Friday, August 30, 2013

Abuse of abuse - a discussion @DenyseBridger

Good morning everyone. As the title of this blog says, I’m going to talk about abuse of a sort today. I’ve given this a huge amount of thought over the past 16 or so hours, and it’s stuck with me to such an extent that before I go to work today, I have to get this off my mind and out in the open.

Let me be very clear before you read further–what you are reading are only MY thoughts on some of the issues I’m about to broach. So please don’t seek anyone out to voice a defence of any kind. If you have things you wish to say on your own behalf once we’re done, then by all means, speak freely.

Last evening an author friend invited me to join a newly formed group on Facebook. The group is called AAA Authors Against Abuse. I’m in favour of that fight, so I looked at their About/mission statement, as it were. It reads like this:

If you agree with us that Goodreads should sort out their bully problem, and wish to join us but are unwilling to do so publicly, you can still help and support us, as well as request information and updates by contacting us at our email address above:

This group is for authors to work together and find a way to stop the endless attacks on authors from goodreads and amazon. Post no links to books here. This group is for finding solutions to troll problems and nothing else.

So, I joined, suspicious of something that occurred approximately a week ago as I write this. To many authors and readers in the community of Goodreads, the name Lauren Howard/Lauren Pippa is legendary now, and not in a good way. I asked very carefully if the Lauren Howard issue had been talked about, and was told it had. One author said it appeared to be a legitimate case of bullying. I then asked if they had read a very balanced and reasoned version of the events that surrounded Ms. Howard and her experience of “abuse” by the Goodreads community. I posted a link to this article, something that had been posted in a well-respected marketing group earlier this week. The blogger took several hours to look into what happened, illustrates with screen caps the author’s own words and later careless attitude in proclaiming the uproar she incited was a case of PMS. The post is long, but it is detailed and objective. There is no denying this was a situation that rapidly got out of control and has left many, many people gaping in astonishment.

Within ten minutes of my posting this link, a moderator of the group informed me that the link was removed and I was not to post “links to propaganda and speculation” as their purpose was to oppose abuse. In doing this, their purpose also becomes to suppress the truth, which is often step one to the supporter of the “abused” becoming an unintentional abuser themselves. The truth is immutable and irrefutable, it’s not a flexible thing, nor is it malleable to suit a need. What the truth is, however, is subject to interpretation, and in that broad venue, everything is subjective to the individual interpreting the meaning. To make an informed view and form an intelligent mindset, people have to be able to reason for themselves. In order to do that, the facts must be visible, or at least accessible to people. A balanced view is neither propaganda nor speculation when the facts are presented in an orderly and impartial manner. The author’s total lack of concern for what she incited indicates that she will never accept responsibility for her part in things. Many people feel this victim was really the creator of an elaborate scam. I have no opinion either way, because I was not involved in this, except in the aftermath as an observer.

I do believe that Ms. Howard was naïve and confused when she questioned what she was seeing on the Goodreads site, and it’s unfortunate that emotions began to take over reason so rapidly. A lot of anger began to direct the course of events as they went viral, and the truth was quickly kicked to the curb in favour of the drama that was unfolding. For some, this became yet another battle cry to invoke change at the giant Amazon corporation. I have an author page at Goodreads, I check it about once a week now. I have never really done more than look at Goodreads, so I am not in a position to “judge” the community there based on any personal experience beyond their odd rating systems.

Do I think that the combined might of Amazon and Goodreads needs to be better “policed” for authors and readers alike? Yes, absolutely. But not at the expense of suppressing the truth in individual instances. I will never support any group of people who are unwilling to listen to all sides of a story, and form their opinions based on all the facts that can be presented. My experience with this group lasted 10-15 minutes before I deleted my post and left them to wage their war in whatever manner they deem appropriate. I wish them luck, and hold no ill will. I do however maintain that a presentation of facts is neither propaganda nor speculation, and it IS essential to intelligent choice. Two authors who were in the group at the time of the post contacted me privately to thank me for showing them the article from this blogger because it gave them that precious opportunity to form an educated opinion. One of those two people had already left the group when she spoke to me.

The issue of Goodreads lies in the ability for readers and non-readers to rate books, and sling mud in groups, etc. Much as I dislike it, I accept that as a fact of life, and a fact of this business. Amazon policy is ever-changing, whether it ever changes to favour the author truly IS the stuff of speculation, as we all know. I have a whole string of one-star ratings from the same person at Goodreads. Was I bothered? Yes, for about a day. Then it was dismissed. It’s part of the job. Subjective to opinion, and every opinion is a valid one. I know of one author whose newest work has a string of sixteen 5-star reviews on it, and nothing else. To the buying public, this is not an indication of a great book, it’s a show of support for someone all the reviewers know personally. That kind of support often turns people off a book, not on to it. My books have five star reviews, and in some cases really bad reviews and one-star ratings grudgingly granted. It’s all opinion, isn’t it? No one is going to appeal to every reader. THAT is not abuse of any system.

