THE SUBMISSIVE MUSE

My erotic romance, The Submissive Muse went live on Amazon a few days ago. I’m so excited! She is my book baby, my book bitch, my departure from romantic comedy, that’s for sure. Here’s my sexy cover which Facebook won’t allow in any ads because of the cleavage. I’m beginning to think Facebook is actually run by the Amish.

TheSubmissiveMuse_big.jpg

Amazon-Buy-Button

The title implies the book is all about sex, but it’s really not. Yes, there are some BDSM scenes in it, but the story is more about grief and loss, mental illness, and learning to love again. Two lost souls saving each other. Here’s the blurb for it:

One man’s misfortune is another man’s destiny.

Elizabeth Wolfe’s husband, John, had been everything to her—protector, provider, administer of pain. Still devastated, one year after his death, she decides to take her own life, but her plan is interrupted when she discovers an unconscious stranger in her barn.

Devan Carthy and John Wolfe agreed to an arrangement before he died—Devan is to seek out Elizabeth exactly one year from his death, and bring joy to her life again, in exchange for a sizeable sum of money.

What begins as a friendship between a grieving widow and a mercurial artist blossoms into love as Devan reawakens her desire for living. His erratic mood swings and her need for pleasure and pain threaten their relationship, but it’s John Wolfe’s hold over them that may ultimately tear them apart.

Publisher’s Disclaimer: This dramatic love story contains graphic sexual scenes, as well as discipline. If either of these offend you, please do not buy the book.

* * *

I went out of my comfort zone for this novel and learned how to create a book trailer in iMovie all by myself. It only took me 728 hours! Check it out.

Considering how technologically challenged I am, this was a HUGE deal. I also made teaser ads all by myself; some worked out and some didn’t. This one wound up being a decent size:

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These two are a bit too small:

A tortured artist. A grieving widow.

No sex allowed. copy

Always check pixel sizes when downloading photos to use on social media and make sure they’ll be large enough.

My next book may very well be called “What NOT to Do as an Author.”

I’ll leave you all with an excerpt from The Submissive Muse:

 

She turned her back to him and began soaping up one of the wine glasses. He reached around and grabbed it from her hands, then threw it against the wall. It shattered into pieces.

She turned off the running water and faced him. “I’m going to start billing you for broken wine glasses. You broke another one the other night.”

It was true, he had. After she pulled away from their kiss, he had smashed his glass against the wall. He had also overturned John’s “sacred, off-limits” armchair in anger.

“Everything you do is my business. That was the deal.” He stood a hair’s length away, so close her perfume tickled his nose.

“We have no deal. What are you talking about?”

Shut up, Devan.

He blew out a long, slow breath in an attempt to calm himself.

“Because you take care of my horses, you think you also have a responsibility to take care of me?” Her voice quivered with emotion.

Yes, he did, but he couldn’t tell her why.
”I can tell you when you’re making a fool of yourself with a kid almost half your age.”

“Screw you.” She made a motion to leave, but he trapped her there with both his arms at her sides. “Let me go, Devan.”

He wanted her so bad he could no longer fight it. If she didn’t want him, he’d have to leave here for good, because the torture of denial was making him lose his mind.

“Tell me you want the college boy and I’ll let you go.”

She turned her face away from him. “No.”

Devan grabbed ahold of her chin and twisted it around to face him. “Look me in the eyes and tell me you want him, and not me.”
Her eyes flashed with frustration while she stubbornly pressed her lips together. She attempted to flee again, but he held her by the shoulders. Her angry breaths flooded his face as she squirmed to get away. “Why are you fighting it? Isn’t it obvious you want me as much as I want you?”

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Interested? Here’s the buy link:

Amazon-Buy-Button

Hope everyone is having a juicy, sexy summer!

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DEPRESSION IS DEPRESSING

solitude

 

I don’t write much about depression because it’s, well, depressing, and most of the time, I’m trying to run from it rather than acknowledge it. When I’m depressed I tend to hide from the world and embrace my bed like a long-lost lover come home. I sleep. A lot. Because it’s an escape from the disturbing thoughts that obsessively bombard my mind.

