This blog will no longer be updated. I’ve pretty much retired from the Internet at this time.
Wishing you all the best,
This blog will no longer be updated. I’ve pretty much retired from the Internet at this time.
Wishing you all the best,
Today is my Birthday and I decided to celebrate by telling you 20 things about me. Kinda like the meeting-and-greet stages of dating, only without the dating, free drinks, dinner, or a movie.
Ok, so my list turned out to be 24 things instead of 20. But it is still a damn good list.
Your turn: I love getting to know new people and would love to know more about you. Tell me a little about yourself?
Curious to know what I’m working on or see what is upcoming?
Come check out What New? or Sign Up for my mailing list to to receive the latest updates on new book releases, upcoming books, special offers, and the occasional sneak peek by email.
Come on, you know you want to!
Wow! I didn’t realize that I had been absent from here so long until I jumped on the computer this morning to check my emails before starting book #3 in a series of book cover designs for an author friend and found a shout out linked to my blog. Thank you, Ondeane Lourens, for your kind words, I was glad to help!
I couldn’t believe that my last post was almost two months ago. Sadly, this is also how long it’s been since I wrote anything more than an to-do list, email, letter, or shopping list.
I’m not sure what it is about the Summer months that make all my well made plans swirl down the crapper within the first few days, but it seems to happen every year. The kids get out of school and the beautiful days cause my focus in life to shift. Add all the increased ranch work and the housework from more people being here during the day, and my days change to a different kind of busy. I guess an added benefit is my days become almost electronic-free as I’m no longer glued to my computer for four or more hours a day to write and I really have no interest in social media.
Yeah, I know I’m living in the dark ages by not having my cell phone glued to my hand or posting what I’m doing all the time, but neither of them has ever held any appeal to me. I only have the cell phone for when I’m working around the ranch by myself or emergencies while away from the house. I believe my daughters spend more time texting on it this past summer then I have. Actually, if my phone or social media disappeared today, I wouldn’t miss them one bit. But that is neither here nor there, or even the point of this post.
This year has been a stranger year of contemplation and realizations, but the ones I want to talk about is the writing aspect of my life. Unlike in years past, I didn’t spend any time feeling the guilty or berating myself for not writing or working on my writing business since sometime in May. I thought I would try to go with the flow and see what happened.
Five years back, when this first started happening, I thought maybe it was a seasonal thing, but as time passed it was harder and harder for me to return to. Three years ago I thought that maybe I was burned out. I started writing 22 years ago and except for a few little breaks, I really hadn’t stopped. So I took break that lasted almost a year before the writing bug hit and I returned to writing. But that break didn’t seem to help.
Now, with each passing year, I’ve started to wonder if it was time to quitting this writing gig and just write for myself when the bug bites. The passion I’ve held for writing has been fading over the years and I’ve started to wonder if writing has served it’s purpose in my life. Or if I’m going about it all wrong for who I am.
Maybe it is time for me to move on to other things. Maybe it’s time to set up that handmade shop I’ve been dreaming of since last year. Or maybe it’s time for me to put all business related things aside and do something else…
Living on a ranch is so very different from living in a city. It’s more than just the wide open meadow, the forest of trees around me, the herd of cows I help care for, or the fact that the nearest neighbor isn’t able to look out their windows into mine. It has more to do with every schedule or routine that I create to keep me sane changes from season to season and sometimes even day to day depending on the weather.
With Spring finally making its appearance in May, it means the more labor intensive ranch work is about to start. Now, it can be a slow build up depending on the weather, but by June it will be more consistent work and it will ultimately mean less time to write. 😦 But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
Now before we get into my very short list of what I’m working on in June, let me tell you what I accomplished of my to-do list in May.
So that is what I finished, let’s move on to June’s to-do list!
At least this is my goal. Sorry to say it, but I’m still working on The Dark God, book #2 in the Children of Khaos: The Rebellion Series because I hit a major snag in the story that took me a while and two other people to help me work through it. I ended up tossing nearly 20,000 words into my deleted scenes folder. I might find a use for them someday, or I might not.
As of writing this, I was nearly back to 45,000 words in the manuscript and if nothing else happens and I work hard, I should have this done soon and start working on The Iron Queen. But until I finish this book, I’ve told myself that I won’t be focusing on any other writing projects.
