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Chasing the Antelope

“… it was a battle worth fighting… It was all worth it to look at the finished piece and exhale as my spirit settles in a place ancient, deep, and satisfied from a struggle fought…and won.”

Papers fly off my desk as I desperately seek the password for my Kirkus dashboard. I have a habit of writing things on scraps of paper when I’m in a hurry; now my bad habit has returned to bite me in the ass. I just want to get this over with, read the review of my urban fantasy, Nicholas Eternal, swallow that bitter pill if it’s bad, stare in disbelief if it’s good—as is my modus operandi.

I was on my way home from my daughter’s soccer camp when I got the text from Kirkus that my review was in. My first thought was how frustrated I was that it came in when I wasn’t at home to deal with it. That’s right, something like that must be “dealt with,” not simply read. Any author knows that. One does not casually read a Kirkus review. It’s like dealing with a jumping spider trapped under a coffee cup. You approach that little bastard with fear, trembling, ready to leap away in case it’s spring-loaded to attack. On the drive home my hands white knuckled the steering wheel. My Midwest Review was really good. Why didn’t I just stop there? It was like I was playing a game of 21, and I had a hand showing 19 and was fool enough to yell out, “Hit me!”

What the hell was I thinking?

Kirkus does say that if you don’t like their review, you can tell them not to publish it, and it will “never see the light of day.” But there’s one little issue with that: I’ll know. Therein lies the problem. Right? Imposter syndrome is bad enough for most authors, but knowing there’s a body under the floorboards, so to speak? Well, that…that’s a secret stone in your shoe likely to clue everyone in that you’re limping—if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors.

So, this all begs the question: why do we do this to ourselves? I think the answer lies on my Bookbub profile under “Favorite Books,” where you will find Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. He believes that much like our primal ancestors, we need to “chase the antelope.” I for one, believe that he is absolutely, unequivocally, right. I need the test. I need the battle. I need the war. As I sit at my desk, after I find my dashboard password amongst the mess of papers, I calm my racing heart and face my foe, win or lose, because I have fought, I am worthy to hold the title, “Author.”

How did it turn out? I am happy to say, very well! Here’s an excerpt: “First and foremost is the courageous and audacious way in which the author reimagines the St. Nicholas myth. The diverse cast of characters—which includes a demon named Damascus and Father Roy, the spirit of a priest whose work on Earth is unfinished—will impress fans of paranormal fantasy sagas, such as Kim Harrison’s Hollows series, as the potential for future storylines seems virtually limitless. Serious issues are explored with insight and sensitivity, including alcoholism, houselessness, and child advocacy. Still, the overall tone of the story maintains a welcome witty and lighthearted edge; at one point, for instance, Noory describes the plot as ‘antichrist crazy shit!’”

Yeah, it was a battle worth fighting. So were the meetings with agents and editors—the ones who liked it AND the ones who didn’t, the countless hours of revisions only to toss them out and go with what I already had, most times. That’s all part of it. It was all worth it to look at the finished piece and exhale as my spirit settles in a place ancient, deep, and satisfied from a struggle fought…

and won.

Posted By…

Kim Conrey is the author of the urban fantasy Nicholas Eternal Book One in The Wayward Saviors series and the sci-fi romance series Ares Ascending. She's also the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year Award for Romance. She podcasts with the Wild Women Who Write Take Flight and serves as VP of Operations for the Atlanta Writers Club. She also writes about the misunderstood condition of OCD.


  1. Kathy Nichols

    You’re giving me courage to join the chase.

    • Kim Conrey

      I’ll run with you anytime, my friend.


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