Misty Rayburn: I know it sounds unbelievable, but I’m not crying wolf

Inside Look Comments (7)

ImageI work with many different blog tour sites, publishers and authors. My blog is known for being very lighthearted and fun and it’s driven by passion for what I do. Authors like my zest for blogging, my informal writing style and my “punchy and succinct” reviews. I love what I do and I love all the friends I’ve made along the way. This is my spot and a lot of my confidence sparks from there. 

When I first started, I remember being so nervous about book blogging. What do I write about? Will authors send me their books? Why would they? I have no reputation but I have a damn good sell. If you were one of the first people I asked for a review copy from, I can tell you now I was shaking. You may not believe it, but I was! Which leads me to the topic of this blog.

I hide my emotions well, some would say too well and my string of bad luck started back in 2011 with the death of my best friend, Libby. Libby was a huge supporter of my book blog. She would look over my reviews before I posted them and if she said, “Wow I want to read that” I knew I did my job. When I started thinking about selling ad space to authors on my site, she was the first person to say go for it and I did. I even left the name she came up with. Anyone who donates to my site for ad space becomes a Top Shelf Booster.

With her death, came a huge blow to my confidence. Could I write a good review without guidance? Obviously, I got past it but no sooner than I did, my mom fell over with a seizure. I sent her to the hospital. The doctors said she didn’t have a seizure and that they thought it was exhaustion related. They told her to get some sleep and sent her home.

This was the start of a long line of deaths and bad luck for me and it’s still going on even now in 2013. I lost a friend that was a guitarist for a band I used to shoot for back when I was a photographer and my cousin died. My mom has had 3 more of those weird seizure things and they STILL can’t figure out what’s wrong with her.

The question I asked myself after Libby’s death changed. It went from could I write a review without guidance to should I be doing this? I’ve always been honest with the authors and tour places I work with but how much longer are they going to believe that all this crazy stuff is happening? Are they going to start believing that I’m the reviewer who cried “wolf”? Will they stop requesting reviews from me? I’m trying to move on, I’m not giving up. I love my blog and I love the books I’m sent. I WANT to do this but are they going to stop believing in me?

This fear inspired me to write a piece of flash fiction called “Book Blogger VooDoo” for Mysti Parker’s October flash fiction contest. You can find that here. I’ve tried taking breaks but it seems like I’m always taking breaks now and honestly I don’t want to stop blogging. I’m getting behind too and for those that know me, they know how I feel about that. What would you guys do? I’m seriously beside myself. See? We book bloggers are human!

Misty Rayburn is a graduate from Capital University with a BA in English Literature. She was a live event photographer, covering a lot of Columbus’ local scene but a back injury kept her out of the scene for two years. While recovering, she created The Top Shelf. Misty doesn’t have a TBR list, she has a mountain!

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On January 24, 2013
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7 Responses to Misty Rayburn: I know it sounds unbelievable, but I’m not crying wolf

  1. I think you are answering your question. You should be blogging and writing reviews. Perhaps you should even press yourself to write short stories and essays. You are feeling the margins of what you are designed to do, and though it’s tough, it’s good.

    I urge you to drop the idea of luck and read the Bible. You might start with the Gospel of John. It’s a true story. I don’t know if you have enjoyed any of C.S. Lewis’ stories, but if you can dig up a good account of his conversation with a couple friends about myth and the truth of the Bible, you may find it very interesting.

  2. Cas Peace says:

    Misty, you might be surprised at how many of your author friends, FB friends and others who know you also live lives filled with ‘bad luck’. And no one who really knows you or cares about you would think you were ‘crying wolf’. Anyone who does is not worth worrying about! The thing about ‘bad luck’ is that it’s all in the mind. It’s just stuff that happens. Yes, losing good friends, or seeing parents or loved ones suffer is truly horrible, and tough to get through. But it’s not aimed at you. It’s just life. What matters is how you deal with it. You can let it swamp you and stop you doing what (deep down) you know you are good at, or you can allow yourself to grieve, forgive yourself when you feel weak, and carry on regardless. It is true, the old saying that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’, but you also have to believe it. Have faith in yourself and in God. Remember your many blessings. Continue with what you love and are so good at. You will come out of this, but there will always be bad times in life. Find what gives you strength and hang on to it. And remember – we’re here for you!

  3. elainerc2 says:

    I love Cas’ comment…we all go thru bad luck! I lost my father & mother within months of each other – then by a lucky accident – they found a tumor in me. Thankfully, tumor was non-cancerous. Then retina’s in both eyes detached… then….it was time to bury a chicken in the backyard and dance naked under the moonlight. Luckily I wasn’t arrested! Sometimes it helps to go volunteer – take a break from you and look into helping others. I donated to a food bank & Wounded Warrior Project… and things begin to look better.

  4. Misty, we all have times like these. I had a year where I had submitted a book to a publisher, then my cat died. And my father. The book was contracted. Just before my first edits arrived a beloved co-worker was in a terrible accident. The day I received my edits, I learned that they were pulling the plug on him. Even as I pulled into the drive, I could see by my husband’s face that something else had gone wrong. Our dog Rusty had been hit by a car.
    Life happens. The only thing that makes it better other than loved ones and good friends is to do what you love. Keep doing it.

  5. Thanks so much to everyone for commenting on Misty’s post and sharing your words of encouragement with her!

  6. Aurora HSP says:

    Ditto Philip’s opening line to you, Misty. I can only add that this has been a couple of years of consecutive losses for so many of us in so many ways but the final knell dropped on loved ones, a way of life, relationships, jobs has been challenging… all in the midst of the painful personal losses… I hear your heartache. We are at an age, I believe, where the only other thing that passes more rapidly than those we love and care about is time itself. My mantra for the past couple years has been: Do what you can, when you can…just don’t stop… I found writing a life line when I had no other. Wishing you all the best, I know you will find your path because I just stayed writing and the path keeps opening up, growing brighter ahead even if it wasn’t what I saw myself doing…never saw myself ever blogging… now blog two places and it really saved me when I could write little else. Write on, Misty! xo

  7. Emlyn Chand says:

    Oh, Misty. I have never doubted you for a second. You so generously volunteer your time and enthusiasm to help promote authors. Anyone who’s demanded you post a review faster or implied you aren’t human is a jerk–stop letting jerks inform how you think of yourself. I’m sorry that the past year has been such a tough one. I can only begin to imagine how much your core must be shaken by all this. Just remember, you are selflessly volunteering your time in this endeavor. You have no obligation to anyone, except to yourself. The moment book blogging becomes more of a task than a fun hobby, just stop and take a break. I know at least one author who loves you very much–ME! <3

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