Posts Tagged ‘rant’

hurts
I don’t often reveal much of my personal life. Please don’t be offended by this, I was raised to believe that showing any of your vulnerable underbelly was a weakness should be avoided at all costs. My family taught me that I had nothing of value to say and that none of my emotions were valid.
Perhaps this is why I ensconced myself in books. In their worlds I got to see what it was to have a parent who asked a child about their day or hugged them, something that I didn’t get at home. Fiction was a safe place where anything could happen because it was pure fantasy.
As embarrassing as this is to admit, it’s only really been in the last few years that I’ve realised some people out there do reveal themselves to others. Sadly, I have been conditioned for three decades and so my learned behaviours are fully engrained; opening myself to anyone in person won’t be happening any time soon.
Please don’t feel sorry for me, or laugh, at how pathetic my upbringing was. My father left when I was a child and I lived in a cold environment with my mother where feelings, or discussions of them, were bothersome. You do what needs to be done and that’s it. You get up in the morning, go to work, eat and sleep – that’s about it. There is nothing more to life. At least that’s what I spent my childhood believing.
All of my pitiful ramblings above are the prelude to how I feel this evening, which is why I am chattering. Sometimes I do feel alone. Being estranged from my parents was nothing in my youth when I had a million friends (rather superficial acquaintances) and a frantic social life. But I don’t have that mask disguising the truth anymore.
As luck would have it – or not – when I did find a man to settle down with it turned out that man was an abusive alcoholic who thought only of himself and not of me or our child. Eventually I freed myself from him and now I have a lot to be proud of in my life. My son is smart and beautiful and keeps me going every day. I built a business that I run from home so that I can be there for my son when I need to be and never miss a school show – even if it means working until the early hours when he is asleep.
Writing has been in my life since I was a child, as I said before it offered me an escape and let me explore the emotions I felt but was not allowed to express. But it was my grandmother’s death that prompted me to publish. The woman was a tower of strength, the most incredible person that I have ever known, and one who would give her last to those in need. I’ll admit that she was from a different generation and wasn’t exactly the tactile, warm and fuzzy type, but she cared for my sister and me in a way that no one else ever did and she never made us feel like a burden.
Through the years I have loved and lost in relationships of the romantic and platonic variety. I’ve stood up in courts to defend what is right, even when it broke my heart. What family I did have left I lost when I defended my niece and nephew against the only sister I have, in order to prevent them being subjected to her abuse.
I’ve proved to myself that I have integrity and I have proved that I can, and will, work hard and do what it takes to care for the children whom I love so much. I imagine sometimes that my grandmother watches over them, as she watched over us, and that I have to do for her what she no longer can, because she is not on this earth with us anymore.
But it’s hard, oh god, it’s hard. Tonight I’m feeling blue, as you may have guessed. Having struggled all of my life with depression and anxiety issues I recognise that this will pass, sometimes life slaps you down just to remind you of the strength it takes to stand back up.
Why do I bother? No one in my real life knows that I publish. I was taught to never expose my emotions or inner thoughts, and there isn’t a place more personal or revealing than the words I put onto paper. No one would understand. If they read and saw just what went on within me I’d never be able to look them in the eye again. I’d be embarrassed and ashamed, not because of the explicit content of my novels, but because then they would know that I feel.
But when no one in your real life knows that you publish and you have no one to share your frustrations and triumphs with online either the whole experience becomes so isolating. There’s no one there to say, “Wow, look what you did…” Only writers know how many hours (see months and years) it takes to hone your craft enough to publish. Only writers know how invested we become in our characters and their worlds, and how much of yourself you pour into them.
Spending all of that time writing is one thing. But to publish is a whole other ballgame. You have to learn how to make covers, write your own blurbs, and fill out acknowledgements. Believe it or not, those are the fun parts. Learning the ins and outs of formatting was fun (not) and each platform has its own rules, so getting the hang of KDP means nothing when you head over to Smashwords.
KDP, there’s a laugh. You think you know what that’s about? No one does. And they keep moving the goal posts. Should you give Amazon exclusivity and enter KDP Select? What the hell is KDP Select? Right, ok, so I can’t publish elsewhere and they let me choose promotions from either free days or Kindle Countdown Deals… wait, what? What the hell is Kindle Countdown and do I want it? Ok, pick your dates and how many increments, and fill out all the—pop-up box, “Your book must have been…” and there’s a list, the same price for thirty days, and then you can’t change the price for two weeks after it’s done and… forget it, let’s go with the free days.
I could write a novel on my experience of self-publishing alone. I can’t even count the number of hours I’ve spent reading blogs and Googling terms I’ve never heard of before in my life.
Learning how to publish is a steep curve, but the promotion racket is worse! Then you have to build a website, make teasers and banners, and adverts. You have to run all your own social media, even when you know no one, and have no clue what you’re doing. You sign up for everything that’s going, and never use half of it again, but you sign up anyway.
After all those hours writing the book, formatting and publishing the book, then promoting (making a nuisance of yourself everywhere) the book – all the while wearing your cheery, plastic smile – you look up and realise… it all means absolutely nothing and has gotten you nowhere.
The truth is, the world is too big. It doesn’t matter if you write the best novel in the universe, if you can’t get it out there then no one will ever see it. For the girl who was taught that every time she opened her mouth and uttered a word she was an irritation, it’s very difficult. I am proud that I’ve worked hard and learned so much. I am a grown woman. So why do I still feel that I should apologise for existing?
“This too in time shall pass…”
“Ours is not to wonder why…”
The clichés mount up until you find yourself sitting in the dark at four in the morning wondering why on earth you bother. No one can take writing away from me, but why do I work so hard to do the best I can? I can’t answer that.
I’m a strong person, but I’m not a social person, I’m an observer. I was sent here to watch the world, not to participate in it. I love to watch and to wonder. The trouble is, I’ve spent so many years learning to be invisible that now I’m in a situation where I want to be seen, I don’t have the first clue how to do it.
Anyway, sorry for taking up your time. I’m sure that most won’t get this far in my blether and I’m sure that I’ll be embarrassed tomorrow for writing this. But getting it out there, freeing these words, somehow makes me feel less alone. So thank you, it might be feeble and pathetic, but gratitude is all that I have left.