The holidays tend to exacerbate this ugly beast of burden. There’s something about them that bring feelings of loneliness and unhappiness to the forefront. Right now, there are many posts on Facebook giving out the Suicide Hotline phone number, urging people to call if they become desperate. But many won’t. They’ll continue to suffer in silence.

For those who don’t have a problem with this illness, it may be difficult to understand the mind of a depressed person. Just like I don’t understand what it’s like to have cancer, or be paralyzed, or lose a child. I don’t pretend to. I would no more tell them to “buck up,” or “look on the bright side,” or “get over it” any more than a “positive” person should to someone suffering depression.

One word: Empathy. A quality many lack, especially when they don’t understand something. Empathy is “the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within the other being’s frame of reference, i.e., the capacity to place oneself in another’s position. Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another, and feeling with the heart of another.”

I personally believe the more sensitive and creative a person, the more prone they are to depression. They see more, feel more, and ponder more. About everything. But this can often lead to a downward spiraling of mood. Depressives are ruminators. They start with a negative feeling or thought, and they overthink it to death. They beat it until it’s nothing but a bloody pulp. Is it learned behavior, a default switch, in a sense? A chemical imbalance? Hereditary? Who knows, who cares? The important thing is realizing how dangerous and serious depression is.

I’ve been dealing with depression for over 20 years. I was never a depressed teen, but then again, I was partying way too much to feel anything. It wasn’t until I came down with CFIDS that I became depressed. Think about it. A healthy, outgoing 26-year-old actress living in NY, doing what she loved. Now imagine her getting sick with mono. Imagine it NEVER going away. Imagine all her hopes and dreams buried in a dumpster full of rotting food behind Denny’s.

Now I know there are people out there who get their legs blown off in Iraq, come home and start a foundation to help people like them, get married, and have a great life. There are others who are raped and tortured, write a book about it, and go on to counsel other survivors like themselves. I get it. Strong people turning adversity in to a positive. Rah rah for them.

But I’m not one of those people. Wish I were, but I’m not. I can blame it on my dad for yelling at me my whole life, telling me what a worthless piece of crap I am or I can blame it on brain chemistry. Bottom line? It is what it is.

So. Here’s an example of how my depressed mind works: I completed the first draft of my novel on Tuesday. It’s 90,000 words. That in and of itself is something to be proud of, right? And I was proud of myself. For the rest of the evening. The next day, I sat in front of my laptop, a little lost because every author says you should wait like 6 weeks before you edit, and I thought, Okay, WTF am I going to do while I’m waiting? So I start researching who I can shop my novel around to once I have a final draft ready.

Now, mind you, I’ve published 2 romantic comedies already, but decided to write a dark erotic romance. Why? I have no idea. I don’t read that much erotica. Hell, I don’t even like erotica all that much. So why did I write it? Come to discover the market is saturated already, and very few agents want to represent it. As for legit publishers, there is 1 for me to choose from. 1.

 

First thoughts: I just spent a year researching and writing a novel that I won’t be able to sell. Why didn’t I stick with my chosen genre, so I could have a better chance of building a following?

Second thoughts: Most erotic authors self-publish. I don’t want to learn how to self-publish. It’s too much work that I don’t have the energy for. I’m such a fucking idiot.

Third thoughts: Just like everything else in my life, I never think things through. Instead of furthering my career, I’ve stalled it. Something I can’t afford to do because I have a kid to feed.

Now by this point, I have a tension headache, my chest is tight because my breathing is shallow, and I start worrying about how I’m going to pay my rent next month. And afford $100 bucks to enroll my son in soccer. And renew HostGator for my website for $150. And pay property taxes. And buy soccer cleats, and…and…

And the worrying starts to spiral out of control. Depressed people don’t just think of the problem at hand (In my case, writing a ms that won’t sell). They remember every. single.  problem they’ve ever had since birth.

