Today I’m blogging at Four Strong Women about the trials and tribulations regarding waxing…
I’m also at Three Wicked Writers Plus Two sharing an emotional moment between myself and my seven-year-old daughter.
Have a great day!
I’ve had a bit of a revamp around here. I got bored with the white and decided to go with something more in keeping with the darker aspects of my work that I’ve been leaning toward lately. Sort of combining my “old” self (Charley Oweson) with the newer, m/m self (Sarah Masters). I love writing dark books, but it remains to be seen if the darker work will be taken as well as my other m/m. We’ll see.
The last two books of the Blinded series—Wildfire and Shimmer—are at the formatters, so they should be available soon. Scared is with two beta readers, so that novel will be sent to the publishers shortly. A single title, Grafton’s Point, in the Dreams & Desires anthology, the proceeds going to a battered women’s shelter, will also be available soon. As for WIPs…at the moment I have four books on the go. One for EC, one for who knows where, one co-authoring with Jaime Samms, and an m/m. You’d think with 4 to choose from I’d have the urge to write at least one of them, but I don’t. So, I might well start a new short today just so I keep up with my chapter a day regime that I’ve been sticking to for the past two weeks now. It’s working well, although some days the procrastination fairy does sit on my shoulder and prod me to do other things. Like she did this morning by making me re-do this site. Bless her…
I’m on a bit of a downer today, but ho hum, such is life, and I’m sure I’ll knock myself out of it in an hour or two. Sometimes life throws a curveball and makes me wonder what the fuck the point is with certain things, and I ask myself whether I need to take a new direction. Still, I’ll plod along as usual, see if anything changes—God, I’m always saying that!—and then if it doesn’t, I’ll think about making some changes of my own. Sometimes it’s like I’m beating a dead horse, know what I mean? I reckon it can apply to anything in life: When do you decide enough is enough? When do you say, “Right, that’s it! Fuck this for a game of soldiers!”
Yeah, it’s to do with writing, my career, whether all this hard work is worth the virtual paper it’s written on. But…that’s a story for another day. I think I’m just tired, may possibly need a break after hammering out Scared. Unfortunately, I never know when to quit until I burn out. So maybe I just need to either start a new book or go and do something else for a week or two. Avoid manuscripts like the plague. Um, yeah. That’s likely…
Whatever you’re doing today, I hope it’s a good one, and if you need to reflect, like me, I hope you come to the best solution for you. One that makes you happy. TTFN, loves!
Let’s face it, making money as an author, decent money, is something we’d all like to do. However, many people I know who are not in the publishing business are shocked when I tell them how things work. They’d thought that by being an author it meant you were automatically coining it in. This isn’t so. I can’t speak for everyone, because I have a few friends out there making as much money per month as they would by going out to work five days a week. Not so for me and many others I know. It’s just lucky my husband’s prepared to be the worker and that I can stay at home and write because I love it. I tried writing with the making-money-in-mind thing going on, writing what was selling out there, but it took away my creativity by treating it like a job. Doing this works for many people, but in my case it just took the fun out of it. So I’ve gone back to writing because I love it, and if I make big money, that’s fine.
So I got to wondering what the very best-selling ebook authors do to create such high earnings. Do they promote like crazy? Or does their writing/genre appeal to readers and they sell lots of books because of that? And what about promoting when you have no money to pay for ads and, in my case, you’re not comfortable with what feels like ramming your books/brand down people’s throats? I hate promoting. I’m just about happy to put up notices of a new release, and some days I’ve even forgotten about a release day, a subconscious thing, I think, so that I don’t have to announce it. Don’t have to say: Look at me! Buy my book! It doesn’t bother me in the slightest seeing other authors promote. They’re happy doing it, and if they’re not, then I commend them in doing something I can’t seem to bring myself to do.
This probably sounds crazy, and some people would say: Well, if you don’t promote, serves yourself bloody right that you don’t make any money from your work.
I can agree with that to a point, but when I did promote, I didn’t sell many books either.
However, there are people out there who don’t promote yet still make good money, so then I’m back to the idea that some author’s plots, genre, and writing style are what a reader wants. I clearly don’t write in a style the majority of readers require. Readers apparently want something uncomplicated to read in their busy lives. This may well be true, and it may be the kind of thing I need write in order to gain more sales, but come on…what if I don’t want to write that way? What if I’ve tried it and I can’t? What if I’ve tried it and I’m unhappy with the final product because it isn’t me?
