Tuesday, May 30, 2017

If you're not going to write every day: Quit now!

Fucking bite me!

So, I read this blog post yesterday with a similar title. I have no idea who the author was. Some whiny bitch dude, I've never heard of, giving advice and... shit I don't know what the hell he was doing. I read half of it, and it was long as fuck, going on to illustrate his point in other jobs and... he freakin' meant that title. Like you know, he's king of the book advice because he has a couple out.

I've given advice in the past. I don't like to give advice. I feel like I'm not good enough to offer much advice. Sit ass in chair and write... I've said that so many times and I stand by that as the only sure fire piece of advice that works. If you want to write, then you write. Writers write. We write and we write and we write. One day we might be published. Not all writers who write are published. Doesn't mean they're not writers. Doesn't mean they failed. Not all writers want to be published. Not all writers have the stomach to jump into this shark infested field for very little pay. Dude, publishing is fucking insane, why in the hell would anyone want to do that?

But, so, why am I writing about this if I agree with the guy? I know you're asking that question. I hear ya. The thing is, I don't. I don't agree with that age old piece of advice at all. I feel like it's elitist, dictatorial bullshit. Sort of along the lines of I got mine... yeah yeah... bite my big fat writer's ass.

It is true, if you want to be a writer you write. How you write and when you write is totally up to you. Writing a thousand words a day every day isn't the law. Writing a hundred words a day... dude write a Facebook post or something. People read shit like that and think that's what real writers do and then they don't follow a dream they might have had because of some unrealistic notion that real writers write every damned day and if they don't they're hacks and should quit.

The truth is real writers have day jobs or night jobs or two jobs or three jobs. They have families. Sometimes they have families and a job or two. Real life sucks, it sucks time and energy and dreams and if it leaves us with enough time to read a magazine while sitting on the toilet then sometimes that's all the time we have. 

I wrote my first book around 20 years ago when my older three kids were all under 5. The youngest was two, she's about to be 22. I wrote it on yellow legal paper and spiral notebooks in pencil. I wrote it when they napped or played in the yard. I wrote it at night after they went to bed. It's around 70k words. It took me a year. I never published it and I never will. I will never publish the second  or the third book I wrote. The fourth, fifth and seventh books were published. No one cares. Not a soul. Crickets man, crickets. Were they good? I don't know. No one read them, moving on.

Point is, I kept writing even though I might never publish. I kept writing even when no one would read the stories. I kept writing through horrible years of hurricane destruction and death and dealing with kids and a late life pregnancy that has destroyed my body and my health. I've published 25 books since I wrote my first book 20 years ago. I'm about to finish my 30th book. In 20 years. That's damned remarkable considering I didn't write for three years. AT. ALL. And then I wrote like a fiend for a year.  

I don't write book after book or story after story. My brain is not built that way. I write a book until it's finished. I don't write every day that I'm writing a book. I take days off. I go out. I do things. I function. But when a book must be written in must be written. Some days I am lucky to get a couple of paragraphs out. Other days it's five or six thousand words or until my finger tips are so sore that touching the keys sends electric shocks up my arms. I wrap one wrist in an arthritis compression glove and a wrist wrap because carpal tunnel and arthritis... because I'm a writer. I write a book until that book is done. And I write it in the time I have available. And if I don't have time or the mental ability to write each and every day... I watch television or read OPB (other people's books) because I'm a human being who has options.

In a perfect world, I'd love to be able to do nothing but sit and write. And I did for a long time. I did that because I thought I had to. I thought I had to because everyone around me is churning out book after book and I was being left behind. I was competing with others and killing myself for words on a page that didn't mean shit to me just to throw words on a page. And I hated throwing words on a page like so much paint splatter to see what stuck. So I don't do that. I write because I want to write. Because I have a story to tell. I write when the story tells me to write it. Not because some asshole with an inflated ego says this is what writers do. Writers don't do that.

You know what writers do... we write. Yes. That is the one and only tried and true way you're ever going to write a book. Sit your ass in a chair and pound words onto a page. But do it on your own terms, at your own pace. Not because you think that's what writers do. 

And I'll tell you another thing... that thing about writers living on coffee and cigarettes... yeah, I rarely drink coffee and I don't smoke. I do forget to eat and bathe when I'm in the middle of  a story that must be told. Not sure about other writers. And when it's done the first thing I do is pull out the bacon and eggs and eat like I haven't seen food in a month... because I haven't. Candy corn and potato chips and Dr Pepper... yeah, I eat like shit when I'm writing.