Every May for the past 5 years I’ve spend most of May working on a summer learning schedule for our daughters, Miss T and Miss K, that works with my work schedule. I do this in the hopes that the girls will continue to learn throughout the summer months and not lose too much of what they learned throughout the School year, but still have fun that doesn’t include technology to entertain them.
Each year, the girls have more and more learning they can do without me and I learn more about what I do and don’t want to do for next year. This year I found a Math packet for each of them that reviews the math that they did in their respective grades and what they will be learning in the grades they will be heading into. They will also be required to read daily and write a book report on the books that they finished, and by their request, I’ve also added story writing, music practice, more advanced life skills lessons that our girls have dubbed Arts & Crafts, and harder chores for them to do around the ranch to their summer schedules.
Now I’m not going to list all the websites where I’ve gotten my information from, but for those interested, much of what I’ve done each year can be found on my Pinterest board.
So that is my plan for the rest May in June. I’m looking forward to spending more time with my girls this Summer.
Wishing you all the best,
I started the process of republishing My Lord Hades and after it went live on Amazon, I thought little more about it. After, I announced the return of My Lord Hades to the eBook scene Friday for my mailing list and Tuesday on my blog, a writer friend of mine pointed out an article about Amazon removing book reviews from their website.
Now, I don’t know the validity of all the accusations tossed Amazon’s way, but I doing what I do, I researched it. I read several articles about how Amazon has removed book reviews from its site because they decided that some of those reviews were bias due to the authors being friends with those people on social media.
For those curious, I found two articles about what is happening on why Amazon is removing reviews from k-lytics and one on how to protect your reviews from disappearing on Amazon from Author Marketing Experts. From these two sources I understand there are several reasons for Amazon doing this and some are legit reasons but others kinda suck.
For someone like me, who has so few reviews on any of my books, to lose any of them was disheartening to see. Some of the good reviews I had received on My Lord Hades in the past are now gone, taking My Lord Hades from a 4.5 star book down to a 3.1 star book. This brings the ranking of the book down and now means that it will be less noticeable in Amazon’s eBook store. Which brings me one step further from my goal to share the stories I write with those who might like them.
Oh well, shit happens in life. It’s what we do with it that shows us who we are. 😀
See y’all later!
I don’t know about you, but I find posts and articles about the obstacles people face and how they overcame them inspirational. Especially if it’s something I can relate to. Now while this is post has to do with my writing and the direction I’ve decided to take it, this post can be related to any aspect of life.
So let’s begin…
Success means different things to different people. Success may be measured by how well you do in life, in who you marry, in the home you own or the car you drive, in the job you have and the money you make doing it, or in how well you raised your children and their success in life, in sports, in academics, etc.
I believe Joseph Murphy summed it up perfectly when he said:
Success means successful living. When you are peaceful, happy, joyous and doing what you love to do, you are successful.
Now other then being video of Scotty on the edge of a cliff, the only reason I posted it is because this is how I felt over the last two year.
Sometime at the beginning of last year, I finally admitted to myself that the problem I was facing in my writing had little to do with my ambitious writing project. That’s not to say that I didn’t run into all sorts of issues with it, like the characters changing their minds on who was supposed to be the Lost Heir, or deciding that they didn’t like being a certain archetype, or that they didn’t want to play a role in the fantasy romance I planned because being part of a multi-book series of romantic fantasy sounded like more fun. My really problem was my writing career.
NOTE: For those who get confused between fantasy romance and romantic fantasy *raises hand*, romantic fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy with romantic elements in it, while fantasy romance which is romance with fantasy elements. End of lesson.
Now in Changes & my Focus for 2018 I wrote that “I hate my writing career. I hate all the little things I’ve done to gain even a small measure of success. I hate what I’ve had to sacrifice because I thought it would make me successful. I hate that somewhere along the way I’ve lost sight of all my other dreams. I hate that I lost that spark that started me writing in the first place.”
But knowing the problem and doing something about it are two very different things.
Years ago, I read a quote that changed my life but can no longer find. The core of the message was…
If you don’t like something in your life (also friendship, job, relationship, etc.), change it. If you want more out of your life, then make it happen. Stop complaining about what you don’t have or what you would do differently, and do what you can to change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.