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

stars

Explicit Mistake1

Series’ are all the rage.
When I first published I had an idea of what I would publish and when. I had several books completed and so envisaged preparing and releasing each of them as I went along. What I hadn’t factored in was that readers would care about my work.
I don’t sell very many books, I know that the world of indie publishing often leaves many authors languishing in obscurity because of the sheer volume of available books if nothing else. I always wrote the kind of books that I would want to read, I write as a reader.
Mistake Me Not drew varying feedback but there was always going to be a book two. I’d written it before I published the first. Explicit Instruction, I have to be honest, is my favourite. I relished writing every single word, and though my confidence in how it would be received flagged, I toned it down in the editing process and I’m proud of the end result – even if there are those out there who are not.
But I hadn’t thought anyone would want another Explicit novel. I’d written an outline for a second novel but that’s not unusual for me. Sometimes I write chapters and chapters after I’ve completed a novel because I’m not yet ready to give up the characters, and I’m interested in how they develop, in where they go. I hadn’t thought anyone else would care!
So how to decide? I have to admit that since I realised people were interested in further Rushe and Flick novels my mind has been jumping with ideas. I couldn’t sleep last night because of them. I actually got up in the middle of the night and started making notes.
So what’s the problem? Well the problem is that I promised this MMN sequel and I am doing it, I will get it out this year, but I don’t imagine there are many people anticipating it.
Both novels have been enjoyed by people who have read them, not by everyone who read them, but you’ll never please everyone. I suppose my dilemma comes from the fact that there isn’t a huge audience. I would be happy to write for the dozen or so folks who have expressed interest in a sequel but chances are they’ll have forgotten about it by the time I get it out.
The only thing to do is to keep writing. I’ll get the MMN sequel out, then see if the audience for more Explicit novels has grown. The nature of the characters mean that more Explicit novels would continue to be graphic. Rushe isn’t going to suddenly become a flurry bunny, and Flick’s confidence would skyrocket knowing she had Rushe at her back. The language and imagery will continue to offend some people, but I would have to stay true to the style of work that the original Explicit book follows.
I’d like to write more but it’s a big decision to make. My other novels are softer, safer, and if my readers expect that then I’ll have to deliver. But – and this is a big but – if it turns out that my readers actually prefer my raunchier work then way-hey! Let’s get to it!
I can’t put Explicit Instruction in front of too many people because it’s just not suitable for all. But without readers there is no point in a sequel.
Grr! See how frustrating it is to be in my head! Anyway, I’m procrastiwriting, I should be writing, and I’m not. My head is bouncing. It’s at times like these I wish I had an editor to help direct my creativity. I’ll write what people want, for the largest audience. But how do I know what that is?

