Thursday, May 31, 2012

Getting back into the swing of things, and a rant about Buffy. LOL

As those of you who read my blog (or know me in real life) know, it's been a rough few weeks. I've started writing on my latest book again. I've even set myself a weekly word count goal which is helping me stay focused. I've started working out again, and after 2 weeks it is hard. I had no idea that such a short break (because I only took long ones in the past. LOL) could make such a big difference. My running time is back to sucking, but I'm still a helluva kickboxer. Okay, I'm getting sidetracked. The truth is I'm up earlier than I expected and thought it would be a great opportunity to catch everyone up on me. Since recent weeks have been so stressful, my insomnia is working overtime. I'm trying to combat that with harder workouts and melatonin.

Anyway, I'm making plans for a huge pumpkin garden this year. Some time next week, I'll be starting my little seeds. My dad has decided which areas in his garden (because I don't have room) where we are going to put these bad boys and I'm ready to get started. But first, I'm going to get them started in these cute little pots and peat pellets.

On a side note (of what I've been doing lately) I've almost completely finished watching the Buffy The Vampire Slayer series. I never watched it when it was on TV back in the day. I was a big fan of the movie version. I know, I know, apparently I'm in the minority there. But, I had no interest in seeing Buffy done a different way.


My husband and I love to watch television series together. We like long story lines, so we decided to try Buffy. We started watching some time last year, and made it through season 4. Early on this year, he stopped at the beginning of season 5. He said that Buffy was too much of a bitch for him to enjoy the show any more. I must say, I agree. However, I kept watching.

Now I realize that Buffy has a lot of die hard fans out there. I'm not knocking the series on the whole. It's the character of Buffy herself that lost her appeal for me. At the end of season 4, I already didn't care one way or another what happened to her. The entire story line for season 5 I found weak, and I hated the addition of Dawn.

I just finished season 6 (with my son who is watching the series too) and we are in agreement. Buffy is a raging bitch. Over all, I still like the show, but the character of Buffy really brings the rest of the story down in my opinion.

I try to not criticize the work of others and to be fair when I feel I really want to say something. I've thought it over (a lot) and I wish Buffy had stayed dead. I will finish (eventually) and watch season 7, but the show hasn't been enjoyable to me since early season 4. Oh, and the over all plot for season 4 was weak too.

The only character I've continued to like throughout (and be able to fully understand and sympathize with her motives) is Willow. When she beat the crap out of Buffy in season 6, it turned me on. Ha. Ha. Ha. Sorry, but that's how much I hate Buffy at this point.

Mostly, this stems from her treatment of Spike. It's not that I'm a crazy Spike fan, although I do like him. The way she has repeatedly treated him has diminished her character. She keeps repeating that he is a "soulless thing." But doesn't treating someone else the way she has take away her own soul piece by piece? Regardless of what he was in the past, he's been (at the very least) a valuable member of the team. She doesn't have to love him, but don't treat him like worse than shit. It makes her no longer a hero, but just a bitch with super powers.

Wow. Apparently, that has REALLY been on my mind. And here I was planning to talk about my new book and my pumpkin garden. Holy crap. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Every day is a little bit easier

It is a very humbling thing to realize that some day the world will go on without you. As some of you may have read in my last post (or heard on Facebook), my sister-in-law was killed in a car accident on Mother's Day. This past week has been rough. I've offered comfort as best I could, and when I was alone I cried until my face was swollen.

It is so strange ... she should still be here. I was at the funeral. I saw the mangled wreckage of what was left of her car and yet I feel as if she is still here.

Expressions like, "Life is short," don't really mean anything. I've realized that even if you live to 100, life is still short. There are always words left unspoken, projects left unfinished. All you can do is do your very best with the time you have. We will never know how much time that is.

Rita would smack me if she knew I was moping around in my pajamas. She would want me to get back to work on the book I was writing when all this happened. So, that's what I'm going to do. It's difficult being a fighter at heart and having an enemy you can't fight, like grief, or death. Technically, you can fight death, but you can only hold him off for so long.

It seems a bit obscene to go on with life when something so precious has been stolen. However, I believe that because life is so fleeting, that is what makes it so precious. If we lived forever, would the moments spent with loved ones mean as much?

I don't want to miss out on a single opportunity to create a wonderful memory. Some day when I'm old, those memories may be all I have to keep me company. Or perhaps, they will give comfort to someone else.

I'm more determined than ever to live my life to the fullest. I will accomplish my goals. I will get off my ass and get back to my workout schedule. I will write this book. I will spend time with those I love, and I will do it in her honor.

The pain will fade, Rita, but your memory will not. I will keep your smile in my heart, locked away like the treasure it is.

Monday, May 14, 2012

There are no words

Today at 4 a.m. we got the news that my husband's sister was killed in a car accident. We've been with the family all day ... and it still isn't real to me. I've held family while they cried and it's like something inside me is broken. I can't cry yet, but I will.