So then we’re back to the fact that I’m writing because I love it. I’m not writing to make money or to always pen books for people who don’t have the time or energy to read something a bit more complex/using words and sentence patterns that come across as “too much hard work to read”. I’m writing for me. This may be a stupid business decision, but it’s one I can live with. I’m all about my inner self being happy these days, and if writing for these reasons is what makes me a happier person, someone my kids enjoy being around, then that’s what I’ll do. If the books I’m writing for me just so happen to match what a publisher wants, then that’s a bonus.
I came to another decision lately, and that is to write tales as they want to come out and not manipulate them to fit the market. If the book won’t sell anywhere because it doesn’t have oodles of sex, that doesn’t matter. I’d have written the book as my soul intended, and if it sits in a file forever, or goes out as a free read, then so be it. So, my latest, an m/m I began last week, used to have 4K of sex at the beginning. It used to have a break at Chapter Three, which would have been all sex. Yes, used to. Now it has none. It alludes to the fact my men have sex, but with this story I didn’t feel it needed to be shown. A bit like my Reverse Blackmail. No sex between my men in that one. And it hasn’t sold as well as my others that do include sex, but do you know what? I don’t care. I loved writing that book, loved the fact they didn’t have to have hot monkey sex, loved that I didn’t have to pause between non-sex scenes and work out how to fit a sex scene in. Just a plain old book about two men living together, sex not needed.
Then that got me to thinking: Because it hasn’t sold as well as the sex books, in order to make money, do I have to write sex? Is that right? Sad, isn’t it? Yes, I’m an erotica writer, that’s what I do for the most part, but deep down inside I’m not. I’m a mainstream writer. Would love to write plain horror or psychological, thrillers or actions, tales where cocks aren’t allowed to strut into lady gardens. I started out as this kind of author. Did the agent route, got asked for partials, got asked for whole manuscripts—the end result all rejections because, and I’m paraphrasing here: People don’t want to read such frightening things about the realities of life.
Oh, really? I do. My daughter does. My friends do. And clearly others do too, because there are books out there just like the ones I have written and want to write.
Maybe they should have just said my writing was crap, as were my plots, and I should fuck off now before they chewed the ends of their fingers off in frustration at my shitness.
Regardless of my last foray into that side of publishing, I’m going to do it again. My m/m book is now mainstream, urban fantasy, and will hopefully be one of the best books I’ve written. Because I want to write it in the 1st person, Brit-Bloke style it’s coming out as. Because it feels right to do this. Because I want one last shot at writing what I really enjoy. I’ll still be writing erotica for those interested, by the way, but also going back to my roots.
And if it doesn’t get sold, then you’ll see it as a free read. With no sex.
As slumber’s embrace held me tight, and I dreamed of nothing I can remember now, the sun’s pregnant belly rose over the horizon, the day keeping the secret from me a little longer. The secret that when I woke, the ills of yesterday would be gone. Not completely; no, they are still there, but the strength to deal with them has returned, to think of them as nothing but bobbles on a well-loved cardigan or a speck of dust on a recently polished desk—you wish they weren’t there but they are easily ignored.
I opened my eyes, and evil thoughts, coming in the guise of a creeping spider with carefully placed, light footsteps of stealth, seeped into my mind. I would not entertain them, bade them farewell, and surprise that they retreated without a fight brought a relieved smile. That curve, that tweak that shows the world I am happy, I am me again, had returned. A weight lifted, literally, and I turned in bed to find my angel had come to wake me up.
I asked if my eyes were puffy, if I looked wrinkled and old, and he stared down at me and said: Just puffy, not wrinkly or old. And he stared at me with such love that I wondered how a man such as him can look at someone such as me like that. Someone who thinks evil things and allows the darkness to claim her one too many times. But even that thought was an evil one brought on spiders’ legs—they had come again almost without my notice—and I shoved them away, thankful for the love in his eyes and the touch of his hand on my face.
I rose, the sun’s rays struggling through the curtains, and realised my body had lightened some more, as though the proverbial weight of which we speak was an actual burden. Weighty and oppressive. Tangible. And I smiled again, glad that it had gone—whether it be just for now, or whether it will return later doesn’t matter. This second matters, and then the next, the millions of them bleeding into minutes and hours and days and weeks and months.
The previous night I had dreamed of strange faces made of dull, black rippled silk, morphing into terrible shapes that had no authority to be in my head. These faces, these figures were my demons, all the badness manifesting into something I could see, something that gave them meaning. And what were they but ugliness? Gyrating bodies and scowling faces sent to push me to the edge, to pull me from sanity into madness.