Good luck on your adventures,

xSx

Writing has been my salvation throughout my life. During times of highs and lows I’ve always been able to turn to my work and express what I thought and what I felt through my characters.
When I decided to publish I knew I was never going to be famous or make money from it, all I wanted to know was that people out there had experienced the little corner of illusion I’d created. Seeing your words on screen, for sale, and seeing them downloaded gives a thrill. You get swept into the world of promotion and seek out places that can increase your audience. You do everything you’re supposed to, create Facebook pages, and Twitter, create a website, and get yourself involved with any other social media platform that you can think of.
No one has ever understood why I write, let alone why I would do it and not share it with anyone – like I did for two thirds of my life. I can’t explain my passion for it, there’s no comparison in life. If you have a passion for something (not just writing, any passion at all) it comes from inside you. A burning notion to just do it. It’s almost an addiction. It can completely take over until you can’t not do it.
I’ve been editing for the last couple of days. I’m second guessing myself, worrying about my audience, or rather lack of one, and how my current work will affect any audience I have for my other novels.
Tonight I’m tired. I’m disheartened. I never wanted to be famous. I just wanted to share. Finding out that sharing isn’t as easy as I thought it would be is tough. Most of my daily work has increased because at the same time I should be actually working (with my business) I stop and start messing around with the website, or the social media, or whatever. I’ve actually found that I quite enjoy it, which is all good. So why is tonight different? Maybe it’s just that us creative types have a flair for the dramatic but I’ve been working so hard. I’ve completed Explicit Instruction. I have my next couple of projects lined up. I’ve been keeping the pressure up on myself, which is great.
Except tonight I realised something. I might be excited about my new project but no one else is. I’m worrying about hitting a writing deadline that I have set for myself. In amongst that I have to run a business and a home, and we have summer holidays coming up when I know I’ll get less done.
Feeling the pressure wasn’t what stopped me in my tracks, it was the sudden clarity that my mental hype about sharing my work with people was just that: mental. It’s all in me.
On the positive side it means that I can let up on myself. I don’t have to rush out Explicit Instruction. I don’t have to worry about completing the Mistake Me Not sequel, or about ‘Love and Madness’ my next chicklit title. I can slow down. In fact I can stop.
Tonight I suppose I’m feeling blue. It’s a bit like realising that magic isn’t real, there’s no Santa Claus, no tooth fairy, and no one who would notice if I never wrote another word.
Man, that sounds dramatic and I hear you all groaning and wondering why I’m bothering to blog and it’s a fair point. My only answer is that I need to write. I need to do it. When I have something to process, a situation, or an emotion, I do it through writing.
So sitting here, falling asleep at the screen, trying desperately to concentrate on my work it hit me and I had to write. I write because I have to. I write because I don’t know how not to. I write because setting out thoughts in black and white is the only way I know. Without it… I don’t know who I am.

xSx

I’m having issues with Facebook. I try not to get myself stressed out about these things, and I’m not insane enough to rabbit about it here when I’ll probably be sued by the Machine but suffice to say I’m having issues.

Remember the good old days when the Man ruled the world and not the Machine? No? Right, well, yeah ’cause that all happened last millennium. This is me stating upfront that I love technology. I love it. I do. As a writer I’ve been eternally attached to notebooks, PC’s, and laptops, I’ve had them all, and each progression brings more freedom. I love it. Some people say that we have too close a relationship with technology and I can see where they’re coming from. I don’t believe that means we should shun it, oh no, not at all. But when I start looking up listings for new laptops while I’m on my old laptop I can mentally feel Val my Viao raising an eyebrow. That’s not cheating. “I’m not being unfaithful I swear it! I’m only looking. I’m not touching, that doesn’t count… right?” Maybe I’ve taken that too far.

Back to my original point, I don’t think we’re too close to our technology I think we’re too used to it. This is where we get to my grievance. People don’t know how to survive without it. We’re not just talking about your early adopters here. I don’t mean the folks I used to see on the bus with those funny white earphones in. The ones everyone had that I realised must all have come from the same place but it was another three months before I heard the word iPod. Yes folks, it might have been ten years ago now but I’m that old. We hadn’t seen anything like it since Sony had it’s Walkman, and I’m talking cassettes… mine is still kicking around up the loft somewhere. Not doing much for my street cred here am I?

