It's all a dream
At some point in your life, there's something that causes a spark throughout your body; something that literally sets your soul on fire. No matter how big or small, you can't stop thinking about it and you want nothing more than to experience that spark again and again.
So what is it? For me, it was the first time I picked up a pencil, when I was seven, and was given free reign to create a story that was my own. I didn't have a guideline or any rules, it was just mine. It was from that story everyone realized I had a knack for life's issues and could create a completely fictitious story rooted in reality with dynamic characters and conflict. It was at that moment, I became a writer.
The rest of my school career, I took to poetry, even having many published in anthologies. It was surreal that anyone could see something I created in such a massive way. My dream was to write and publish and be seen as the type of rock star Shakespeare once was! I mean, who wouldn't want that?
But, as with any dream, making it a reality is one of the hardest things you'll ever have to do. Where most people fail is putting the work in to make their dreams come true. The journey is different for everyone, but the payoff is worth it. The key is keeping your goals in sight and not letting failure dampen your spirits because YOU WILL FAIL a few times before you get it right. It's inevitable and absolutely necessary.
In my case, I've bounced around a few places before finding a home for my books. I still self-publish, but I do so with a platform that allows me to focus on the important part, like writing the book, and not so much on formatting, etc. Granted, I still have to market and find covers and what not, but I control the markets, money, and all the rights to my work. Would I love a deal with a traditional publisher? Um, yeah!! The reality of that happening is almost nil seeing as though I don't have an agent and almost all of the major companies don't take unsolicited work. So, self-publishing is where it's at for me.
My dream is not even close to being accomplished yet, but that's okay. I knew it was never going to be an overnight thing. What's important is that I'm working, every day, to do something to work towards my goals. Tonight, it's a blog. Tomorrow, it's hitting a certain word count. The day after, it's another word count and so on.
The bottom line - never give up! Keep pushing yourself and don't be afraid to take reasonable risks. It's never too late to go for your dreams, but you must be ready to commit to yourself and whatever it takes to get you there. What's the worst that can happen?
'till next time!
Hate the game
There has been a lot of buzz among the indie publishing community about authors who are deciding to no longer publish because of how hard it is to break through. While I understand this sentiment, if that's the only reason why you're writing, then maybe you shouldn't publish anymore.
I don't write with the intention of selling millions of books, although that would be my dream and has been since I was a young girl. I write because I have stories to tell and characters who deserve voices and because I love it. It is my craft. It is my therapy. It is one of the only things I have to actually call my own in this world. Why should I let the opinion of others diminish that for me?
Look, I am by no means faulting these authors. This is a tough business. The people in this industry are brutal. If you are original, no one wants to take a chance. If you are too similar, you will be considered a hack. The majority of the successful authors fall somewhere in the middle and I'm not too sure how much of that is by chance rather than choice. Sometimes people do what they must to survive and likely, this is the case with many authors in the world now.
Would I love to be a best selling author and have movies or TV shows made about the characters and worlds I create? You bet your ass I would, but just because it's not happening, that doesn't mean I need to give up on something I love and has been such a huge part of my life. I may not have a gift. I may be a talentless fool. But at the end of the day, if I'm doing what I love, what does it matter?
The bottom line: if you truly are in love with what you do, you won't be able to stop because nothing will feel right if you do. If sales matter more to you than your craft, it might be time to take a break and reevaluate why you started in the first place. Never let anyone take away something you love.
Let's talk about sex, baby...
What makes your heart race?
What makes your legs weak?
What makes your palms sweat?
What makes your stomach feel like it's full of butterflies?
A convincing romance answers these questions, or at least challenges them. Not all love stories are "love at first sight" or "a universal love". I actually prefer the kind that makes the characters experience real issues that couples often face. No relationship is perfect. Falling in love is the easy part, but choosing to continue to love is where you have to put the work in. There isn't any justice given to love and relationships if the nuances are ignored.
Even when writing fantasy or sci-fi, faking the love story is very noticeable. The characters aren't relateable and the story suffers because the story just isn't believable. You can create a new world without the romance, but if you add the romance, at least make it seem real.
