LITERAL DESTRUCTION. FROM INSIDE, GUYS. THROW IT.
Can I throw it at whoever wrote this ad?
Or whoever decided it was right to show on my blog?
LITERAL DESTRUCTION. FROM INSIDE, GUYS. THROW IT.
Can I throw it at whoever wrote this ad?
Or whoever decided it was right to show on my blog?
So. I’ve been off Facebook for a while. I’ve been away from here, too, but Facebook has been the big change.
I needed quiet.
It’s not the updates or the friends that I’ve been avoiding, or even the unavoidable drama. It’s about me and my anxiety. My depression. And above all, my creativity.
I’ve been struggling for a long time. As much as I love writing–as much as I NEED writing as a way to connect with the world, figure myself out, and say things I can’t say any other way–the business side of it has never been good for me. Marketing is an anxiety trigger (for reasons I won’t go into here), and when I found myself unable to do it without breaking down in tears I was getting insanely stressed out in a seemingly unending spiral of stress-anxiety-shame-stress-lather-rinse-repeat.
You see, I thought I was a failure if I never got back to the sales numbers and income that I had with my first books, so I kept pushing.
Because here’s you see on social media when you’re an author:
SELL MORE BOOKS! WRITE FASTER OR FANS WILL FORGET YOU EXIST! TAKE UP MORE SHELF SPACE! WRITE WHAT’S POPULAR AND GRAB NEW FANS! MASTER FACEBOOK ADS! HAVE IT ALL BY HITTING A LIST! BUY THIS COURSE! HUSTLE HARDER AND YOU CAN WIN THE GAME!
And I’m not saying those are bad things to want. They’re good things for the right person, and I’m glad there are people out there who can help.
But when I’m on Facebook and it’s all I see, I start to think that that’s the only way to define creative success these days. Amazon followers. Little orange flags. Instagram likes. Facebook comments. Newsletter subscribers. HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE, and there’s something seriously wrong with you if you’d rather not be in the fast lane.
I needed some time off to get myself away from all of that to understand that I’m allowed to define success for myself.
Honestly, I still don’t know what that means. What I have figured out, I think, is that I can’t let writing become a constant source of stress or I’ll lose everything that made me fall in love with it in the first place. I can’t chase goals that will leave me mentally and emotionally exhausted, with nothing left to offer my family and friends at the end of the day. And that’s where I’ve been headed, honestly.
I do know what I want, I think. I want to take my time, writing gorgeous books that I’ve had a chance to fall in love with, exploring every bit of inspiration and insight that I didn’t see until the second (or third, or fifth) draft without worrying that I have to publish NOW to keep the balls in the air. I want to take days off when the sun is shining and the beach or the blueberry patch is calling, or when the kids are sick or have a snow day. I want to read more. Learn more. Be bored more. Explore stories that have no chance of selling but that I want to tell because they inspire me. Blog more, and not just about writing. Take more time to share other people’s ideas and projects and successes and help them achieve the goals that feel right for them.
I can’t do that AND be stressed out about ticking all of the marketing boxes. Some people can do it all. I can’t. And I’m not sure I want to, given what I know of what it costs me and my brain (bless it).
So I’m in the process of choosing new goals. It’s hard. It’s one thing to say that I want my writing to be about creativity rather than fame or finances, but I do tend to compare myself to others and feel like I’m somehow falling behind if I let myself be happy with what I have instead of CHASING THE DREEEEAAAAAMMMMM that it seems I’m supposed to have.
It’s a process, as is everything else in life. Maybe some day I’ll get there.
I’m not giving up on writing or publishing, or even marketing. I’m at the end of a (damn good, if I may say so myself) 7-book series under my pen name and would really like to see those stories connect with readers who will love them. I’d like to keep publishing, which means making money for edits and such, which means selling books.
I think what I’m trying to do, really, is give up on the stress,the time-suck, the HUSTLE, the bitterness, and the expectations of anything other than writing books that I’m proud to call mine.
I’m trying to get back to the pure joy of playing in my sandbox and then showing off what I’ve made in the hope that others will also find pleasure in it.
I’m trying to fall in love again.