Write where you are with what you have. Pencil and legal pads. Laptop. Desktop. A combination of all three. Just write. If you're a writer, you write. If you're going to quit, quit. I've quit 20 times or more. Yet somehow, there are still stories to be told when I'm ready to listen. You do you.

And that's all I'm going to say on the subject.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Print books and where did they go

A couple of months ago I noticed something strange on my Amazon author page. Sidelined and Out of the Blues was listed twice. Okay. The second listing was for the print edition. Okay. Both listings undercut my listed print editions by a couple of dollars. Okay. When I went into Author Central to 'claim' Cold Shadow as my book (you do this so it appears on your author page making it easier for people to search your pen name and find ALL of your books) (note to authors, you need to set up your author page on Amazon and log into author central and claim all of your books) (why the hell haven't you done that? don't you want to sell books?)...anyway, when I was in Author Central I noticed that those two book listings had been added as 'mine'. They aren't mine. They're used book sellers reselling my books. They're not from me. They're not from my publisher, which is me. They aren't mine. I noticed that one more book was listed in a separate listing for print as well. One that I removed from publication in both ebook and print form.

So I went and checked those three books. I clicked the buy link for the print version of Sidelined in the original listing. It did not display the price I had it for sale for. It did display a third party seller as the originator. So I checked Out of the Blues. And yep. Same. The third book only has that listing. The third book was in the couple of hundred dollar range. It did not have an add to cart link. You have to actively click the link to display used book sellers. But it was listed on my Author Central page the same way Side and Blues was... as a second, separate entity.


Strange how things happen.

I read an article the next day that said that Amazon had begun allowing third party sellers to 'bid for' the buy button on print books. Usually these sellers were under cutting the publisher. And Amazon has no problem with it.

I read several people talking about it on social media and the general consensus is that it's a sky is falling article and nothing to worry about... but here I am with two books that have been hijacked by third party sellers... and no one even thinks it's a problem.


Do you know how much it costs to produce a print book? I've spent upwards to two hundred dollars for formatting and wrap covers. But it's more than that. I've formatted several myself and it takes hours. Hell days. Days of work staring at tiny print and hundreds of pages that like to reformat themselves and put chapters where they shouldn't be and blank pages where there are none... and then there's getting alternating headers and page numbers to be on the pages they are supposed to be on (hint it's not the cover page, or the title page or the first blank pages, or the copyright page or the well you get my drift). Getting the title and author name to alternate pages is tricky as fuck. I've spent upwards to four days just formatting a damned book and nothing else.

So, in short it costs money and time to make a print book. The bright side to all this is that Createspace doesn't charge to produce the book, they take the cost of each book out in royalty split. They produce the book and I get a buck or two afterward. They tell me the least amount I can charge for a book. I set the price as low as I can because print books aren't cheap to produce. I think I make $2.50 on one book, it sells for 15 or more. I can't remember what I have it set at. IF... IF you buy that book through Createspace. If you buy it through Amazon I get a dollar, if Amazon doesn't discount it.

To date I've made back what I spent on exactly three books. I don't sell many print books. The ones I did sell were through Amazon or if I bought them at cost and sold them myself for a discount.

And here we are with Amazon, who incidentally, owns Createspace, having started a second book printing business through KDP where we list the ebooks and actively trying to get us to stop using Createspace in favor of that service... and two of my buy links no longer link to createspace but to third party sellers.

And we won't even discuss how much you make when you list the books with other sites like Barnes and Noble... okay we will... first though, you have to raise your prices to an even higher list price for extended distribution. I mean really high. And this book that you just listed for 20 bucks so that you can get it on Barnes and Noble will only earn you a royalty of around fifty cents. So people who would have bought your book at Amazon won't because the price is too high just so you can get it on Barnes and Noble... and it's not worth it.

It's not worth the cost and trouble and pain in the ass to put a book in paperback.

It's not.

I did it because I thought people wanted them.

Anyway, long story short. I pulled all of my books from Amazon. I delisted several from sale completely. Right now the only books still for sale in print are only available through Createspace.... I know.... One Click... Prime Shipping.... I KNOW!

I made the decision not to put the two most recent books in print. And I was happy with that decision because I've never sold many books and I'd stopped selling books pretty much all together over the past six months.

I had several people tell me they only read print. Or they needed the book(s) for their collection.


So... I'm not going to put the books back on Amazon. And you'll notice the two books that do still have the add to cart option are now in the several hundred dollar range....don't buy those.... But I did go ahead and commission a wrap cover for one and will do that for the second one later this month.

I might not list them for sale at all.

I will sell them through my site. You can order them straight from me, I will ship them. And I will sign them. For less than Createspace will charge you.