If only I were smarter, or married, or healthier, or skinnier, or richer, or my mother had breastfed me…fill in the blank.

And

I shouldn’t have married my abusive bf from high school, gotten into the car with that frat boy, done that line of meth, driven while drunk, picked up that hooker who turned out to be a guy, gotten that awful nose job…fill in the blank.

And

I should have gone to grad school, never quit that high-paying job even though it made me miserable, stayed on the Pill, kicked my husband out 5 years before, gotten my breasts done a long time ago, checked her license to see whether she was of legal age…fill in the blank.

And

My father, mother, old boyfriend, best friend was right. I’m a train wreck, a fuck up, stupid, ugly, fat, a douche canoe…fill in the blank.

And

I’m going to be 80 years old, poor, single, unhappy, fat, my cats will eat my dead body, no one will come to my funeral…fill in the blank.

 

This is how the depressed mind works. Or at least how mine does. Cognitive therapy helps if you’re willing to do the work. Meds only do so much for a while. Many lose the battle, because once that desperate hopelessness sets in, magnifying the feeling that nothing will ever change, that you’re going to feel this miserable torturous mindfuck forever, suicide seems like the only relief in sight. People usually don’t commit suicide because they want to end their lives; they commit suicide because they don’t want to feel the pain anymore. That’s an important distinction, and it truly breaks my heart. Because we’re not bad people. We’re not weak. We’re usually nicer and more successful than we think. And although I’ve had close friends accuse me of being negative (I’ve even lost best friends over it), I believe it’s more about their own self-centeredness in not wanting to be brought down. Again, they’re lacking that empathy factor.

I, on the other hand, because I’ve gone through so much hardship in my life would never berate or shun a person for being down, or negative, or suicidal. I’ve had strangers talk to me for hours, telling me all their problems or admit they’re wanting to commit suicide. Why? Because I genuinely listen, so they feel safe. I don’t judge them or tell them to turn that frown upside down. How many people can genuinely listen to the pain of another without judgment or telling them what to do to make themselves better? I’ve only met one or two.

If you need someone to listen and you have no one to talk to with a sympathetic ear, please, please, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255–24/7. Or message me here. You are not alone.

Happy holidays

WRITING, MEN, INSANITY, AND CHAOS

crazy-bitch

It’s been forever since I’ve posted, which makes me feel bad about myself because I used to post much more frequently. On the other hand, I’ve been working on my book and that has taken up all my time and energy. Writing a novel is all-consuming in that it becomes the only thing you think about morning, noon, and night. It’s like having an obsessive crush on someone who feels only Meh about you. If they show you any positive attention, you’re on top of the world (much like one feels when writing goes well), but most of the time, they could care less about you, leaving you feeling unfulfilled and frustrated (much like one feels when they think what they wrote that day stinks, or they haven’t written a single word at all).

I’m not going to lie. It’s freaking tough to write when you’re a single parent. My writing needs to be done while the boy is at school or it doesn’t get done. I remember reading an article about Jacquelyn Mitchard, the author of The Deep End of the Ocean whose husband’s sudden death left her needing to come up with a way to support her kids. She wrote that book sitting at the kitchen table with her kids running all over the place, amidst chaos and confusion.

So I tried it the other night. Writing amidst chaos and confusion. I sat my ass on the couch, Friends reruns on the TV, with my son sitting next to me, constantly interrupting to show me asinine YouTube videos he finds hilarious. The fact that I was trying to write a sex scene is neither here nor there. I wrote 2 sentences and then gave up. Even now, while writing this, the boy is in his room, blasting rap music and shouting at his Xbox. I know I’ll be lost once he gets older and moves out, but at the moment, it’s a picture this lover of peace and quiet is having a hard time imagining.

Sometimes novels and all the research that goes in to them are wonderful for self-realization. One of my main characters is bipolar, so I’ve done a crapload of research on bipolar disorder, only to come to realize I’m 99% sure my father is bipolar, which is why he’s been such an insane asshole all these years. Not that people with bipolar disorder are insane assholes, but left untreated and choosing to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, a lot of their behavior is very asshole-y.

