My thoughts regarding the Orlando Pulse Shooting

I was at the gym on June 12th when I heard about the shooting that occurred just two hours earlier.  It’s unnerving to know that there is still hatred, even in the United States- a land where everyone has the possibility to become what they aspire to.  And to know that this man- this terrorist- could’ve been or done anything with his life but he chose to become a serial killer, instead.

There has been a lot of debate since the tragedy occurred.  People have voiced their opinions quite openly about the gay community and lifestyle.  One of my friends posted on Facebook that some were even happy about the shootings, stating that being gay is evil.  Wow.  Really?  Did they miss the point that this is not about whether you are gay or not, this is not about frequenting nightclubs, this is not about your religion- essentially, it boils down to this- people died.

Human beings, like you and me, people who had family, friends, and Lives- perished.  Even if you don’t accept their lifestyle and their beliefs, you can at least value them for who they essentially are- a Human Being, just like you and me.  They did not deserve to be brutally attacked.  They deserved to live their lives accordingly.

I am really surprised by how people think being gay is evil and I know where some of this influence stems from but I’m not going to go into religion here.  Being gay, in my opinion, isn’t evil or sinful, it’s a preference.  It’s a different lifestyle that maybe you and I don’t understand but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to judge anyone for being who they are.  I have no right to nor would I want to impede on someone’s freedom and happiness.  I believe everyone has the right to pursue what they want in life and if it doesn’t harm anyone and is not unethical or immoral, I am not going to keep anyone from being happy.

Be who you are no matter what anyone else thinks.  My heart goes out to the families of the victims and to the survivors of this irrational act.

The Space Between- the daily life of a writer between novels

Day 3-

Hi Readers.  Today is Friday.  Enough said.  Haha.  Seriously, how can one be unhappy on a Friday – unless they work on the weekend, that is.

When I think about it, I actually do work on the weekends, but what I do on Saturdays and Sundays:  writing, marketing/promo, talking to readers and fans, interacting with my awesome Street Team- I don’t consider work.  It’s a normal, natural part of my day and something I look forward to.  It’s funny when I think about it and when I compare and contrast my day job to my writing career.  On a nightly basis throughout the weeks, I do some type of promoting and/or writing and I have never really considered it a job.  It’s just something I do and yes, it’s extra work since I also work a 40+ hour day time job Monday-Friday; however, I would never consider not writing.  That would be really strange and very sad for me.

I am sitting here at my computer typing this blog out, after promoting my 2nd book, Jasper, to more than one-hundred groups on Facebook and my hands are hurting.  Sometimes this happens after I’ve used my hands extensively on the computer at my day job and then at night, writing and promoting my novels.  I wonder if other Authors ever get the dreaded carpal-tunnel syndrome after years of applying their trade.  I’ve felt the effects, having to sleep in braces for several nights at a time and it is really painful and not fun.

Last year, my dad bought for me a “Dragon dictate” program which he used himself and said was a bit cumbersome, at first, but he thought it could help me in my writing.  It was a sweet gesture on his part but, unfortunately, I am not the type of Author that can speak my books, I have to physically type them out, often deleting and editing as I go.

** So, today has been a nicer day for me and I’m thankful.  **

Yesterday, I forgot to mention that I actually wrote ten pages in my WIP- woo-hoo!!  That’s an accomplishment for me as I’ve been dragging my feet, procrastinating, and listless in my energy.  Even the ideas in my brain froze and came to a standstill but yesterday was a breakthrough of sorts.  Of course, now that my hands are hurting from all the Facebook promos, I will take a break tonight from any further writing- to be continued tomorrow with a hopeful ten more pages (crossing fingers).

And this is Day three.

The Space Between- the daily life of a writer between novels

Day 2-

So, here I am on the 2nd day of this brief journey of insight into the life of an author, in between published books.

Today has been a better day for me.  After receiving encouragement and reassurance from my good friend and guru, Michael (wide smile), he asked me what was important to me?  I answered “my books.”  And there was my answer.  Nothing else matters.  Now I say this and, of course, other things matter like my family and my friends but truly all the nonsense at work I’ve been wrestling with, that has caused me countless sleepless nights and worry and angst over how to deal with people who have no insight into their own bad behavior- well- that doesn’t matter at all because that’s not my overall goal.  My goal is to be a successful, respected Author and that’s what I’m striving for every day.  As long as I keep centered and focused on what’s truly important to me and I keep striving every day to achieve it, everything else, namely all the pettiness, can fall to the wayside because it has nothing to do with my goals and what I want to achieve in life.