That being said, the love scenes in my books are not catered to my readers, sorry to say. Those love scenes are catered to the characters and how they react to one another. Two characters who are deeply in love may have a passionate encounter while two who are acquaintances may not. The chemistry is the biggest factor that sets the tone for the scene. I can definitely say that the sex isn't gratuitous, either. If the characters in my story are having sex, it's because they are either coming to a romantic milestone or progressing their intimacy.
RULE OF THUMB - if the sex doesn't progress the story, you don't need it.
Anyway, I hope I've made you think. Comment below if you have anything to add!
Passion, what is it good for?
Let's face it, there's only one reason why we read romance novels; we crave the passion. We want to feel that spark again. The one that makes our bellies quiver with anticipation and our cheeks flush. You can't deny it, because that's exactly the same reason I read.
But I'm rather dissatisfied with the storytelling as of late. I understand the need to create the tension between the characters, I do much of that myself, but when nearly the entire book is some type of whining or back and forth or drama, it gets exhausting!!
I want the passion that's built up after the tension. I want the giggly feeling when the characters get cheeky. I want to fall in love and feel what they feel. I WANT SATISFACTION!! :D
It's about the love story and what it takes for the characters to get there, but it's also about the sex. I don't want porn, I don't want erotica (unless that's what I've purchased), I want the passionate love story that doesn't skimp on the sex scene I've been waiting for the entire book!
Hot and heavy kissing and petting, heavy breathing and messy hair, precarious situations and everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) in between. Anything less isn't doing the lovers justice. If someone were to read about my love life, I'd want to make sure they were thoroughly entertained, the same as I'd want to be. Is that really too much to ask?
Don't get me wrong, casual sex can be a good thing, but it's just not what I'm into. The sex is only worth it if the characters have a deep, unmistakeably strong rooted emotional connection that creates the foundation for everything else in the story. Half-way love is too often portrayed with the wishy-washy dramas and characters who have no idea what they want and, although realistic, I don't care to read about that! Perhaps it is my past life indiscretions, perhaps it is my idealist mentality, but if I can't have it all, I don't want any of it!
So dare I ask...what type of passion do you crave?
Get in the mood
It all sparks with one idea- attraction. That special person catches your eye and you instantly go weak. Tunnel vision takes over and heat builds from places inside you probably forgot were there in the first place. Your body temperature rises and all you can think about is their touch, their smell and how your name sounds as it rolls off their tongue.
For some, these thoughts occur with many people, while others reserve for only one. There is no shame in either preference. It doesn't matter how many partners you have, or what sex those partners are, the emotions are real and intense.
Desire. It's a funny thing. I think it stems from the parts of ourselves that aren't fully evolved yet. It's our basic sense of wanting what we see. Desire isn't only sexual. You can desire a new care, house, pet, job, etc. But where desire transgresses what we've come to understand as acceptable, is in the bedroom. The truth here; feeding that desire only makes you hungrier.
Once you feel that hunger, it overwhelms you. Your body is on fire, your mind is fuzzy and you stay in a constant state of arousal. What does it all mean? It means we're sexual creatures and even when we attempt to deny ourselves that pleasure, it haunts us. You body wants what is wants and who are you to say no?
It is important to understand that passion and desire aren't the same thing. Desire is the spark inside of YOU, while passion is the sparks SHARED. True, unbridled passion is raw, almost as painful as it is pleasurable, which is what makes it so addicting. Passion is the lifeblood of amazing sex and a truly epic love.
What does this mean to writers? It means we had better understand these concepts before writing a realistic love story. Women are not simple creatures, as portrayed in many romance novels throughout time. We are complex, beautiful and even a little crazy and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. To write a female character who is weak and codependent does little justice to our current positions in the world. Women are strong and sexual and very, very capable and shouldn't be seen as objects or playthings. Their partners should compliment strengths and weaknesses without compromising themselves and the characters deserve a chance to act this out as they would in the real world.
The point? The more realistic the characters, the easier it will be for readers to relate. They know when you're not into it, so don't try to write about these complex emotions without being prepared to tap into that very private part of yourself. It's raw, it's painful, but it's absolutely the most satisfying.
I'm a writer, a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, and a daughter. My journey as a published author is in full swing and I'm inviting all my friends along for the ride!