You would think I’d have some revelatory A-ha moment and feel sorry for him for having an illness he can’t help, but I don’t. Truth is, he’s known he’s had a mood disorder for many, many years. God knows his entire family has told him as much. But when he went to his Beverly Hills physician years ago to discuss his “possible” mood disorder, the doctor excused it by telling him he was simply a Type-A personality and intense, and every Type-A person was like that.

He came home so proud after that, like a peacock strutting his colorful feathers, because he had gotten validation from a “physician to the stars,” and therefore, he didn’t have no stinking problem. Hey, here’s a heads up. When family and friends don’t want to be around you more often than not, if your moods go up and down like the strength tester game at the county fair, if your wife threatens to leave you every time you go through a particularly intolerable heinous period, then you got a stinking problem!

But it’s not my problem anymore, plus I’m out of the will anyway.

So, what else is going on? Well, I’m still single. I tried dating someone casually, but that didn’t work out too well. I went in to it stating, “I don’t want a serious relationship” (meaning You will never be my priority), but he took it as, “I hear what you’re saying, but I will eventually wear you down.” Ah, men and their love of challenges. I get it though. The first (and last) time I pursued something with a man who, straight off the bat said, and I quote: “I don’t want a relationship,” I completely ignored those words, too. Because after all, who wouldn’t want a relationship with me? I’m fabulous.

Turned out he did in fact want a relationship. Just not with me. He ended up marrying my son’s elementary school principal, and is now happily living in an all-White neighborhood where everyone makes six-figures (despite him being a tatted-up Hispanic custodian).

Anyhoo, back to this guy. After a few dates, he said to me, “I’m wearing you down, aren’t I? Tell me you’re not falling for me just a little bit” to which I responded in all my blunt honesty (since I don’t know how to be any other way), “I’m really not, and I meant what I said from the get-go.”

But he still kept at it. The situation reminded me of Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoon: What we say to dogs versus What they hear. The owner points to his dog, saying “Okay, Ginger! I’ve had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage, or else!” But the dog only hears, “blah blah Ginger blah blah blah blah blah Ginger blah blah blah…”

So, since we always seem to refer to men as dogs, I’m guessing what this guy heard was pretty much the same thing.

In all fairness to him he dodged a bullet, because I’m certainly no prize. I have my hands full with an ADD son who randomly sneaks up and attacks me much like Cato does with Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther movies, which has turned me in to a woman “on the edge” at all times, a 6-year-old diva dog who still pisses on the one remaining carpet whenever she feels like it, and a bulimic cat.

Then there’s me who, while you’re talking, is thinking about how to solve that plot problem, instead of listening to you.

 

What’s new with you?

VANILLA, BDSM, WHO CARES?

cage/whip

I finally started a new novel. It’s an erotic romance, which is a complete departure from the 2 romantic comedies I have written. But my muse writes the story. I find I have very little control over which way it goes.

Unfortunately, the writing has been very slow going because the muse has chosen to add certain facets to the story I am completely unfamiliar with, resulting in me having to do a crapload of research. One of my heroes is an artist, another is a pediatric neurosurgeon. My heroine owns horses. She teaches Gothic architecture at a college. I know of none of this stuff. Write what you know, they say. There’s a reason for that. You get your book written in half the time.

But my muse is stubborn and her ideas are firm. She wants elements of BDSM. I groaned when she first informed me of this. “No, no, no, there are enough Fifty Shades of Grey knockoffs, for goodness sake,” I complained. But the bitch wants what she wants.

Now, researching the BDSM lifestyle is interesting because it has obviously exploded since the 3 Fifty books came out. I understand the BDSM community has felt misunderstood in the past, that outsiders think it’s all about abuse, and Fifty is in no way an accurate representation of an authentic Dom/sub relationship.