It also didn’t hurt to see how many books I’ve sold with Amazon so far this year.  When I saw how many I sold for my most popular book, I almost fell over in my chair.  Wow!  There’s a stark difference from what you sell monthly to how much you’ve sold over several months.  My monthly sales may seem minuscule but the overall effect of seeing the greater number is a real eye opener and it was good to note that my promotions are actually helping my sales.  I am always happy when someone new has discovered my books and gives one a try.  If they don’t like it, that’s okay- everyone has different tastes but there have been several that have taken a chance and read one of my books and now want to read all of them and that is amazing!

So, after being re-centered, I made a new friend.  A lovely woman who decided to join my Street Team and- guess what- she wants to promote me, too.  She read my first book, Nightfall and loved it and she decided everyone needs to read my books (how amazing and wonderful is that).  For an Author, hearing that a reader enjoys your book(s) is like celebrating a birthday- it is the best feeling in the world to hear someone loves what you painstakingly took years to write, edit and get published.  It truly only takes one enthusiastic reader/fan to make an Author’s day.  The fact that she loved my book, Nightfall, so much as to want to promote me is such a blessing to me!

So today, I decided to take the day to step away from the drama at my day job and get some work done without interruption.  This really helped to put me in a better frame of mind, too.  The only thing better would’ve been to listen to music while I worked and I may just do that tomorrow.

And this is Day 2.

The Space Between- the daily life of a writer between novels

Day 1-

Today is a tough day for me.  Not only am I dealing with the sadness of not having my mom, my best friend in my life but I also consciously aware of  the upcoming one year anniversary of her death.  I just want to cry, cry and do some more crying until I am fully spent.  To top this off, I am also dealing with my dad’s failing health problems while trying to ignore my own.   My husband and I have a new dog which we found out is more of a puppy.  We have no kids and this dog/puppy is driving us insane with sleepless nights, endless chewing of objects, play time starting at 10 or 10:30 at night every night and chasing and eating anything that moves plus eating wet grass outside, creating her own salad mixes.  She’s also only partially house trained so you never know when you might end up with a nasty, unexpected surprise in your house, like this morning, for example.

To top this all of, I am one of those unfortunate but very common authors that works a full time day job.  Things have become so stressful at work, I want to scream at the top of my lungs, run away and tell them to take their job back but unfortunately, as the bread winner of the family and the one who provides the health benefits, I do not have the luxury of leaving a job that interferes with my real career in order to pursue my writing full-time.  I will be lucky one day if I can work part-time instead of full-time but because I married for love and not money, this is my plight in life and I must deal with my lot.

As any other author, I too want to make it big but I don’t know how.  My days are filled with angst, stressing over book sales and why there aren’t more when I market my books to more than 100+ Facebook groups and pages every other day.  I am trying to reach my population- the readers who love Paranormal Romance or even Paranormal Erotic Romance since my books are fitting more and more in this category.  I crave interaction with my readers and am saddened by the low level I receive.  How does an Author make it and what are the tools?  I wish the Author community was more generous with information, too.  It seems Authors like to withhold information and this saddens me deeply for learning the trade and all that comes with it – the extensive marketing and social media platforms- is hard in itself.  If you can help someone, why wouldn’t you?  Fortunately, I’ve encountered some good people along the way, generous and giving, offering to help promote me for free- I am thankful for such loving, kind souls.

All these thoughts and ideas go through my head as I sit here at Day One, with a WIP I am struggling to get through, a book under contract, expected to publish by August 2016 and three books already out on the market.  But instead of appreciating my accomplishments, I am wanting more, just like most authors.  The life of an Author is hard, it’s a struggle, it’s a dance between what you want and what you have and trying to figure out how to get to where you want to be with the resources you have.

And this is Day One.

You’re Loved

I woke up this morning, groggy and feeling a bit off, not ready to start the new year doing the same old, boring monotonous routine I’ve been doing every day 5 days a week now for many, many years.  I took some time to dance a bit, sensing the passion inside of me buried, knowing I need something … some new adventure, something exciting, an escape (a legal one, that is (smile).

This is not the first time I’ve been restless, wanting, unfulfilled- it comes in waves and cycles and I’ve become accustomed to it but it leaves you the same every time- feeling alone and searching for a solution.  Pacing like a caged animal, wanting freedom, ready to burst out screaming or singing- who knows- depends on the mood and scrutiny of the public eye.  A beautiful, spiritual woman many years ago told me “You are one who always want to progress” and, bingo, I realized she was right.  It’s amazing how something as simple and revered upon by society can cause such anxiety, restlessness and sadness within one’s soul.

But I am not here to talk about me, I’m here to talk about what came next.

Sitting at my desk, running over the mundane, routine of my day, I came upon a message that made me smile.

You’re loved,

Michael

This simple, direct, quick message warmed my heart and made all the difference, to me.  Because it meant so much to me and gave me a bit of hope, I thought I’d pass it on and ask you to give someone hope today.

