Monday, June 17, 2019

Why I'm Not Happy About My Book Deal (or anything else)

Ever since I signed a three-book contract earlier this year, I've been going through this thing. Where I tell someone about it and they exclaim, "Oh, you must be so thrilled! Congratulations!" "Thanks, I'm terrified, actually," I say, fidgeting in my seat and feeling my cheeks heat—certain the person will think me ungrateful, but unable to lie and feign joy. And then the rest of the words tumble out of me. About the anxiety, the depression, the fear that I will fail. Nothing the person asked to hear. All they want is to be happy for me and I can't allow them, or myself, that moment.

My struggles with mental illness are no secret. I was in a depressive low even before my agent emailed me in March to let me know an editor wanted this book, this series. I had commitments to write a column for Frolic.Media that I kind of just...bailed on. (Sorry, Frolic!) I was barely poking at new fiction projects. The book news just sent me deeper into the spiral. Weeks turned into months of darkness. Of staring at my Word document in despair. Of listening to that voice in my head, whispering like Iago, "You're going to fail. You're going to die before you finish this book." Pushing myself out of the house—and ostensibly out of my head—inevitably meant going to local bars...and "celebratory" cocktails quickly turned into "drink until I cry" cocktails and "black out when I get home" cocktails. 

Before people rush in with well-meaning advice...I have a therapist. We've upped from monthly to twice a month. I have a new psychiatrist scheduled. I (try to) go to an exercise class every week. No, I'm not going to try yoga. Yes, I've tried meditation. This is not about asking for help. This is an honest look at the utter clawing terror that steals joy, that inhibits creativity, that wants to ensure we don't reach our full potential. Because I know exactly what this is. I know what's causing it. I know why I push past the third-drink happies to the fourth-drink miseries. No amount of self-awareness actually helps stop it. And neither does Downward-Facing Dog, okay?

Friday, December 21, 2018

Suleikha's 18 Favorite Reads of 2018

I haven't been a very diligent blogger during 2018, but I have been a diligent reader! Here are 18 books that stuck with me over the course of a very turbulent year! From jaw-dropping fantasy debuts to tried-and-true historical favorites to excellent contemporary romances...I crawled into so many special books and found comfort, escape, and entertainment. Books save lives. The following titles definitely helped save mine.

1. Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

2. The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

3. Unfit to Print by KJ Charles

4. Luck of the Draw by Kate Clayborn

5. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

6. A Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

7. The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

8. The Princess Trap by Talia Hibbert

9. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

10. Tempest by Beverly Jenkins

11. Mr. Hotshot CEO by Jackie Lau

12. Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean

13. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

14. Ivan by Kit Rocha

15. Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer

16. Rebel Hard by Nalini Singh

17. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone

18. Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Born To Be White: How Biracial Historical Heroes Reinforce The Status Quo

I was in the shower, thinking about how much I enjoyed KJ Charles’ Unfit to Print and its two POC leads, when I had a revelation about books I don’t enjoy so much. Why do half-Indian heroes in most historical romances continue to bother me so damn much? Not just because they don’t engage with biracial identity or transracial adoption or anything of that nature in any meaningful way, but also because they reinforce the relationship between white adjacency and white supremacy. When that hit me, I practically skidded across the tub from the force of the “duh!” The whole point of these sexy dukes and earls and generally wealthy hunks with tans is that they can move in white worlds. They “belong” in ballrooms, in clubs, in the House of Lords. It’s aspirational, inspirational. I mean, heavens, we wouldn’t want them otherwise, would we?