I’ve been reading tons of blogs. I’ve talked to both men and women involved in the lifestyle. I’ve joined private groups on Facebook, and followed many pages of Doms, Dommes, subs, and littles. Private groups on Facebook, and even certain blogs on Tumblr portray the lifestyle pretty accurately. Their main objective is to provide accurate information, which is vital so participants don’t get taken advantage of, or worse, injured.

The public fan pages on Facebook mystify me though. Obviously, erotic authors have professional fan pages with provocative photos and/or relevant articles related to whatever they’re writing about, but this is done to sell books. I can’t figure out why any Dom or a Mistress would create a fan page just for the hell of it. Entertainment? A creative outlet? Ego? And they have tons of followers, mind you. We’re talking thousands. It’s like they’re celebrities.

Dommes post erotic photos (within FB guidelines), which are like the clean version of porn stills, so the comments are all by middle-aged to older men wishing it was them being stepped on with spike heels or paddled or walked outside with a leash. “Yes, Mistress,” Please, Mistress,” “I love you, Mistress.” But Mistresses make it clear they’re not to be solicited for business.

Dom pages are even worse, because women as a whole seem to be particularly vulnerable to men who come across as assertively sexy or provocative. Doesn’t matter that these women have no idea what the man looks like. Hell, he could be posting while sitting on a dirty, ripped couch in stained underwear, swigging a Bud, but if they portray themselves as sensitive and in touch with women’s feelings (while being DOMINANT, of course), women swoon like prepubescent girls paging through Tiger Beat Magazine.

“Oh, Sir, if only I could find a man like you.” “Sir, your words hit me right in my solar plexus.” “Sir, Sir, Sir…”

It feels a little cult-like to me. Why should a stranger call someone they don’t know “Sir” if he’s not your Sir. No one addresses a “Daddy” as such. It’s way too personal a title. Another thing I’ve noticed is a lot of middle-aged Doms prefer emotionally-broken 20-somethings. I’m not sure if this is because they feel they can save them or mold them, or what. And FFS, does every Dom have to be a polygamist and an exhibitionist? Seems like their most important pastime in life is going to dungeon parties, picking out a new, young impressionable thing, getting her up on a St. Andrew’s cross and going to town on her.

It’s bad enough practically every single kinky picture involves young, thin, and firm. (Isn’t this what “vanilla” people complain about all the time?) In a lifestyle claiming diversity and open-mindedness, where the fuck is the diversity? Where are all the middle-aged, thick women? Surely, there are plenty. And in a community that preaches non-judgment, they’re pretty freaking judgmental when it comes to a vanilla lifestyle. If a couple wants to have vanilla sex and it’s satisfying to them, who is anyone to judge? Just because someone enjoys being whipped or humiliated or tied up doesn’t make them any more edgy than someone who prefers being vanilla. (Oh, how I despise that banal term.)

I guess what I’m questioning is the need for some people to have their sexuality right out there in the open. Is it really anyone’s business what their kinks are? Why do they feel the need to share them with the rest of the world? If I came out as a lesbian, I don’t think I’d start a public Facebook page and only post things regarding homosexuality. By making it your sole identity, it goes against what gay people ultimately want—to be like everyone else by not having their sexuality singled out.

I dunno. Maybe I’m just a cranky, private, introverted, non-exhibitionist monogamist.

I’d love to hear anyone’s views on the subject.

THE HOLIDAYS—MAY THEY REST IN PEACE

Bah humbug

I can’t lie—I’m glad the holidays are over. Yes, I’m one of those people. But when you have no family to spend Christmas with and no significant other to kiss at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, the holidays blow. I survived by drinking more than I should and religiously following the posts on a site called Emerging from Broken. It was on this site I learned I was not alone. There’s many, many more like me who either have no contact or minimal contact with their terribly dysfunctional families.

Every day I’d peruse Facebook even though I was continuously assaulted by happy people getting together with their families. Even worse was seeing photos and postings of my own happy family. It stung. A lot. It wasn’t so much the lack of them I was missing. It was the lack of a family to call my own. Most people who are estranged from their family have chosen to create their own—usually through marriage. In my case, it’s only my son and I.