They are gone now.
Angels come when darkness calls, as they always do. When my wings are broken, when I can’t fly, they lift me up and take me where I need to go, showing me the direction that I can’t see because it’s too murky and my sight is shrouded in pitch. Each of them brings their unique burst of light, throwing illumination on my tempest and highlighting the eye of the storm. And I see it then, when all the angels show me the same thing.
There is one more angel who has work to do.
That angel inside me who, broken many times in the past and reformed, with new feather growth and the drive to fly alone, must regenerate again. And she does—she did this day—and it is like the yesterdays never were. Like the silent hiss never existed. How is it that two days can be so different? How is it that twenty-four hours ago I sat here, despondent and weary, with no hope of ever feeling hope or happiness? How is it that today, the mettle, the nerve, the vitality has returned?
It was the prayer: Oh, God, help me. Somebody please help me.
Someone heard. And they listened because it was heartfelt and I meant it.
They did not give me what I asked for—no, they couldn’t do that; what I asked for was evil. What I requested wasn’t what I needed. They knew, and they waited, gifting me with strength instead of the wretched thing I wanted.
I ponder whether my wanting of such terrible things is why the darkness comes. Is it a sign that I am secretly evil? Or does everyone, even the purest, kindest person, have thoughts as nasty as mine? Even if only for a second, do we all have those imaginings, only to be startled by their ferocity, our cheeks hot and flushed at the shame of ever having thought them?
I didn’t wear sunglasses today, despite the puffiness. Despite the wrinkles that are there, even though my angel said they are not. Perhaps he doesn’t see them. Perhaps he does and he loves them because they are a part of me, testament to the years we have been together. When we met, the wrinkles were few and far between, and now…now they are carved into my face, every line proof of the laughter, the scowls, and life. I should not wish that they aren’t there—not if they are the story of the years. Not if they are evidence that I have lived. Memory crevasses, each and every one.
Oh, that one was when you made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe.
That one was when you made me proud, when I made you proud.
And that one…that one right there, the very first new wrinkle after we met, is the joy you have brought to me. Of those kinds of wrinkles I have many—thousands of them, barely seen, brought by people I have met along the way. All angels at some point in time, some to remain in my life and others not, but they visited all the same.
The silence here is beautiful, not only that in my sanctuary but that in my mind, my soul.
I looked in the mirror and saw a face that wasn’t mine. Bags under the eyes, puffy lids, and wrinkles that have no business being there.
The sun is shining today, and I am glad. Sunglasses. They hide a multitude of things. Hide the windows to my soul, the memories of yesterday, the desolation that clouds the blue.
Tears. Nothing but a release of pressure. The hiss of a newly opened bottle of Pepsi. They come again, later, when the bottle is opened once more, just not so forcefully. And I wonder: Will the hiss that ceases to come, eventually, on that bottle, be the same for me? If enough tears come, will the hiss disappear?
Tears. The silent hiss.
She stood on the street corner, nothing feet tall and attitude written all over her face. She looked at my girl, up and down, up and down, and her expression told me a million things: I’m better than, I’m more than, I’m… The cut of her cloth may have been better. The cut of her hair too. But her face—such disdain there, such…hurtful thoughts expressed—was not better than the smile my girl gave her. Differences. So big. So vast. Even then. Even at such a young age.
I felt dirty. Beneath. Worse than.
Photographs handed over, and I took them, walked home, head bent, gaze on the past. Memories flooded back, of how things used to be, when there was no silent hiss. And I went back there, just for a moment, for the duration of a time suspended in happiness, where nothing else mattered. A tree branch snagged in my hair. Just for that second, I didn’t mind. Not then, when she looked back at me from the paper and I remembered loving her to death and never wanting her to grow up. But she is, she has, and I cannot stop time. Nor go back to the place without the hiss.
Perhaps. Maybe. I think I can go back there, but anger, resentment, and many other negative things have blocked the path. There is so much more good than bad, yet the bad overrides. Obliterates. Devours. It is stronger. For now. And I wish it wasn’t, but the fight has gone. Evil thoughts come, ones that don’t belong to me, much like my face, and I hate that I have thought them.
The wind cuts, messes my hair and dries the silent hiss. And now I’m here, in my sanctuary, my head filled with nonsense. Nonsense on the page.