People are strong, resilient and often times keep their own battles within, struggling, living with, and dealing with emotional journeys we don’t know about or maybe can’t even comprehend. All it takes is a few words, a helping hand, a sharing concern to let them know “It’s okay.  You’ll be fine.  You are not alone.”  That’s what Michael’s three simple words said to me this morning and I pass them on to you.  You are loved but others are too and they may not know it or might need a reminder.  Let someone know today.

 

Of these 5 I am Thankful

So, it’s that time of year again when families gather together around a Turkey and challenge themselves to eat in one sitting more food than they’ve had in an entire day.  But, it is also the time of year when we start thinking about life- those little things we are grateful for that when combined together makes life fun, joyful and worth getting up in the morning.  Those small things that add to our life and that, without, we would miss very much.

The general rule is to be thankful every day but if we can’t do this, let’s consider writing a list, whether on paper or in our own mind of those things we can’t do without that we are happy for.  Here’s my top 5:

  1. I am thankful for family.  This year, we are minus one.  It is the first year we will spend the Holidays without my mom, my best friend, and the one woman who always gave me full support no matter what was happening around us.  I miss her dearly.  Our family has carried on without this shining star and struggles to remain strong.  I am happy that I still have my dad and can care for him as he survives day to day through the inevitable ills and arthritis that accompany the aging process.  My dad and I were never close but, somehow, over the years I have learned to appreciate him and love him.
  2. I am thankful for my supportive husband.  Whoever said it- “A good man is hard to find” was right.  I am so glad my husband chooses every day to stay by my side and live the rest of his life with little ol’ me.  He is your “typical” male in many respects- not one to express his feelings- but I must say he surprised me with his staunch support as we went through the recent deaths of my mom and my beautiful dog (the last of two we had).  I’ve learned with age and experience, the value of having a partner who shares your same values and ideals and I must say, I couldn’t have asked for a better one to stand by my side.
  3. I am thankful for my work.  I am fortunate in that I have two jobs- one full-time that provides me with health, life and dental insurance and supports my other job:  my career, my true passion and calling- writing.  I am thankful I can pay the bills and live my life the way I want to.  Money provides a certain freedom to do, get, experience as you want and I am so thankful I am able to enjoy this freedom and make the most of it, in the ways that I wish.
  4. I am thankful I have a home of my very own.  My home may not be a several-storied mansion, filled with worldly antiques worth a fortune but it is ours- our own little retreat when life gets stressful.  The peaceful, corner lot of our bungalow is perfect sized for two people who don’t like cleaning endless hours of the day.  We love our home.  That we were granted a 2nd chance at owning one is incredible.  The fact that this home is larger than our previous one was just an added bonus.
  5. I am thankful for you.  Like every writer, I am thankful for my readers.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to turn my hobby of writing into a career though I’d like to, but in the meantime, I am thankful and grateful that I am able to speak to people all over the world through my blogs and my books.  Wonderful people I may never meet but wish the best for, always.  You read my blogs, my FB insights, my endless advertisements, my moody rants and you interact and participate with me and I love it!   If it weren’t for you, my lovely readers, there’d be no reason to write, so here’s a big Thank You to you!

 

 

Please- stop that now. Be kind to yourself.

I have a friend who hates having pictures taken.  She thinks she looks horrible in pictures yet there are countless cute ones of her.  She’s always complaining about the circles under her eyes but I don’t see them.  Instead, I see a beautiful woman who is harsh on herself and it makes me think about how women in general feel this way and how hard we are on ourselves.

We are hardest on ourselves but mercilessly so.  What are we trying to achieve by badgering ourselves?  Definitely not confidence or higher self esteem.  And there’s nothing positive about wielding critical words at us.  As women, we should be doing the exact opposite- patting ourselves on the back for just being alive.  For getting through this world of adversity and challenges and not letting the world get to us- that in itself deserves applause.  And as women, we should get even more kudos for we are the nurturers of the world, the ones who take care of others before we even consider ourselves.  I hear all the time, while taking care of my mom in her nursing home, how “A son is a son until he gains a wife, a daughter is a daughter for life.”  Being critical of ourselves and calling ourselves names should be removed from our psyche, permanently.  We have no right to hurt ourselves this way.  We are good people no matter what we’ve done in life.  Life is hard enough without chastising ourselves.

Remember all the good things you do on a daily basis and celebrate you for you are a great woman!  There is no one else like you.  You are unique and beautiful just the way you are.  Be kind to yourself, be good to you, if only for just one day.  Pamper yourself and reward you for being so marvelous and you will find that in being kind to yourself it naturally passes on to others, one person at a time.  It’s a chain reaction and it all starts with you.