At some point in December, my son threw out those dreaded words no single mom ever wants to hear: “Why can’t you marry Daddy so he can come live with us?”

“Because Daddy is engaged to be married to another woman,” I told him. The boy is 11. Sorry, but I’m just not sugarcoating it anymore. At least my response succeeded in halting the conversation in its tracks.

We spent Christmas day with my friend’s in-laws who have graciously “adopted” us. There are advantages to celebrating with other people’s families. In between the ham and the pumpkin pie, the conversation turned to religion (a big social no-no) and ended with my friend’s husband banging his fists on the table and accusing his father of refusing to acknowledge his nephew’s homosexuality. “Why can’t you admit your nephew is gay, Dad? Say it!” he screamed.

This drama didn’t faze me in the least because hey—it ain’t my family. So I got up and went into the other room with the kids. It was very freeing. But New Year’s Eve was a completely different story. Who wants to go to a party where everyone is coupled up, or worse, there are 3 token single men all vying for my drunken attention? No thanks. Plus, everyone’s an alcoholic in my neighborhood, or a meth head (or usually both), so if driving is especially dicey under normal circumstances, can you imagine on New Year’s Eve?

But after a meh Christmas and an utterly craptastic New Year’s Eve, the Gods of Fair Play decided to reward me with a book contract for my hot mess that took me over a year to write and edit. It’s called THE MEATBALL MISTRESS and it’s about a sassy Italian girl from Bensonhurst, Brooklyn who flees to the Jersey shore after finding her fiancé in a compromising position. She’s, of course, bitter and cynical about men (I really had to stretch to write about that!) and meets her match in a guy who’s probably the biggest commitment-phobe in Jersey. So how do they wind up falling in love, you ask? Hmmm…

Since I literally thought I was going to end up burying this one in my backyard underneath a mound of compost, I’ll admit I’m pleased. Hopefully this recent euphoria will work to balance out the emotional upheaval I’ll be experiencing next month when I turn 46.

So how were your holidays?

UNFUCK YOURSELF, PART DEUX

Air Cav infantry Soldiers compete in company challenge

I’m continuing with my list of toxic crap writers shouldn’t do, courtesy of Chuck Wendig’s terrific blog post. If you haven’t yet, please skip on over to read his, because it really is right on the money. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/01/03/25-things-writers-should-stop-doing/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2

I have renewed enthusiasm and vigor now. The kids are back in school and, wait—can you hear that? You can’t? Exactly. It’s called peace and quiet, and my sanity depends on it. As does my writing.

8. Your body is not a teenage wasteland. Sure, you could once get away with staying up until 3 am, chowing down on pizza while guzzling cheap beer, but nowadays whenever I do exactly that, it takes me 3 days to recover and I feel like hell to boot. Disciplined Mind = Disciplined Body = Disciplined Mind, which essentially means if you’re sitting in your chair like a lump on a log, with your mind fuzzy and tired, how productive do you think you’re going to be? Not very, plus you’ll get Writer’s Ass. Eating crap and not being active will result in all those words that should be flowing onto the page to settle in your ass, instead.

9. If I didn’t complain, I’d have nothing to say. I’ll admit part of my endearing charm comes from my pessimistic, glass is half-cracked attitude. Can you imagine if I were a boring optimist? I’d have nothing to blog about. I know I could temper my negativity a tad. In fact, I’ve actually been trying, thanks to Facebook and all the warm and fuzzy inspirational quotes on there that make me want to go hug my cats. Yes, I’ve lost a few friends from my bad attitude (“I say FUCK ‘EM all the way to the moon if they can’t—” Uh oh, deep breath. I digress.) The point is, if you don’t have anything good to say, then STFU. Nobody wants to hear it. Or channel it into your writing and make a million dollars so you can rub it in the faces of all those frenemies who once rejected you. As I always say, Success is the best revenge.