I am currently taking advance orders for Any Given Sunday. I plan to order the first Saturday in June. You'll find a button in the header of this blog that says PRINT BOOKS! Check there for a direct to paypal buy button.

If there is a print book that I self published that you're looking for and it's not available through Createspace please contact me. All books with available print books have the createspace link on their book page. Please click the cover to the right side. Or the title of the book in the tool bar.


If yesterday had a theme...

Death, family, and Dean Winchester.

Yesterday had a theme.

I woke up to the death of a rock star. I cried in an elementary school gym. I reveled with a dancing baby tree. Then cried for him. I bonded with a genetically engineered trash panda. Then cried for him. I cried for a fictional character I never expected to give a shit about. And Dean Winchester broke my heart..one more goddamned time out of a lifetime of breaking my heart.

Yesterday was about death and family and love and hate and realizing your spirit animal is a foul mouthed raccoon.

My last baby graduated fifth grade yesterday. It's not a major milestone by any means. It's simply moving from one school to another. But the schools around here hold an honors ceremony for the kids and the parents... because it might not be a major milestone, it's still a milestone. It is just the first warning that one day very soon you will be doing this for real and that tiny little bundle you brought home almost eleven years ago is more than halfway done with your part in their lives.

Oh, your role in their lives will never end... well it shouldn't. Unfortunately, it does for so many. If you're a normal functional family you'll always be a part of your children's lives. It's just that in seven more school years, you're role in shaping them, and guiding them, and not killing them for stupid mistakes will come to a screeching halt and you won't even notice that it happened. The warning comes with that last ceremony, the one when they're seventeen or eighteen and you're in a packed arena overlooking a sea of mortar boards and gowns... that's your warning. You can try to hang on to them but that's their signal that you're done. If you've done your job right, they can go off and be people on their own and they'll come home every now and then. College and marriage and babies and careers. It's the circle of life as we know it. We get eighteen years. If we did it right we didn't fuck our kids up and life is perfect.

So I cried in a little gym surrounded by people who didn't know what was coming. I have three adult children. I've been there before. I cried for all of them. I cried when they left the eighth grade too. I cried through all of the high school honors programs and band awards and that day they left school for the last time. I cried at one college graduation and one wedding. I'll cry at another wedding later this year.

I might have been the only mother of a fifth grader sitting in that gym who knew what was coming. Maybe I cried harder because she is the last. Maybe I cried because unlike the last fifth grade graduation I attended, I wasn't pregnant for this one.

The last one. The attitude in that one is great. I can see the next seven years playing out. I've been there three times before.

I wonder if my mother cried when I graduated fifth grade. I remember it. I wore a white floral dress and hated every minute of it. There was no middle school graduation where I went. I wore a pale green dress and three inch white hooker heels seven years later with a royal blue cap and gown. I wonder if she cried then. I never graduated college. I ran away to get married. I wonder if she gave a damn.

I never graduated college because she spent all of the money my father saved for me to go to college. I ran away to get married because she would never allow me to date. I snuck around with the man I married for months. Because I was an adult trapped in this insane reality in which my mother controlled every thing. I couldn't afford college. I didn't qualify for financial aid. I had no help. I had nothing. I had to be her cook and baby sitter and do what she told me to do.

I can look back on it as the mother of adult age children and wonder how much of what I was going through was teen angst and resentment. I can look back on it and wonder how much of it I brought on myself.

I look back and I flinch.

I flinch because if I said anything I was hit. I flinch because I had to choose every single word that came out of my mouth so very carefully or I would be hit. I flinch now. I flinch 30 years later because I spent the first 19 years of my life with a person incapable of love who controlled with hateful words and slap to the face or the few times when I stood my ground, a beat down. A beat down that she bragged about for months. A beat down that she made sure I knew she enjoyed and would do again if I decided I needed to stand up to her.

While my father was absent.

Always absent.

He could be in the same house and still be absent.

I look back on my life and I wonder if my kids can find memories like that. I wonder if the times I had to discipline them above and beyond will be what stays with them. I never slapped a kid. I never beat one. I never demeaned them. Never. I gave them what I thought they needed and I let them go.

I've done my best. That's the best I can say.

I didn't have a mother. I didn't have a father. I had me. And I had a brother and a sister behind me. I had a brother and a sister who could do no wrong. I had a brother and a sister that I took care of, and often times I took their slaps and their beat downs.

This was my life.

This is not my kid's life. My older kids are not my younger kid's parent figures. They're her siblings. And that was the one thing I am proud of. I gave my kids the life I never got. I gave them everything I could to move them into the world.

