Archives For Letters from the Author

The Write Words

February 1, 2016

Last night was eye opening in the worst way possible. Not going into it because well, who really wants to be a Debbie Downer on Monday. I mean it’s already Monday.

So last night the ugly cry and I met again. It was bad. UC (Ugly Cry) gut checked me so hard my eyes are still a bit puffy. Distraction didn’t work, switching from sadness to anger didn’t work, neither did the idea of sitting up and writing work. I wallowed in my misery well into the wee hours of way past my bed time and around the corner from blaring alarm o’clock. I really was eyeballing myself by 3am. Seriously, for the love of cute panties and segzy times, I was getting on my own nerves.

I finally calmed down enough to make a plan. I wrote in my journal—digital because I was not getting up and turning on a light. When I was done, I side-eyed myself as that mournful ache started to creep back in. I raged—silently because minion was asleep with it being ungodly o’clock and all that jazz—before I turned my attention to my 2016 Bucket List.

I keep it in the first planner I’ve kept up with longer than a week. It’s all decorative with small tasks to try and do. Things like solo date night. That’s what I decided on completing. I’m investing in myself by going to see Deadpool. Yes, that’s an investment considering last year I would have reasoned and argued why I couldn’t or shouldn’t enjoy a little time to myself.

Last year I let a ton of things get in the way of my growth as a human being. Stagnation leads to death in my opinion and I was doing a slip and slide towards an early grave courtesy of high blood pressure and stress. Still, the things I usually turned to—writing and gaming—were doing nothing for me. I had no problem wasting away hours on a game. I just oddly felt apathetic about the entire thing. Writing on the other hand was almost a complete wash.

Let me be clear. I’m wasn’t waiting around for the inspiration to write. I have never needed that. I have, however, needed energy. Between Fibromyalgia, juggling a full-time job, minion, illness after illness, depression, and adjusting to a few curveballs thrown my way, I was tired. I was mentally exhausted by the end of the day to the point that I had nothing left in me to create.

For me writing is freeing. I never feel closer to the person I want to be than when I am lost in the words I put on the page. Meet me in person and I will talk your ear off about all the things I’m working on. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am able to recall all of the series I’m working on (plot lines, characters, and overall outcome) though most of them are only in the outline/pre-writing stage.

I truly live to write. It’s why a bulk of what I talk about is writing or books I’m working on. I don’t typically give advice. I can only tell what I love and that is to simply drift away in my own make believe universes where dragons exist, gods walk among us, and serial killers may or may not be totally insane. Mine totally are, but they seem so freaking normal. Except Hunter. Don’t go anywhere with that guy. He’s a total nut bag.

2016 is the year of me. In the past it was always the year of us. Those years I put myself on the back burner. I set myself and my own needs aside in order to not complicate the lives of those around me. For the sake of my sanity and general well being, I will take better care of all of me. I won’t worry about getting healthy so that I can take care of this person, look out for that one, be able to do this and that for yet another person.

They say you can’t help anyone unless you first help yourself. Here’s to me helping myself. I’ll be at the movies if you need me. 🙂

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Writers/Authors (pick your title) always seem to act like it’s a life and death decision when it comes to how they deal with reviews of their work. Most people choosing to offer advice on the subject would argue that you NEVER engage. Good or bad, just don’t do it. Listen to those people. Those people will keep you out of the spiral of ugliness that can spawn when you try to rationalize or explain the words you put on the page.

Once you hit publish, your chance to say what you meant ends. Now to clarify, in the event a reader asks you a direct question about something in the book, by all means, answer. If they send you a direct comment on your blog, FB page, or other social media page as they gush and fawn over your book and how awesomesauce, glitteriffic it was, by all means, say thank you. Pimp the comment to other readers if you want. However, commenting on a review found elsewhere…NO.

Some would argue, why not respond to the five star reviews? Do you know what it looks like when you have a butt load of reviews (if you’re lucky) and you only respond to the “good” ones? It looks like you can’t tolerate anything less than adoration when it comes to what you’ve penned.

If you are wanting to respond to a blogger/book reviewer, here’s how you can do it without responding on a sales channel. Most reviewers have a blog/website. Comment there. Tell them thank you and that you’re glad they enjoyed it or simply thnak them for reviewing your book. Send them an email, pimp the review link, refer other authors to that reviewer, and share, share, share.

Do not, comment on sales channels.