We’ll see how it goes.
This thing on? Hello?
*blows dust off stage*
I know, things have been quiet around here, but we’ve got something exciting for you today: The cover reveal for Revelation! This is the second-to-last book in the Immortal Soulless series (my pen name’s dark, decadent, and deadly urban fantasy series featuring vampires in Newfoundland), and things are just getting darker and more intense as we approach the finale.
Convicted of treason and sentenced to oblivion, Aviva finds herself hunted by the vampires of her own clan. But she’s convinced that Tempest won’t give up on their plot to bring Maelstrom to its knees, and would sooner be damned than stand by and watch as her home is destroyed—even if nearly everyone there has turned their backs on her.
Alone and unprepared, Aviva heads to Tempest’s territory intent on gathering information on their plans, proving her loyalty to Maelstrom, and maybe saving the love of her afterlife in the process. She expects pain, challenges, and simple, brutal cruelty. What she finds instead is a fascinating, isolated kingdom where allies are enemies, wrong is right, and lies are truth.
It’s only by embracing Tempest’s pure darkness that Aviva stands any chance of surviving. But if she loses herself in this seductive world of pleasure and power, what chance does she have of finding her way back again?
So when is this beauty going to hit your Kindles, Nooks, phones, or whatever you read ebooks on*? That’s the best news. We’re just sorting out one last detail, and then the book will be yours. No drama, no waiting…In fact, it’s already available through Amazon and iBooks!
Now, you definitely don’t want to just go ahead and jump into Immortal Soulless at book six (or three, or four…) Conveniently enough, Resurrection (Immortal Soulless Book One) is currently available for just 99 cents for a limited time! It’s a great time to start a series that will keep you hooked all summer long. ** Here’s the link.
*Paperbacks will be out ASAP as well, but as this means waiting for a proof copy to make sure everything looks okay, it will take a little longer. Books 1-5 are available now in paperback through Amazon.
**I mean… I guess that depends on how quickly you read, though. You might fly through them in a week. If so, let me know and I’ll toss you an imaginary gold star. That’s some impressive reading.
Iiiiiit’s giveaway time! If you like your vampires predatory but relatable, your urban fantasy dark enough to thrill (with some hot romance and a few laughs along the way), Immortal Soulless might be just the thing for you. Books 1-5 are available now on most retailers, but one lucky reader is going to win something really special in just a few weeks!
One lucky winner is going to receive the following Immortal Soulless-themed prizes:
So that’s the prize for now. I’ll keep you updated here if anything gets added, which I’ll do if entry numbers get high enough. The giveaway is open internationally (see terms and conditions on the Rafflecopter page for details).
How do you enter? Glad you asked! Follow this link to find several options for entering. Do one, do them all… some can get you entries if you repeat them on another day, so don’t forget to go back and do that. Likes and shares are not required for the Facebook entry, but are certainly appreciated.
Confession: I actually like dark winter mornings.
The thing to do seems to be to complain about them—how hard it is to get out of bed when it feels like the middle of the night, how impossible it seems to wake up, how cold the house feels after leaving a warm, cozy bed. And those things are true. I want to stay in bed every morning, even if I’m awake before my alarm. My bed is so much more comfortable in the morning than it is at bedtime, my mind is so much more relaxed (not to mention my body). It’s especially tempting to linger when I know I’ve remembered to turn the thermostats down overnight and the house will be cold until I turn them back up and brought the house a little closer to the “comfort zone.”
The disadvantages of being the first one up.
I could be miserable about it. And I think I would be if I felt like I was being forced out of bed, stumbling to the bathroom and being thrown into the chaos of waking kids up, making lunches, and getting our days started and then having to rush into my work.
But a while ago I started getting up an hour and a half before I wake the kids up on school days, and it’s helped me look at these mornings a little differently.