-Stephannie paraphrasing a quote
In 2004, I followed that advice and changed a life I wasn’t happy about to follow my heart. Thirteen years later, I am happy that I did. Not only do I have what I believe is the greatest hubby in the world, I also have two beautiful girls and I’m living my dream.
In 2017, when I realized that I hated my dream job, I took that advice again.
Change might sound like an easy thing to do, but taking a hard look at something that isn’t working in your life isn’t a simple. It takes guts to admit that along the way I took the wrong path, that I made the wrong decision, and that while I learned a lot, there are choices that I regret. It takes time to see the core of the problem that is most often hiding beneath something else. Like my problems with my writing were merely a cover for my dislike of my writing career.
While building my career as a writer, it was hard to judge if I’ve given something enough of a chance to see if it’s right for me or if I’ve allowed a less than ideal situation to drag on too long. Today, I can say that I let everything wrong with my writing drag on too long, and the result was I started to HATE writing. That was the sign thrown into my path that I couldn’t ignore. I knew it was time to figure out why I was feeling stuck and unhappy in my dream job.
NOTE: This is the point where my psychology class, writing courses, and the numerous books I’ve read about psychology and the business of writing came in handy. 😀
Last year, I took a giant step back from my writing career, I gave myself breathing room for a few weeks, and then I took a long look at the situation, my feelings toward my writing, and dissected my career to the bare bones. It didn’t take me long to realize that my current writing project–which was a departure from my romance writing brand, that was going to place under a pen name, and which I feared was going to flop like the last two books–wasn’t the reason I was stuck and unhappy, it was only a symptom of a larger problem.
Four months after walking away from my writing, I knew that quitting wasn’t my answer. And it’s not because of because of all those quotes that talk about how we shouldn’t quit. If something isn’t right for you, you shouldn’t keep doing it, no matter what other people think. If you aren’t happy doing something, then quit doing it. Life is far too short to keep doing something that makes you miserable. And while writing to make a full-time living was making me miserable, writing is something I love.
If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit,
If you can’t, you are a writer.
Okay, so that is a very simplistic statement for something that took a lot of time and effort, because if you don’t dig down deep and find the core problem and then take the time to change your thinking about it, it will continue to raise its ugly head and bite you in the ass. In other words, you will continue to fail again and again until you fix what’s broke.
Now don’t get me wrong and think that I returned six months later and everything is fixed. It’s not all better, but it is getting there. And that has to do with my looking at my core problems and deciding how I can best overcome those obstacles for success.
I wanted to do everything right the first time. If it’s not right, then I don’t want to let it go into the world to be criticized. To build a writing career, I’ve had to suppress the perfectionist who wants everything just right and move on to the next project, otherwise I would spend decades writing one book.
The flip side to this, is sometimes I get into too much of a hurry and let go prematurely. Loving the Goddess of Love was a perfect example of this. There is so much I should have done with that book to make it better, but I was anxious to move on.
Not only do I need to learn to let go and move on to the next project, even if it’s hard, I need to accept that doing everything right the first time around isn’t possible. I also need to accept that it’s not perfectionism keeping me back, but doubts and fears. And I learned a long time ago, fear is the soul killer (How many recognize that phrase?). I need to face my fears and not let them control what I do.
And I don’t mean in a good way, like a reader asking if I could write Aphrodite or Thanatos’ stories, or tell the story of Hades and Persephone’s child, which is an awesome idea that I’m still trying to figure out.
I’m talking about influential people who parade their advice around as if it is “the only way” to be successful and then become insulting when someone doesn’t take their advice because it doesn’t fit their platform or their life. I’m talking about those asshole haters and naysayers that have nothing better to do then to put others down to make themselves feel better and more important. And I’m talking about those horrid people who act like they are only stating an opinion but seem to take some sadistic pleasure in trashing the hard work of others in an insulting and rude manner.
And I’ve decided not to participate in it. I would rather lift someone up and help someone out, then argue with someone about my life, my choices, my lessons, or my mistakes. All that is my business, and if someone doesn’t like it, that is their problem, not mine. I have better things to do, places to be, and more important people to talk to.
I know that it is the lifeblood of a business, but the idea of marketing my books makes me physically ill. I avoid it like I would a plague carrier. I despise all the marketing gurus who tell me that I have to do this, and that, and this and that if I want to sell a book. I would rather spork out my eyeballs and have a root canal done on all my teeth then ask anyone to buy my book.