It doesn’t have to be your birthday or even a holiday.  Do something wonderful for yourself today – just because you are you- a truly special human being that deserves the best in life.  Take care my friends.

It’s beach time… or how to de-stress

Whew…  what a long week…  Time to de-compress.  How does a writer do that?  In any way she can.  For me, during the upcoming weekend, it’s heading to the beach for a few hours to listen to the waves rush up to the shore.  There’s something calming about being near water, letting it run over your toes and wash over your ankles.  It’s beautiful. It’s the power of nature in rhythm with the world.  It’s a good reminder that we, too, should be in in tune with that natural rhythm but often we get caught up with ‘survival of the fittest’, marketing ourselves, searching out reviewers, publishers, running contests, and trying to figure out how in the world we can gain more fans without declaring bankruptcy.

We put our books and livelihood first when we should put our mental and physical health, friends, family, and living our individual lives first.  It’s time to take a step back, refocus, realize we have support and place love, fun and friendship back into our lives for if we forfit proper care of ourselves to chase down our dreams, we won’t have the energy to pursue them.

Having been stressed out and overwhelmed these past three weeks with not only writing but the monumental task of searching for a home, I am extending to you, my friends, this friendly bit of advice.  Take care of yourself, love yourself for you are worth it.  Everything else will fall into place, naturally and in the proper timing and rhythm specific to you, for your future success.

Wishing all of you a wonderful, relaxing weekend!

While you are waiting…on that book contract, advice #6- the finale

Hello, my friends.  So… you are still waiting on a contract for that marvelous masterpiece you penned?  Well, don’t get discouraged yet.  Remember, it takes publishers and even agents quite a lot of time to get back to you (on the average).  Sometimes, you won’t hear a word from them and these’ I would safely advise that you cross off your list of hopefuls for if they don’t have the courtesy to contact you, then maybe you should discount them and spend your efforts and energy elsewhere where its appreciated.

In the meantime, though, don’t go pulling all your hair out or turn to nail-biting as a hobby, do something constructive while you wait.  Engage in something positive to distract yourself.

Have you considered…

Editing another book you have almost completed or writing a new novel.

If you started a novel but set it aside to publish another, why don’t you go back to that original work and edit it/complete it to submit it to publishers or agents in the near future?  As a writer,you have to keep doing just that:  writing.  Your fans demand it, crave it and keeping them engaged and interested is a priority.  Plus, we love our fans.  Without them, we would be writing novels for no reason.  We write so that others can enjoy our stories and that makes us happy and gives us a reason to continue our trade.

If you have no other works in process, then consider starting a new novel or even writing a sequel to the book you are aiming to get published.  This will keep up your momentum and maybe even keep the original characters alive in a second book.  It’s always fun when you can do something new and different, so let your creative ideas flow during this long, sometimes torturous waiting period.

Whatever you do, my friends, be patient for good things will eventually happen for you.  In the meantime, take care of yourself, distract yourself and do something fun!

While you are waiting…on that book contract, Advice #5

It’s been a  long while and you’re still waiting, eh?  Well, don’t give up hope yet.  Sometimes life gets you down and you can get discouraged.  But while you’re waiting for that golden opportunity (your book contract) to pop up in your Inbox, have you considered:

— Outlets to vent or expend excess energy while you wait —

It’s always good to do something else, distract yourself in some way  but it doesn’t always work. What does, though, is venting to a good friend as long as you don’t vent too much and too long.  Gather a circle of support consisting of your top friends.  You know who I mean- the ones that would do almost anything for you, that love and support you and want to see you succeed.  Possibly these could be members of your future “street team” later, helping to advertise and get the word out for your book.

Tell them your worries and concerns.  Vent your frustrations.   Give and receive hugs for that is what true friends are for.  To ‘pump you up’, give you renewed energy, strength and courage, make you see the bigger picture when your dreams and goals seem so far away and even, at times, unreachable.  Their varied views, opinions, and honesty will help you sort things out.

If that fails, exercise to relieve some pent up stress.  Take a long walk, maybe even a very long one, listening to your favorite music.  Work out on a machine, take a class, or even work out with your friend (that way you can vent and expend excess energy at the same time).

Whatever you do, do it for yourself and for your general health and well-being.  It’s a long haul from submission of your MS to receiving a contract and it’s not going to get any easier but in the meantime you can have some fun.

Some even vent or stress-release with shopping.  Good idea but take care not to over-spend or then you’ll have the additional stress of owing money.  Sit at a cafe with a friend, go to dinner, visit a local attraction.  Whatever you do, vent and laugh because in the end things will work out in your favor though  I know in the meantime it feels like you’re slowly being tortured and stretched to your limits on a rack.

Take care my friends and don’t give up.  Now is the time to have faith and look forward to your successful writing career.

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