It’s hard to get out of bed, but when I do I usually have the house to myself. I turn the heat up and make myself a nest of blankets in my favourite chair to retreat to after I’ve stretched muscles that have cramped up overnight. I light a candle or turn on some electric votives and watch them flicker as I sit and plan my day. I meditate in a house that’s full of life but that sounds empty save for an occasional snore and the sounds of the cats running around (and body slamming each other repeatedly to the floor most days… morning is high energy time for some creatures in this house). I cook myself eggs and read or listen to a podcast instead of shovelling cold cereal into my mouth like I might manage if I were trying to fit my own morning around everyone else’s needs.
I take care of myself like it’s actually a priority.
There’s something pleasantly lonesome in a dark winter morning, and a kind of calmness I don’t feel when I get up at the same time in the summer.
That’s not to say I won’t appreciate early sunrises when they come. Instead of candles I’ll have the sun filtering through coloured glass, casting bright shadows on the walls. Instead of cozying in with blankets, I’ll have a refreshing shower (which I’ll need if this summer is as hot as the last one was). It will probably be easier to get out of bed. Maybe I’ll even sit outside sometimes to drink my coffee if the bugs aren’t too bad.
But for now, I like this—the chill, the darkness, feeling grateful for my chair, my blankets, and sturdy walls to keep the howling wind at bay.
Quiet winter mornings make it easy to be thankful.
*That’s right. I live in Canada, but my thermostats are so old they measure in Fahrenheit and apparently date back to a time when the only thing that existed between 55 and 90 was “comfort.”
Well, here we are again. Five books into a series that’s managed to surprise me at every turn even though I share a brain with its author*. I’m so excited to be able to talk about this story. It’s been really hard keeping quiet about these characters and the massive shifts that are coming to the world of Maelstrom’s vampires as the story approaches its climax.
She’s seen rogue vampires, werewolves, humans who hunt the undead, a dragon trapped in human form… but even Aviva wasn’t prepared for this.
(Haven’t started the series yet? Resurrection will be on sale for just 99 cents in ebook on all major retailers through Temptation’s release day! Amazon claims to have the price adjusted–we’re just waiting on a few other retailers to catch up. If you’re still seeing it at regular price, just check back in the next few days. Click here for links.)
TEMPTATION (Immortal Soulless Book Five)
COMING NOVEMBER 26, 2018
Things have been far too quiet since Aviva foiled Viktor’s plans to rise to power as high elder of Maelstrom. She’s certain he won’t give up so easily, but has no proof, no connections, and no hope of survival if she dares to stir up trouble again.
Aviva’s temporary peace is destroyed when an unfamiliar vampire attempts to assassinate her. She suspects Viktor is behind it, but there’s no help for her among the clan’s higher-ups; Miranda can’t afford to get her hands dirty when Aviva herself is being investigated for murder. As the situation spirals out of control Aviva instead seeks help from a strange group of vampires who exist at the very edges of clan society.
It’s hard to know whether she can trust them, and harder still to know what to make of the powerful being she meets among them who claims to be an angel—or possibly a demon. Aviva will have to choose her allies wisely if she wants to save herself and her clan from an enemy that’s larger and more dangerous than she ever imagined.
*Seriously, never let anyone tell you that planning and outlining take all of the mystery out of the storytelling process.
You’ve seen this calendar all over social media, right? The Merb’ys calendar (by the Newfoundland & Labrador Beard & Moustache Club) went a liiiittle bit viral last year, raising over $300,000 for mental health. This year they’re doing it again in support of Violence Prevention Newfoundland & Labrador…
…and I just happen to have one to give away along with a signed copy of Bound.
Why? Because I’ve been meaning to do a paperback giveaway that celebrates my own merfolk, and what better way to do it than by supporting a good cause?
From the calendar:
“Violence Prevention Newfoundland & Labrador will be the main recipient of the funds we raise this year. We wanted to help them continue their very important work of changing attitudes and breaking down stereotypes. Their goal is to challenge negative attitudes of masculinity and empower men to become meaningfully engaged in violence prevention.”
To enter, click this link to go to the rafflecopter giveaway. You can earn entries by spreading the word about the giveaway on Twitter, visiting my Facebook page (share the giveaway post while you’re there if you’d like, but it’s not required), or by subscribing to my very infrequent email newsletter. New subscribers receive three free stories as a thank-you for signing up, so really everyone’s a winner.