Like that person who knows absolutely shit about the writing industry, but thinks that they do so they try to convince me that I should traditional publish because that is “the only true publishing path” and they know what is best for me. Or the person who loves my writing style but hates the story I wrote and thinks I should be writing a different type of story. And by the way, they have the perfect story for me to write. By the end of the conversation, I’m second guessing everything about my writing path and pissed off to boot.
And for those who aren’t writers, this is that person who thinks they know what is best for you or your life, and try to push you into doing things you don’t want to do because they “know best”. And if you don’t do what they so forcefully “suggested”, they’re pissed off at you and their not afraid to tell you about it. According to them, you might have even ruined their life because you made the best choice for you.
I know that sounds harsh, especially when someone you respect gives you advice, but sometimes people give you advice that benefits them more than you. I’m really directing the above statement toward those who become angry when you don’t follow their counsel. You need to remember that you all have all the facts and you are the best judge of what is right for you.
For the record, at one time I might have wanted to be traditional published, but then I did my research and decided that Indie Publishing was a better fit for me and I haven’t regretted that choice in 10 years because: 1) I don’t want to be a traditional published author; 2) I don’t want to sell hundreds of thousands of books; 3) I don’t care to be on the New York Times Bestsellers or the USA Today Bestsellers lists; and 4) I don’t want the added stress. Thank you very much, but no Thank You!
There are two parts to not being true to myself. In the past, I’ve admitted that I’m more reserved on my blog, which makes me less personable or real, but I’ve also been more reserved in my book writing. I did this because I didn’t want to create conflict or be criticized for what I say by family. It’s a natural state for me to do my best to keep the peace, even if that means listening to the verbal abuse of bullies without fighting back. This isn’t health and it’s something that needed to change.
At first I thought the solution was a pen name, because then I wouldn’t feel like I had to edit what I wrote because of family who didn’t like it and it would make it easier to cut some people out of my life. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that a pen name wouldn’t make me happy for three reasons:
Once I realized the pen name was out of the picture, I started to think about what would make me happy. As writing is my dream job, something I’ve been wanting to do it since the second grade, it is important for me to create boundaries to protect that happiness. But I took it a few steps further.
In order to be true to myself, it’s time for me to stop hiding and be who I am. That doesn’t make me mean, selfish, or uncaring because I don’t do things the way others think I should. It means that I care about me too. Sadly, if I have to lose people to be myself, then that is what I will do.
No matter how hard I tried to fit that round peg in the star hole, it’s taken me seven years to realize that I’m not a romance writer. Let me say that again, I’m not a romance writer.
Being unable to fit my books into a genre should have been my first clue that I was doing it wrong. My book sales should have been my second clue that I was never cut out to be a romance writer. But I think the cherry on top was when a writer friend of mine kept pointing out that I might not be a romance writer.
I don’t know about you, but yes, my mind just went there. Maybe I should be looking into writing Erotica. *snort* Nah, I’d be no better at that then I am at romance.
At heart, I’m a storyteller who has chosen to use writing as my medium. I never fell out of love with writing and sharing stories. Which means I needed to find out what I was passionate about writing. Looking back through my earlier stories before I made romance writing my focus, I came to realize that most of my stories were in the in the urban fantasy, science fiction, and fantasy genre with elements of romance in them.
It made returning to my writing roots, magical worlds with a twist, that much easier.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure
with no loss of enthusiasm.”
Like I said above, success means different things to different people. And sometimes we lose sight of what success means to us in the chaos of what others see as successful.
I know that some would see my writing career as a failure, but I don’t choose to see it that way. Because I took a big risk for me. I wanted something badly enough that I walked out of my comfort zone to pursue my dreams. I accomplished everything I set out to do when I published my stories. I just got a little sidetracked by the crowd who kept telling me what I should want as a writer that I forgot to stop and ask myself if it was something I actually wanted.
Looking back, I’m glad for everything I learned. Some of those lessons were hard for me to face, but I know the growth I’ve gained will help me be a better person, and while I just wish I could have seen the problems sooner and saved myself the headache of trying to figure them out, I’m glad for the experience that will help me do better this next time around.
What obstacles have you had to overcome to succeed in your life or business?