If I go back to her parent's house it feels like she will be there. Surely I will walk in and see her face again. The last time I saw her really wasn't the last time ... was it?

I can hear her voice. I can see her face. I still remember what it felt like the last time I hugged her. I was an only child until I married into this family. She was my sister. I can't believe she's gone.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Why do so many hate self-published books?

I made the comment recently that it never occurred to me when I got published how many people would hate me for it. While that's true, it also never occurred to me how many people absolutely hate self-published books.  I knew that in the past (many years ago) being self-published was a bad thing for your credibility. For one thing, you had to PAY someone to publish your book. The way I see it, that is always a bad thing.

You may have heard me say before that I've always wanted to be a writer. It was one of those things I kept on the back-burner. I wrote stories for my own entertainment and knew one day that I would be able to entertain others. I had no doubt that it would happen. I didn't just believe in myself, I had faith in my abilities to do what was necessary. And when the time came, I taught myself the industry. I did massive amounts of research before submitting my first book. I also never once considered self-publishing.

I taught myself how to write query letters, what was and was not appropriate to say in one, etc. I researched which publishing houses might be interested in my type of book. I also was surprised to find that you didn't necessarily have to have an agent anymore. Now, before I say this I don't mean any disrespect to literary agents. From my experience if you can communicate well with others in a professional manner, understand contracts (or know someone who can and is willing to help), then you don't need an agent to get your books published. If you get a movie deal, that's another matter entirely. By all means, get an agent for that.

My point is, things had changed within the industry.

When I finally got cracking on my first novel, I found a publisher within 4 months. It seems unreal to think that this August will be 5 years since my first book, Red, was published.

When I got my first contract and told people the story would be released as an ebook first, everyone's response was a slack-jawed, "What?"

No one had even heard of an ebook before. Not around here anyway. Ha. Ha. Ha. I can't tell you how many times I had to explain to someone what an ebook was and half the time, they still didn't understand what I was saying. "You mean you can't go buy it in a store?"

Little did we know that in a short time ereaders would explode onto the market. What was once a niche market became pretty standard. Not only are most novels released in ebook now, but there are many different types and formats.

As I've been in this industry for nearly 5 years, I've learned a lot. In fact, I've learned more than I did in college. I'm really more of a hands-on kinda gal anyway.

I've learned that being traditionally published helps to gain you more exposure and the more the better. About 2 years ago, I was fortunate enough to begin working with THE biggest publisher of erotic romance ebooks, Ellora's Cave. Through their forums and discussions, and paying attention to my editor, I feel like I'm so much better than when I started this journey both as a writer and as a business woman.

Then, just when I thought I had everything down pretty well, self-publishing changed. Suddenly Amazon is allowing people to self-publish with them. And get this, IT DOESN'T COST ANYTHING. Wow. That didn't sound too bad. So, I checked into it further. If your book is priced at $2.99 or above, you can earn a 70% royalty. Plus, you will already be listed on the largest ebook retailer's site. (Amazon)

The more I looked into it, the more it sounded like a good idea. So, I wrote Frank and The Werewolf Tamer with the intention to self-publish it. I'd like to take a moment to clarify some misconceptions. I NEVER submitted Frank and The Werewolf Tamer ANYWHERE. It wasn't rejected by others and Amazon was NOT my last resort.

Lately I've been getting negative comments on my books, not about the books themselves, but about ME. Some jerk saying how I'm not good enough to be traditionally published and such. Obviously, they didn't bother to look at my backlist. This same person went so far as to say I was a liar for calling myself multi-published.

It was pretty obvious that this individual hates self-published books and perhaps me in particular. I have no idea why they would dislike either. I don't know them and self-publishing isn't the red-headed step child it used to be.

However, a quick glance at the Amazon forums will prove that not only do people hate self-published authors, but they don't understand the industry.

In a world where big names still rule to a certain extent, self-publishing is a great way to gain extra exposure for those already traditionally published. It's an opportunity to earn larger percentages of royalties and be able to offer readers a lower price. All of these reasons and more were why I decided to give it a try and I haven't been disappointed.

In fact, things went so well with Frank and The Werewolf Tamer that I decided to self-publish my backlist books as their contracts expire. Yet again, this is my CHOICE. I haven't been shopping them around and getting rejected. This was my decision and not a last resort.

I am sick to death of being attacked for self-publishing as if that's all I do. I'm published with three different houses. I also have no intention of turning my back on traditional publishing.

All of my books are professionally edited and well polished. I put a great deal of work into each story to be sure that when I present it to readers it's the best that it can be.

As long as your book is professionally edited, has a great cover, and a good blurb, people will notice it.

If people are reading your work and you are earning royalties, you ARE published.

I don't know why so many hate self-publishing, but they need to get over themselves. The industry is continuing to change and so should outdated views.