Trust me, I get it. I want to thank all the people who like what I’ve done. I want to shout from the tallest building–well not the tallest since I’m scared of heights; I’ll shout from my balcony, which isn’t very high, but you get what I mean…Where was I? Oh yeah, shouting.

I want to roll around in the praise of what I managed to get across; to give out digital high-fives to the ones who get it. And there’s the sand paper rub. Every review–good or bad–is a lesson. A five-star review could be a simple circle jerk of how awesome-hearts-stars-and-rainbows-unicorn-glitter-poop you are, which while it feels good, has the potential tell you absolutely nothing as an author. The other end of the spectrum hosts those who either didn’t get it or those who are not your audience.

Believe it or not, your book is not for everyone. Just like everyone won’t like you for whatever reason, people will have that same reaction to your book. Someone may hate all people whose name is Jane and just your luck your heroine’s name is Jane. She kicks ass and doesn’t bother taking names. Just so happens Reviewer Somebody doesn’t give a flying Fig Newton. Her name is Jane and therefore you get a one-star.

Lesson to be taken, that person isn’t your target reader/audience. Think what you will in the privacy of your home, with your friends, but leave those thoughts offline. Responding will only get you in a world of hurt. Verbal fights online are time consuming and frankly a waste of time. You could be writing instead of trying to convince a single reader to change their mind about your book.

Your reaction should be? Nothing. Say and do nothing. The reviews on any retail site or Goodreads are not for you. They are for other readers and potential readers. Your response makes you look douchey.

A douche is a product they sell in stores. We, as people of higher reasoning, shouldn’t be scented water meant to be shoved into lady bits.

If you want to make an impact with potential readers write good books, talk to them about more than your books and how awesome they are, and finally, be a decent human being online. Offline too, but that should go without saying.

Always learning.

January 6, 2016

For those who are published—no matter how, just are your books for sale? Good, you’re published. Now back to what I was saying…

For those who are published, it is an important part of your job as an author to realize that with a product on the shelves (virtual or otherwise) you are a business. And as a business you need to be mindful of what is and isn’t working to grow your brand/product/service.

I am sure there are many things I am doing wrong as I flounder my way towards knowing what I’m doing. One thing I am doing right is listening to myself in regards to the covers and the message I want them to send.  I will say there isn’t anything inherently wrong with my previous cover. It just wasn’t right for the book it was attached to. More importantly, it says nothing about me, the author and my personal style. I’m not the half-naked man on the cover kind of girl. Are they nice to look at? Yes and for some books, that is exactly the kind of cover needed.

I love world building. LOVE IT! If I could, I’d happily make a career of writing concepts for other writers. (Seriously, if there is a job doing just that shoot me a message. I’m asking…for a friend.) Honestly, my worry is often tied into how to blend romance into the vast worlds I’ve built. I need my covers to reflect that this isn’t a typical (whatever that means to you) paranormal book. I’m just getting started on this universe that I’ve built and don’t want to be backed into a corner by the message my cover sends.

I know covers can make or break a book. Cover fiends like myself will buy a book based on “oooh, shiny!” only to find out in some cases we were taken for the sparkly fiends we are. I won’t hide it. I’m a cover whore. I have purchased more than my fair share of blah books with AH-MAAAZING covers.

Honestly, a naked guy on a cover isn’t unique enough for me to buy a book. It has to speak to me on some level. I watch porn, a shirtless man means and does absolutely nothing for me. Shirtless men can catch my eye, in passing at least, but rarely do I linger for a fifth look. 😛

My growth in marketing is tragically slow. I’m working on it, but with so much other stuff on my plate (truly no different than other authors with day jobs, kids and other familial obligations) it’s hard to absorb what I need to learn between deadlines and the frequent illnesses I had last year. Honestly, 2015 was the year of sickness. And lucky me got to ring in the New Year with a supposedly simple surgery that my body refuses to bounce back from. Apparently, complications are a part of my medical life.

I’m making more strides this year to truly understand what it means to brand myself. I expect growing pains, more than enough complaining (probably from me), but hopefully if I learn what the hell I’m doing. Maybe one day I can take this from a gig I do for the love of it to a gig I do for love, sanity, and financial stability. Nothing happens overnight, so wish me luck.

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September 25, 2015

I am a battered woman with no way out. There is no safety net from her. Running is appealing, but I know she will find me. She always does.

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