But again, I’ve digressed. When I say too close what I mean is that there are no contingencies for when things go wrong. So many things are automated that common sense has gone out the window. I’ve had every generation of iPod – no problems. I’ve had various iPhones – no problems. I’ve had various Viao’s too, and they’re all fine. This house has computers, and consoles, and tablets enough to make my own technology deprived former-child weep. Yet Facebook is broken.

Well it’s not broken it just (to coin a phrase)… says no. It’s odd when you’re dealing with something intangible like that. You have a problem with your bank you go there, discuss it with a person, and come to a resolution. You have a faulty product, you take it back, same thing. But when you’re dealing with the immaterial, and the automated, there’s no common sense.

“You don’t want me to do that?” says I. “You have a problem? Fine, no worries. I’ll stop.”

“All decisions are final.”

“Yes, I understand that. I’m not disagreeing with your decision, in fact  I agree. Just let me past and I’ll–‘

“No.”

“But–”

“No.”

This obviously wasn’t a real conversation. There is no conversation. THere’s no one to talk to. Facebook have no mechanism for contacting an actual person. Even when you get through to “file a report” it has the cheek to state they don’t get back to all messages. “Oh right then,” says I. “So I’ve just wasting my time answering a dozen questions for you to say in not so many words that you don’t care and you’re just going to ignore be because what? You’re in a huff…? Can I introduce you to my Vaio?”

So in closing (I hear your sigh of relief) I love technology. I do. But isn’t this big W-W-W supposed to connect us to each other? Isn’t Facebook worth billions? So why when I have an issue and I’m all hooked up can’t I find a real person? I know these companies don’t pay their tax but are they falling behind on their phone bills too? Better hook them up with the food bank before it’s too late.

I’m being facetious of course, and I love technology. I love Facebook too and by tomorrow this will all be forgotten (I hope). But in case you hadn’t guessed it… I’m having issues with Facebook.

 

Hey everyone,

I’ve had a long morning and it’s not over yet. Life just keeps going and going. I checked in with all my stats this morning, updated Twitter, and Facebook too – check it out for my next project.

It doesn’t seem to matter how much you do with this whole promotion thing because it never ends. I finish one thing and it leads to another and I’m never entirely sure if I’m doing it right. Of course that can be said of many things in life and we all soldier on. I’m lucky in the sense that I haven’t commenced this journey for the money. I feel for those who publish and expect stardom and riches over night – it’s unlikely many of us would come anywhere near recognition like that. I write because I love it, and I’ve written throughout my life since before it was cool, since before Kindle and eBooks, before Fifty Shades and Harry Potter, those lucky ladies are the anomalies. No one should venture on writing a novel of any sort if they don’t have love for it. If they don’t feel that innate compulsion to create, to weave the story, to care for their characters, and to take pleasure in the journey of the process.

It can be a slog, sometimes the pictures in your head aren’t what end up on the page. Characters often decide their own fate weaving their story around you, and if you can be open to that it’s an incredible experience. Don’t get me wrong all of this sounds lovely but as any writer will tell you there can be nothing more daunting than the blank, white page.

You have to make mistakes. You have to be willing to write upwards of a million words of drivel before you find your swing. I’m not teaching a seminar I know, but because writing has always been a part of my life my family know I do it, friends, and colleagues become amazed when you tell them your “hobby”. Some people think it’s easy, they open a Word document, or pick up a pen and expect to get to a hundred thousand words without breaking a sweat – but it’s nothing like that.

While it’s not easy it is rewarding. Seeing your story, your characters take shape, living every moment of the prose with them, giving them their innermost thoughts and sharing in the depths of their psyche. So while it’s hard work I would certainly advise anyone who wanted to give it a go to try it. But don’t be put off if you struggle. Some days I can write ten or twenty thousand words from moon-set to moonrise, other days I become lodged in one A4 sheet. Try it but it should be instinctive, one word leads to the next (without worrying about style too much on your first try) until you’ve got a paragraph and remember every word is an achievement.

It’s said that everyone has a novel in them. I don’t necessarily agree with that. But I do wish, I hope and pray, that everyone has something in their life which comforts and seduces them the way writing does for me. You don’t have to be gifted, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but whatever it is, whatever that one thing that tempts and consoles you do it. Do it for yourself, for that drive within you that makes you crave the experience. We’re all unique, and we all have a part of ourselves hidden from the world, so whatever your passion embrace it and I hope you feel the same sense of contentment writing give me.

End of ramble 😛 go out into the world and enjoy.

Scarlett