10. Speaking of…it’s because of those frenemies that you’re in the sorry boat you’re in. Or it’s because of your parents. Most likely, your parents. Part of the job description of being a parent is to get blamed for everything that’s wrong by your kid; it’s why I’m saving for my son’s therapy, instead of his college. However, the first rule of therapy is to stop blaming everyone, especially one’s parents for one’s crappy life. I tried blaming Facebook for my woes, then Amazon, if for no other reason than they’re just so huge and successful. Then I tried blaming the inventor of Post-its, because had I thought of the idea first I’d be huge and successful, but in the end, Meh, blaming doesn’t do a rat’s ass bit of good.

11. Be the writer’s version of Madonna or Justin Timberlake. So what if my father wanted me to become a doctor or a lawyer and has disowned me because I’m not one? Had I listened to him, right now I’d be an overachieving, perfectionist anorexic with fake breasts and Botoxed lips who drinks too much and can’t hold a relationship together due to fear of intimacy. Thank goodness I’m only one of those. I’m proud to be a writer, and I tell everyone who’ll listen. Madonna’s not the greatest singer in the world. Did it matter? Nope, but she had passion and complete originality in everything she did. Is JT embarrassed to admit he was in a boy band, with a gazillion teeny-boppers screaming his name every day? I’m guessing his bank account says NO. Everybody has to start somewhere, so get your name out there and shout it loud and clear.

12. Everyone makes mistakes. Sigh. Some more than others. According to my “therapy” sessions on Facebook, you’re supposed to learn from them. Or at least that’s what those square-shaped inspirational quotes with the rainbows say. You wanna know my biggest mistake? Not learning how to type! There, I said it. That’s right, I’m a writer and I don’t know how to type. Oh, the stupid irony. So, other than that mistake kicking me in the rear each and every day, I suppose I should let all the other mistakes go so I can move on (to type slowly).

13. I may not take risks like I used to, like riding on the back of a motorcycle going 120 without a helmet, or traveling alone through Southern Italy, but you don’t get huge rewards playing it safe, either. That’s why I go to Target on a regular basis and shove one of my bookmarks for The Accidental Cougar in the center of each bestselling romance there. Think outside the box. It’s the only way to get noticed. Or arrested, but we’re trying to think positive here.

14. Embrace your control freak and then kick him/or her out of bed for eating crackers. I’ll admit I’m a control freak, but that’s only because nobody else can do things the way they need to be done. That’s why I don’t let my son wash dishes or clean the bathroom. When it comes to reviews though, or the collapse of traditional publishing, or e-book piracy, I could care less. There’s nothing I can do about it, so why stress? There’s soooo many more things to stress over within my control, like Writer’s Ass and getting caught by security at Target.

15. Unless you’re obsessive-compulsive, variety really is the spice of life. You can choose to write only novels your entire life, or poetry, or a sex column, but I’ve noticed that the writers today mix it up. If they’ve written a novel, then they usually try to get an article published somewhere to promote that book. Well-known magazines pay ridiculous amounts of money, and also give the opportunity to exercise a whole different set of skills. Diversity is the name of the game. In all areas of life.

Nope, I’m not done yet. There’s 25 of these bad boys…

UNFUCK YOURSELF

Struggle

I don’t know how many of you are writers, but this blog post I came across by Chuck Wendig can apply not just to writing, but any pursuit in general: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/01/03/25-things-writers-should-stop-doing/?subscribe=success#blog_subscription-2

I’m acknowledging Chuck’s brilliance in this piece because it resonated so greatly with me. I’m not going to lie—I suffer from each and every one of these dreaded mindfucks. Well, all except for one: I don’t chase trends. If I did, I’d be writing about vampires and handcuffs, or vampires in handcuffs. But I do ALL 24, which is why I know I need a complete lobotomy—metaphorically-speaking. And I plan on performing one on myself just as soon as the boy starts school in 12 days, 14 hours, and 22 seconds.

I’m tackling 7 of the 25 Things Writers Should Stop Doing (in my own words). I can only stand to admit a few at a time. I’ll tackle the others in the next 2 weeks. (My propensity for self-flagellation over these heinous habits is already at an all-time high.) Please read Chuck’s piece though. I cannot do it justice.