I could sit for hours and ponder yesterday. And the days, years before that. Head filling with more nonsense. The man of yesterday planned it this way. Sewed some seeds, and now he eagerly waits for them to grow. But I didn’t water them, and I wait for them to die. Wither. Decompose. And while they do, he waits, staring at the ground for the first glimpse of green to push through the earth.
A long wait, then.
In the future, there will be sunny skies. There will be a head filled with no nonsense. There will be a sense of having come through this…this blink of time and being stronger for it. Isn’t that the pattern, though? The same pattern. The same damn pattern.
I prayed yesterday. For guidance. Help. Oh, God, anyone, please help me. And the answer came, as it always does: Wait.
I’ve waited a long time. I will continue to wait, the pressure building, then the silent hiss. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. But I don’t believe what I need to wait for will ever come. This is just a game, and that same damn pattern will replicate until the day I die.
Positivity is waiting for me around the corner. I’ll meet it soon, as I always do, and this blip will be a lonely memory, never visited or even acknowledged. I have too many little stones in my shoes to enable me to get around that corner without hurt, and I have no energy to take off my shoe and tip the stones out, but I’ll get there, and the sun will shine.
And there will be no sunglasses.
Discussing weight is a tricky issue due to the offending factor. There are ‘thin’ people who have never struggled with being overweight and some of them may say obesity is disgusting. Of course, that’s their opinion, and if their claims are true that they ‘eat what they like’ and ‘don’t do any exercise other than walking upstairs to take a bath’, then they’re blessed with perfect metabolism and are very lucky. Some people have fucked-up metabolism or thyroid issues and the weight piles on. Others simply eat the wrong food and don’t do enough exercise. I was one of the latter, and it took a good while for me to accept what I needed to do in order to lose weight. It took many years for me to get my head around finding the right diet plan, doing regular exercise, and believing I could lose the weight—and wanting to do it.
Because I’ve been in the mindset of ‘fuck it, I’ll always be fat, can never lose weight’ I totally understand obesity and how a person can get bigger. It happens. Life, depression, having kids, being comfortable…God, so many reasons why it occurs. It can take a long time to get your mind to accept you have a ‘problem’—if, indeed, a person sees being overweight as problem in the first place. Some people are happy as they are, thankyouverymuch, and for a long time I was one of those people. So what if I carried extra weight? So damn what?
It wasn’t until I started getting out of breath when walking short distances, struggling to combat the urge for just one more doughnut etc., that I looked down at myself and realised, for me, I had to do something. I got scared that my eating habits would escalate and make me ill. That I would die young. This enlightenment doesn’t happen for everyone—as I said, some are happy as they are, and that’s their business—but I wanted not just to lose weight, but to feel better and live longer. That’s my life choice, one I cottoned on to just in time, because I feel I was teetering on that fine line between being able to lose weight without it being too much of a chore, or going the other way and adding more pounds to my body and giving up ever trying to get them off.
Below are a couple of pictures I took this morning. One is of a pair of trousers that fitted me on Boxing Day 2009, with a pair of jeans I currently wear placed on top. The other is of my midsection while I’m wearing jeans today the same size as those pictured. At times it has been hard work. Doughnuts are what I crave, so to get my mind off accepting that I don’t need them has been hard going, but once the weight started coming off I got more determined to keep going. I hope to place a smaller size jeans on top of the ones here at some point this year, even if it’s Boxing Day by the time I reach my goal. That means it will have taken one year to ditch the pounds I promised myself I would dump.
If you’re on the losing weight, healthy eating, or exercise plans, good luck, and remember: YOU CAN DO THIS!
After a week of me feeling very down and out of sorts, my angel editor at EC has taken it all away by giving me an acceptance on my latest novella. I’m so happy I could squeal and dance. What a difference a day makes, eh? I’d love to tell you more about the book but that would possibly give me away, so just know it’s a hot little number that I thoroughly enjoyed writing due to the love element between the heroine and hero. I like showing how two people are meant to be together and that despite inner worries, they find out the other is of like mind. This tale displays that clearly, and together the couple discover not only each other but also fulfill private fantasies they’ve so far never indulged in.
I’m away to finish Burning today with a happy heart and that weird surreal feeling I always get when I get an acceptance at EC. It’s like I need to pinch myself and ask if it’s really happening, like it can’t be happening to me because it just can’t. Because I’m me, and things like this don’t happen to me, even though they have.
I’m as happy as a pig in shit!
Have a groovy day, everyone!