything for free. Psh, it’s just how they get you addicted! “Books aren’t addicting” they tell you, “they’re all natural fun” they lie. (Ok, not a lie, but you’re getting the metaphor.)
For me, the first book I ever became addicted to was “The Dancing Skeleton” by Cynthia C. DeFelice. I loved this book so much, I think I checked it out at least once a week for two solid months. In hindsight, my parents should have been worried then. The Dancing Skeleton is a sweet story of an old, crabby man who died. As his widow tries to find love, he refuses to allow her happiness and haunts her ass. In fact, this book was so important to me I found it on amazon a few years ago and bought it, just so I could add it to my collection.
The next step in my downward spiral was The Babysitters Club. Now, I don’t know how many of you remember, but back in the day you could actually join “the club” and they would send you 3 books a month with some other goodies. I would get the package in the mail and almost inhale the books. It got to the point my dad would give me the next in the series and hide the other two, just to give me some distance in between. Here folks, we see the family component of the addiction process. We like to call it… enabling. They thought “maybe if we just help her control it, she can read like a normal person in the future.” Didn’t work.
When the series was finished, I needed my next fix. And I needed bigger and badder. I had progressed from the “just having fun on the weekends” to the “preoccupation” stage. All I thought about were books – what could I read, when could I get it, how many would I be allowed to have at once. As awesome as my parents were, knowing I could read a book in a day, they weren’t too keen on bringing me to the bookstore all the time. By this point, the library was pointless. I’ve read everything I wanted to. I needed more.
You know where I thought I was safe? School. Yup – the books there were boring. At least in school I didn’t have the ability to see and want anything new. It was a few hours of peace. Until F*cking Scholastic came. Do you all remember that? Once a year they would come and set up shop in the auditorium. You would get a catalog like a week before which only held a portion of what they had in stock. Then you would have to beg your parents for money so you could buy books. Begging parents for money. For books. Scholastic might as well come dressed in a dark hoodie hiding behind the corner, urging you to “have a little… you’ll like it.”
Scholastic was the reason I got hooked into one of the more infamous stages of my addiction. R.L. Stein’s Fear Street. Good lord, I could not get enough of this series. Luckily for me, my local bookstore had like two full shelves worth of his books. It was super popular back then. Looking back – this was the crack cocaine of my reading life. It was my first real glimpse into a series in which all the books were stand-alone, yet you would recognize characters from different books. Stein even had series based off of a series. My favorite was the Fear Street Cheerleader’s saga. The way he incorporated people and events was amazing – in fact, series done in this style are my favorite which is why I wrote Fairy Tales After Dark as a series in this manner.
I think I’ve read every single Fear Street book. No joke. It was a dark, dark, time. For an introvert, finding a book series which seems never ending (I actually cried when I realized there weren’t more books to read) was like meeting Jesus and Santa while they were at dinner with Marilyn Monroe.
After the initial heartbreak of finishing the Fear Street books, I entered into a bit of a rehab if you will. By this point I was in high school, and between soccer, partying, friends, I had some reprieve. Sure, I would sneak a book here and there late at night when no one was looking. But I had it under control. I did.
After college I was hanging out with my sister in law and she introduced me to Jennifer Cruise’s book, Bet Me. It was as if I had been sober and doing well and suddenly given a hit at a party and forgot all the reasons why I stopped in the first place. I devoured as many of her books as I could. I was officially a romance junkie. The thing I loved about Jennifer’s books is they weren’t the cheesy rip-off-your-bodice romance. They were contemporary,
and funny, and the characters were real.
I could go on and on about all the series, and authors, and books, I’ve read since then. But I want to get to the heroin of the book addiction, just to warn readers of the danger of… Kindle.
Kindle is like the Las Vegas Casino of book retail. You know you’re spending money, yet it’s not “real” money, it’s the push of a button, and before you know it you’ve spend a few hundred on books. Then you learn about this “unlimited” option and OH MY GOSH you might as well be injecting the words directly into your veins. Any books I want, $10 a month? Hell yes. Que any Vegas montage here, yet add in novels instead of booze. You spend, you read, weeks go by and you neglect your responsibilities because you just have to finish “just this one last chapter I promise!”
Except then… then… you find a website called freebooksy.com (exactly what it sounds like. Free Books. Any genre you want. Every day an option or two for your Kindle). Freebooksy is the adult version of Scholastic, except free. Mother F*cking freebooksy.
So… what does a desperate person, in the depths of their addiction, decide to do? To write. Oh yes. It’s official. I’ve become a dealer myself. And you know what… I DON’T CARE. Bwa ha ha. Come my pretties, follow my blog, I’ll show you around the magical world of authors and their books. I’ll have interviews going forward (and more content on my mailing list, so be sure to join). And then… just when you get comfortable… I’m going to show you my book. It’s due in March, just enough time to build the anticipation. You’re going to desire it, crave it, need it more than air. But it won’t stop there, oh no. After you read Stealing Beauty, you’re going to want to continue. Because I know what I’m doing. I’ve researched, I’ve tried the product, and now, I’m making it. Might as well call me George Jung.
(Yeah, I know, the last paragraph was total self-promotion. I got a little carried away there. But seriously, check it out.)