1. STOP ONLY FOR COPS, HEART ATTACKS, AND COOKIES WARM FROM THE OVEN. In other words, don’t stop writing. Too late. I’ve already stopped. My present ms had been edited by another; I proceeded to go over it another 2 times even though I couldn’t stand the sight of it anymore. Then I happened to read this article on Editors’ Pet Peeves, and they listed passive verbs as being a major one. Surely I couldn’t have THAT many, could I? So I took a little looksie and discovered I had pretty much written my entire story in this offensive manner. Back to the drawing board I went only to discover was and looked and felt and watched…UGH! I knew I had to go over this mofo yet again, line by line. There was no way it was going to happen at this point in the summer. My concentration is shot. I stopped at page 35, ready to tear my hair out. I will resume once the boy is back in school. (Really, I will.)

2. DON’T WRITE AS IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE PERSONALITY DISORDER. No copycatting; Be unique. Have you ever read a book you loved and started writing in the cadence of that author? I do it all the time with 2 of my favorite authors, Jennifer Crusie and Janet Evanovich. They both have such a distinctive, memorable style about them, I’m not even sure I do it consciously. In any case, I AM conscious of plagiarism, so I’ve learned to keep myself in check with this by never reading these guys while in the middle of a project.

3. DON’T BECOME MY POLISH GRANDMOTHER (i.e. Don’t Worry). This is like telling Anthony Weiner not to sext, or the Kardashians to go away. It’s not going to happen. I worry about finding the time to write; I worry my lifespan will be shortened because I sit for hours while writing; I worry when I don’t write that I’ll never, ever write again. However, I can try to control it to the point where I don’t give myself an ulcer or a stroke. (I hope.)

4. BE THE TORTOISE NOT THE HARE. I am the SLOWEST writer. All I hear in the publishing world, especially the epub world is: If you want to make any money, you need to pump out 3-4 books a year. At least. So the readers don’t forget you. Um, yeah. Come November it’ll be a year since my book, The Accidental Cougar came out, and I’m not even finished editing my next one (see above).I need to stop beating myself up over this one, because I know if I were to churn out 3 books a year the results would be worthy of lining my bird cage and not much else.

5. UNLESS YOU’RE AT THE DMV, THE ALTER, OR DILATED TO ONLY 4 CENTIMETERS, DON’T WAIT. Chuck writes, “What the fuck are you waiting for?” I dunno. World peace, my son to go to college, a 20-pound weight loss? I’ve always waited for my life to begin. I’m one of those freaks that buy things in preparation for when my life will begin. A gorgeous dress for when I’m a size 4 again. A beautiful tablecloth for when I give dinner parties (right after I learn how to cook gourmet meals).A stunning necklace for when I accept the award for “Most Prolific Author.”

6. IF YOU THINK IT WILL GET EASIER, YOU’RE DUMBER THAN I THOUGHT. I don’t think writing gets easier the more you do it; I think you simply get better at it. My third book was harder to write than the first 2 put together. I have no idea why. All I know is it’s quite possible to write one outstanding novel and then follow it up with a piece of utter crap. And of course, I worry about that all the time.

7. IF YOU WANT TO BE KNOWN AS A BARISTA YOUR ENTIRE LIFE, KNOCK YOURSELF OUT. I have nothing against baristas. I spent a caffeinated chunk of my life as a barista, but you’d better believe I was working toward other things—acting, writing, something else. And I made sure people knew that. In my 20s when people asked what I did, I didn’t say, “I’m a corporate copy editor/proofreader.” I proudly told them I was an actress. And I received nothing but Oohs and Aahs. I’m proud to tell folks I’m a writer. I even tell them I’m a romance writer. When I took a social media class, there were a number of romance writers who were adamant about wanting to keep their personal identity a secret on Facebook. Especially the ones who wrote erotica. I don’t know about you, but if I had the choice of being stuck in an elevator for 9 hours with either an erotic writer or a phlebotomist, guess which one I’d choose?

Until next week…

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