Because yesterday I watched a movie about a bunch of messed up individuals who made a family. The theme of the second Guardians movie is family. It's slower than the first movie. You're in the middle of the plot before you realize there is a plot. It's about people like me whose parents or creators fucked them up to the point that they have nothing left. It's about making family. It's about finding the crazies that make you whole and making them family.

There's this scene that I am going to spoil the hell out of. It's in the woods. It's dark. The team has split up and something bad is about to happen to a crazy raccoon and a baby tree. It's a scene in which I fell in love with a crazy raccoon. Because if I could I'd rig a trap that flings people into the air and keep flinging them while I sit in a tree and laugh... but I can't... so I write about doing shit like that to fictional people.

It's where I find my particular dysfunction in a fictional creature.

Guardians is about confronting your past. I will never be able to do that. My past is dead and buried with other people. Or learning how to fucking live with it without turning into a raging psychopath.

And major spoiler. Take tissues. Because in the end, you're going to find you need them. Because when it happens, it never stops tearing at the feels.

And then there is Dean Winchester and his mommy issues.

This is the season Dean's greatest wish was granted by Chuck's sister. Dean got his mother back.

And she isn't the person his four year old self remembers.

She's the adult mother from a messed up background who knows more about fighting than nurturing. She doesn't cook. She never baked him pies. She isn't loving. She isn't what he wanted her to be.

Mothers seldem are.

Earlier this season he broke my heart when he rejected her. His resentment and his anger and his hate... I knew those. I know those. God I know those.

Last night Supernatural ended their season in two episodes. I can't help but wonder why the network shoved them both together instead of stretching it out one more week like the other shows. I needed time to process the second to last episode before I was thrown into the last one.

And this is where the spoilers the second to last episode come in. If you don't want to be spoiled... stop reading.

Dean is left alone with the mother who barely knows him. Sam is out on a mission. The torture bitch from BMoL puts him into his mother's head to attempt to undo her reprogramming... if you've watched recent episodes you know what I mean. Dean walks into a memory he's had before. When he was four eating a sandwich and Mary is baking a pie... she won't look at him. The memory is playing out like it did in whatever episode it played out in seasons ago.

He's talking to her. Calmly. She won't look at him.

And then he says he hates her.

He hates her and he blames her for leaving them alone and turning them into what they became. He hates her because their father became a shell of a father. He hates her because he had to be mother and father to his brother. He hates her because he never had a childhood. He never had a chance at a life other than the one he has.

And yesterday hit me so fucking hard.

Why I identify with Dean Winchester and always have. Why I identify with a fucking CGI raccoon.

Because I hate my mother. I hate her. I have hated her for fucking me up. Fucking up our family. For fucking up everything. I hate her because I love her. And she never fucking loved me.

I hate my father because he wasn't there to stop her. He didn't care. I hate him. I hate them all. I hate my siblings because I had to be their mother and their father and I never had a childhood. I hate them because I love them and they are just like her.

Yesterday had a theme. It started with the death of a brilliant, haunted rock star who gave voice to so much of my pain over the past couple of decades. And continued to wind my fucked up life into my fucked up present and forced me to deal with shit I've been bottling up for the past seven months since my mother died.

I write the shit I write to purge the messed up shit in my head. I put on this face that isn't mine and I make sure everyone is taken care of. I've always made sure everyone is taken care of. Always. I put everyone ahead of me. And I took their shit because I don't want to upset people. I flinch. Because I was abused and I was unloved and I swore I'd never treat anyone the way I was treated.

I told people that I love them when I didn't. I told people that weren't loved by parents that I loved them because I felt guilty that they weren't loved. I never realized I hated them until recently. I never realized that I loved them out of duty. I loved my parents because I thought I had to. I thought that's what you did. I love people that I hate. I hate people that I love. And I can't reconcile that. I can't reconcile being just like them.

I can't.

Yesterday had a theme.

Yesterday reminded me that I'm fucked up and made me face what fucks me up.

I have depression. I have anxiety. I feel I am worthless and unworthy of being loved. I feel alone and I feel I have to be responsible and nice and a fucking doormat because that's how I was raised. I have no voice. I am the one who does for others because that's my sole purpose. And I hate them.

It's okay to hate them.

It's okay to cut the toxicity from your life and realize you don't have to love people who do not love you in return. It's okay not to love someone. It's okay to let the hate in sometimes. Because it purges the bullshit from you. I hate.. and I'm walking the fuck away from what I hate.

And that's okay.

Because that was yesterday's theme.

Today has a new theme. And tomorrow is unwritten.