Freedom of speech is a cry to battle for those with a cause. But like all freedoms, it can be abused. To use a false cry of bullying and abuse to support what may very well be a well-meaning effort to support change corrupts the ideal/goal from the start. Perhaps that more than anything else is why I walked out of that group last night. Whatever people choose to do, if you want it to be a positive thing, you have to be open-minded and value all views, not just those that support you without question. Without that balance of opposing views, you become an abuser of the very principle you think you’re defending. Authors, in my opinion, need to accept that people will behave badly, and they will trash your books from time to time. The only “defence” is to continue working and leave the “trolls” and the “abusers” to indulge in their small-minded campaigns. What will remain true is the simple fact that GOOD books will appeal to real readers. By continuing to write and do your job, without going to battle with publishers, Amazon, or anyone else, you earn the respect of your readership–who remember not just the book, but the grace with which the author conducts herself/himself when under fire.

In closing, do I think Amazon and Goodreads need to change? Again, yes. Policy needs to be better balanced, to insure both readers and authors are protected and benefit from this massive corporate bookstore presence.

Also, to anyone who would like to read the article that was posted, you can find it by clicking HERE

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thoughts about Public Image @DenyseBridger

We, as authors, have certain responsibilities–to our fellow authors, to our publishers, and to our readers. It’s never a good idea to attack any of these groups of people, yet for many they see no reason not to say whatever they want to say, with impunity–claiming it’s a free country and they can say what they want. Very true, of course, but when you are in the public eye, and you want to stay there and not be tarred and feathered, you have to be circumspect in what you choose to speak about in a public manner. I’ve been as guilty as anyone when it comes to popping off without thinking things through, mostly on my Facebook page when I’ve had to deal with one stupid comment too many.

Recently, events have made me re-evaluate my approach to “the public” and other authors. For my own peace of mind, and the preservation of my career options, I ask myself what any battle is worth to me. 99% of the time, the answer is nothing. I can stand up and shout down the house, or I can get on with MY business and remain outside of battles that aren’t mine to fight. So, I choose to put my energy where it will do me the most good, as well as those readers and publishers who have placed their trust in me and my talent to tell a story.

What many people forget is publishing is a division of the Arts and Entertainment Industry. When done well, writing IS an art. Public image does count here, and people don’t forget you if you shit-disturb, attack your fellow authors, or abuse your audience in any way whatsoever. Your opinion, as valid and worthy of respect as the next person’s, has to be tempered with awareness that what you say is going to influence strangers, as well as become a subject of conversation between you and your friends. So, public statements need to be non-judgemental, and more importantly, non-inflammatory about other authors or people in your chosen business.

I’ve had authors try to start arguments on my Facebook wall, and when told I won’t allow it to continue, I become the target of choice because I’ve dared to curtail their “freedom of speech” in some way. Really? If your battle with the publisher or another author is not my battle, why in hell should I have you posting your comments on my personal pages? What should end there has apparently then been taken elsewhere, where I get lumped into the problems they are enduring. How do you respond to that? In my case, being told I choose sides makes me laugh, because addressing it would only lend it credence and credibility. The only side I choose is sanity and professionalism. I fought my battles, winning and losing; the bullshit is over and is going to stay that way.

I’ve had my attention drawn to posts in forums where I’m labelled some kind of traitor, or idiot, for “supporting” the enemy–hell, I can tell you here and now, I don’t have enemies in the sense that I trash other people. On Facebook, no block list. I keep my pages open to everyone, but I do draw lines when it comes to respecting the fact that whatever your opinion is, it is YOUR opinion. I don’t have to agree with you, and I won’t be told I have to for any reason. I’ve said it many times, leave me out of your wars, they’re not mine.

Bullying comes in many forms, some subtle, some overt, and some with a punch to the head that’s physical. These are all hurtful and damaging things. Dragging an author’s reputation into the mud because you don’t like that they don’t support you–what is that if not bullying? Inciting your readers to boycott anyone who doesn’t jump up and scream support–what is that if not bullying? No one has to like everything another person does–this isn’t rocket science, it’s common sense. It’s life for God’s sake!

When I sign a contract with ANY publisher, I honour it to the best of my ability. When I sign on to do a job for anyone connected to my business, I honour it to the best of my ability. MY goal in this business is to succeed, and to do that, I try each day to be as professional in my approach and interactions as I can possibly be. I have my issues, but I recognize and accept them as MY personal issues. There are publishers, and more recently authors, I actively dislike for various reasons, but I’m not going to take those reasons public because someone else’s experience is very different than mine. If that’s an attitude worthy of tar and feathers, have at it. I still won’t address you publicly, and I’m unlikely to waste my time addressing it privately when it comes to that.