Please note: This giveaway is not endorsed by the NL Beard & Moustache club. I’m just giving away their amazing calendar and spreading the word on their project because I think it’s awesome and I love me some mer-dudes. For more information on the NLBMC or to order your own copy of the calendar, visit nlbmc.com
(That’s only halfway true, but you’re welcome for the earworm.*)
A month ago, my phone disappeared.
Vanished. Poof. I had it out in the back yard. I know I brought it into the house; I just don’t know where in the house it ended up. Calling it wasn’t an option; by the time I realized it was missing, the battery was dead.
Cue the frantic searching. I tore the house apart. My husband, who’s a much better finder than I am, did the same. We retraced my steps (which were very few on that lazy summer day). We checked cupboards, freezers, freshly folded laundry, and garbage cans.
Not a trace.
I was so mad at myself. I wondered whether I’d have remembered to plug it in (or at least have noticed where I put it) if I’d taken my meds that day. I felt ashamed of myself for not being able to manage the simple task of not losing the miraculous tiny pocket computer that had served me well for several years, and I beat myself up pretty hard for being so irresponsible.
I mean… almost all of my friends live in my phone. I LOST MY FRIENDS.
Now, I was due to upgrade my phone a year ago (cue conspiracy theories about the phone company kidnapping my poor iPhone to force the issue). I could have just gone out and done it. But I’m stubborn, and I was convinced that the moment I got a new phone my old one would turn up. I was determined to not give in.
So how did that go?
There were inconveniences for sure. We went on a week-long family trip that involved splitting up for appointments and activities, and we had to do it without “WHERE ARE YOU?” texts. I didn’t have my music or podcasts in the car or on walks. I couldn’t post anything to Instagram (the horror, I know).
But all in all it was really okay.
I checked my email less because it wasn’t in my pocket and realized what a huge waste of time it is to check it at all from my phone. I got help with the break I’d been trying for months to take from Facebook, and I found that I didn’t miss it**. I checked Messenger occasionally from my computer in case people needed to contact me, and I don’t think anyone else really noticed I was gone.
I missed out on a lot of work-related FOMO, that’s for sure, which meant a little less anxiety at a time when it’s been a real struggle. I forgot to take the “real” camera on a day trip and managed to focus on enjoying and remembering the day instead of posting constant photo updates to social media.
Turns out experiences really do happen even if I don’t record and share them. Weird.
No, it wasn’t a blissful vacation or an eye-opening epiphany. I didn’t miraculously gain an increased attention span, and my brain found plenty of other distractions when I didn’t have my phone in hand. I didn’t even get any extra reading done. But slipping the electronic leash for a while helped me realize that I don’t always want to be available or in the loop.
I broke down and upgrade a few days ago. It was the music that pushed me to it, really. The weather will be cool enough to take my dog for long walks again soon (I hope), and I need the motivation that music provides to get me into my running shoes and out the door. And there are times when it’s important for people to be able to reach me even when I’m not at home–my husband, my kids’ schools.
But I’m going to try not to let this phone be the constant companion my last one was. It won’t be my go-to when I’m in need of a quick hit of distraction or the sense of validation that comes from checking Instagram likes. I’m not going to have it in my hands at all when I’m talking to people in person.
…because that might have been my biggest take-away from this experience. When I didn’t have a phone to distract me I noticed how reliant so many of us are on them. We Google minor facts and news items instead of staying focused on the present conversation. Phones are in-hand during restaurant meals. Even lulls in conversation can be an opportunity to check notifications, as though it’s not worth just sitting quietly with friends and family when the grass might be greener somewhere else.
That’s not a criticism. I’ve guilty of it, too. And I want it to stop.
So thanks, old iPhone, for disappearing. Your absence made it clear what I really needed you for and what I absolutely didn’t, even if I thought I did.
And new phone? You’re on notice. I’m the boss. Not you.
(Also, please don’t get lost. I can’t afford to replace you for at least two years.)
*If you don’t now have Katy Perry stuck in your head right now, please tell me how to avoid it.
**I missed being in touch with my reader group, and I think I might have missed an invitation or two. That’s about it.
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