Peace... one day soon maybe,


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Random Ramblings and FB Musings

Got a strange email from Nook Press a couple of days ago. It was their 'It's Payday' notice. The strange part is, they usually pay at the end of the month, not the beginning. The really strange part... They
don't owe me any money. Especially not that much money. I earned six bucks in March. I earned nothing in January and February. Sooo... huh.

I made a decision to commission wrap covers for three books that I chose not to make wrap covers for. I'm going to do them one at a time. I do have a wrap cover for the new Light from the Dark. I just haven't formatted the book for print a second time. It's been waiting. I'll have that done by the end of the weekend. So I'm taking Light from the Dark off the print pre-order table. Any Given Sunday will be next.

I also decided to recover two books. One soon. The other later. I'm going to re-do Lace to match Lagniappe. I'm going to split the print into two books. I didn't want to do a fourth cover for Lace but if I write a third story in the series I want them all to look a like.

I'm seriously thinking about pulling Shift in Time from publication. I've sold less than five copies in the last 90 days. It's never sold well. Why? Is it that terrible? When other paranormal books flourish mine fail. I would still like to write the second book. If I do I'll rebrand the series with a new cover and go from there.

I'm struggling with new stories. I have too many swirling in my head. I sit down to write and end up messing around on line instead. I sort of accidentally bought a new laptop last night... because I was messing around online instead of writing on my five hundred year old laptop.

And the freakin football boys are tired of being denied. So... fuck them.

I should probably start blogging on my blog instead of FB. No one reads my blog and if they do they comment on FB.... meh.

Don't forget to buy Cold Shadow and while you're there, Any Given Sunday is still fresh, give it a squeeze.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cold Shadow is LIVE

Sorry to take so long updating the blog. Life and other disasters decided to punch me hard the past couple of days. I'm slowly getting caught up.

Cold Shadow, the sequel to In from the Cold has been published. It's been sitting around gathering dust for six years so why not.

It's very dark. It's very violent. It's not a sweet love story. There are warnings for triggers. Be prepared is all I can say. And yes the reasons I didn't want to publish this are all of that and a bit more.

You can find all of the buy links on Cold Shadow's official page. Click the book cover in the right side bar.

99,200 words

Happy Reading,


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May Updates!

My apologies for not blogging in a long time. April was a very busy month behind the scenes. Okay it sucked ass. Anyway, there's no personal business sucking my time away now.

So I hope you had a nice Easter. I gave the girls a million bags of candy and some fake eggs to color.

May is here now. It's been quite warm down here on the Gulf Coast for some time now. Summer temps. May seems to have decided we needed rain and thunderstorms to go with our heat.

I keep meaning to start a garden. I want to grow peas, potatoes, and tomatoes. I have the space for it. I don't have the get up and go for it.

I bought an ornamental gardenia. I have nearly killed it.

Plants see me coming and try to hide behind the dumber plants. They smell a plant murderer when they see one.

So... okay I said so already....

Here's what's up.

Cold Shadow is finished. It's in final edits as I type this. I have it available for pre-order on Amazon now. It releases on the 9th.

So... what is it?

It's the long anticipated sequel to In from the Cold.

I'm calling the series The Cold Country Trilogy.

There will be one final book. Eventually.

What it is not.... It's not a sweet continuation of the previous story. The title explains everything. And I still have misgivings about releasing this book. It is the same story I wrote six years ago... all reasons why I pulled it still exist.

So...there's that word again... SO! we're all on the same page.

It's nearly twice as long as Cold 1 at 99,000 words.
You can find it at your participating Amazon.

Okay... now that CS is finished and my life is settling back to something akin to normal I have a few ideas for new material brewing.

I started an 'accidental honeymoon' book last year but stopped writing it because there was one almost exactly like it on Amazon. I didn't want to jump on some weird bandwagon thing so I stopped working on it.

The story never left me. It's about a guy who gets jilted at the alter and his best friend goes on his honeymoon with him where they figure out they have feelings for each other.... yeah yeah, it's a friends to lovers trope... and a GFY.... I do love my GFY friends to lovers stories.

I have an idea for a hot farmboy meets cool librarian story brewing. They don't know each other and they both bat for the same team. It's an opposites attract thing.

I started a story last year before my mother died... well, I started two stories right around the time she died. One is a contemporary Christmas story. The other is a historical western. I plan to get back to those after the honeymoon and farmabrarian stories. I have a couple of years to make up for...........

So... no... I didn't mention a sequel to anything coming up soon. Yes I plan to write the last Scrimmage stories. I plan to write the final Cold book. Next year. Because I can't do another sequel this year. Because I can't bear to make myself bleed anymore this year....

So... I need to stop saying that word.... that's it for now. I'll be around more often now. I have some new things to talk about soon. So stay tuned.