I know authors who keep every single email they receive, in case it’s needed later to support some claim or launch an attack of he-said, she-said, or you said. We ALL say things casually to people we are talking to, and in anger or frustration, those things aren’t always nice and pleasant. I don’t subscribe to the type of paranoia that makes it necessary to keep every word written to me, just in case it can be used to blackmail someone later, morally or in any other way. Sorry, I refuse to exist in that dark, narrow little place.

We are living in an age where every word we write, good, bad, angry or happy–it’s all out there–forever. Publishers don’t forget troublemakers, and readers don’t forget authors who attack them, or their fellow authors. Pause and think about that before you start your next assault on someone’s reputation. Who’s really going to look bad in the end? You, or the person you’re flinging shit at?

Monday, August 26, 2013

As Fate Decrees @DenyseBridger Ranking in Top 100 on Kobo

In a random search last week, I discovered my fantasy novel, AS FATE DECREES had broken the top 100 in its category on Canada's National site, KOBO Books. Tonight, curiosity made me look again, and this week the ratings are even more stunning. SO, to the readers who are buying this book now that it's available in eFormats as well as paperback - THANK YOU!

As Fate Decrees
#76 in Sci Fi & Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
#687 in Sci Fi & Fantasy, Fantasy

KOBO  |  Amazon

The gods of ancient Greece must find a mortal champion to defend their fate.

“Go and seek the one I have told you about, she is frail and in need of help. Look not of upper blood, for I have seen her down in the dirt. She is held against her will. Find her and you shall find your savior.” — The Oracle of Delphi

In ancient Greece the young maiden, Amarantha, is captured and sold in the slave market of Athens.

"What fates await?" she wonders. "And what divine design will the Olympian gods have for me?"

As unexpectedly as she had found herself placed in chains, Amarantha finds herself purchased by a mysterious master who refuses to reveal his true identity.

But he is no ordinary man, nor she an ordinary slave.

Under her master's tutelage, Amarantha is trained as a fighter and challenged to prove herself in battle after battle until her skills are perfected and she is granted the right to know his true identity.

He is Ares, god of war and the son of Zeus. And she is to become Champion to the gods of Olympus; bound forever to serve and vanquish all foes until the gods themselves grant her peace.

But even gods are not immune to the fickle twists of fate, and Amarantha is soon ripped from her quiet resting place and cast through time itself to do battle with a modern day reincarnation of an old foe - a madman bent on rewriting history to suit his own twisted desire.

She must act quickly to win this battle, for the fate of all Olympian gods hangs in a delicate balance between immortality and the realization that even the gods themselves may be returned to the dust from which they arose.

For further information please see:

Media Kit (PDF) (USA) (Canada)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Introducing @HavenMalone

Today we're going to chat with a talented new author named Haven Malone. She's just self-published her first work, Victoria's Haunting, and she's here to tell us a little bit more about it. So, over to Haven now:

How long have you been writing?
     About 6 months now.

How long have you been a published author?
     That would be 3 months coming up.

What titles do you have available?

What made you choose the subject of this book?
     My first story was about ghosts and I discovered that I really liked writing about them.

Do you have any new titles coming soon?
     I am working on a new story that is not going to be about ghosts. It is about an unlikely love. Not sure as yet when it will be ready for publication.

What is your favourite genre and why?
    I have several genre’s I enjoy but mostly I navigate to the supernatural. Vampires are a big draw for me.

What, to you, is the most exciting part of the writing process?
     Hands down, finishing a story. Feels like a huge accomplishment.

If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would you choose and why? 
     Well, awhile back, I might have said Steven King but not anymore. Now I would love to co-author with Denyse Bridger. Ms. Bridger has taught me much about writing and the publishing industry. It is because of her that I am here today. I have much respect for her ethics and her imagination.

Visit Haven here:

Blog  |  Facebook  | Twitter

Victoria's Haunting
BUY IT HERE       
Victoria has been a widow for five years. Having lost her husband in a foreign war, she has functioned but not really lived since his death. Strange things are happening in her home now and she has no idea what it is or how to handle it. 

She contacts her best friend Logan and asks for his help in figuring out what might be happening. What Victoria does not know is that Logan has feelings for her that go far beyond just being friends.  

Together through death and a haunting they become closer and Logan has hope that he might one day be able to bring her out of her self-induced mourning and start living again. Is Victoria ready to give up on her past and create a new life with a man who loves her? Only time will tell.

Volume Two of the best-selling paranormal collection Lost to the Night brings you five more stories of things ghostly, inexplicable, and intriguing. Shivers and sensuality lure you back to the night in:

A GHOSTLY STORY by Susan VanNort: Julia Woodard has inherited house, one that is rumoured to be haunted, though she doesn’t know it at the time. She decides to move in long enough to sell the house, she encounters spirits that, until now, she has never believed in. When one of the ghosts begins telling her the story of how spirits came to inhabit her home she realizes they’re trapped.

During the process of trying to help the troubled ghosts inhabiting the house Julia also discovers a love she never thought to have with Lucian Graves. Brought together through the desire to see things set right, they find a mutual attraction. But, will they find the lasting love they’re looking for?

FERAL FATE by Nikki Noffsinger: No one is as wild as Cinjin. His only loyalty is to his pack and his people but outside of that he’s got a Kill ‘Em All and Let God Save Him The Left Overs kind of attitude. Cinjin is one of the most fierce and powerful wolf shifters of his pack and the only needs he has for a woman is that she knows where the door is when the sun comes up, that is until he encounters his mate, Khloe Wahpeton who is a local ER doctor and she’s definitely NOT INTERESTED!

Well maybe she’s a little interested but Cinjin’s arrogance and ego are almost too much for her but when he brings in a broken and beaten woman, Khloe sees beyond the animal and to the heart of the man in front of her. If she can keep from killing him herself, they might have a chance. 

DEEP WATER LEGENDS by Kayden McLeod: The ruling body of vampires have let loose their top Hunters to get back an artifact. Their mission: retrieve the Dragon Stone, exterminate the Rogue and rescue the innocent human witch. Once a mission has been sanctioned, there isn't a way to go back. Fernando was a Council employee and researcher, who stumbled upon a document suggesting a whole other race existed out there somewhere. He was tired of getting laughed at for what he sincerely believed in. No matter what risk lay ahead of him, he would prove his findings real. For his time on earth was ticking. Daphne is a human witch, kidnapped by the eccentric Fernando. She is scared, trapped in the wilds of Mount Robson, knowing there is danger afoot, and she was at centre of it.

GHOSTS OF THE STORM by Trent Kinsey: When Bobby finds his neighbor, Joe, sitting out by the highway during the night a hurricane is making landfall, he is compelled to find out what is going on, because Joe always appears happy. Except tonight.

Bobby finds that Joe's wife isn't the love of his life, that the girl every man in McDavid, Florida, has wanted once was his lover. And that Joe blames himself for her death.

Even more concerning to Bobby is that Joe admits seeing the ghost of his lost love dancing in the median of Highway 49. And she wants him to join her.

PRINCE OF SHADOWS by Brigit Aine: As their love develops Keri and Draken must deal with the Exile that is threatening to take over both Underhill and Topside. With the help of those closest to them, they work tirelessly to save the worlds they love. 

Visit Haven here:

Blog  |  Facebook  | Twitter

Friday, August 16, 2013


The Turning
A Dr. Kelly Murphy Novel

Graduate medical school, start competitive internship, don’t get cut from the program, become a surgeon. It was a great plan. One Kelly Murphy loved and had dreamed of most of her life… And it was blown to hell in a night with an uninvited bite.

Now she’s missing three days of her life, trying to handle her freaked out best friend and parents who called the police when she went missing, all as she realizes she’s not the same person she was before. She’s different. Like has fangs different.

When he shows up on her doorstep claiming to know what happened to her, Kelly’s not sure that makes things any less confusing. But at least he can guide her, right? Either way, she has a plan and a choice she didn't make won’t stop her… Even if she might have the urge to bite her patients from now on.

“Well then, if I had known that was what it would take to get you to kiss me, I would have opted for that sooner,” he purred. “Come to me, Kelly.”
“Come to me? Who says that?” I laughed. Still I found myself crawling on my knees over to him and sitting on my feet right in front of him. I grabbed him behind the head, my other hand went on his shoulder and over to his back. The kiss I gave him was one of my personal bests, if I did say so myself.
“I felt that all through my body. Wow,” he whispered against my lips. That reaction caused me to move around him and start to touch his back. Slowly I started to rub his wonderful, firm muscles. “I have never had a woman touch my back like that. Where did you learn to do this?”
“I had a friend in high school who was training to teach people how to be a masseuse. He needed people to practice with and I offered. I learned a lot that way.”
“Well my regards to your teacher.” He let out a small moan and that was my cue to go back to the card game. I took my seat on the other side of the table and dealt the cards. “Why did you stop?”
“I stopped because it would have meant the end of the card game. And I was having fun kicking your over four-hundred-year-old ass,” I replied with a wink.
“Really? Well maybe I should pick up my game a bit. Gin.” He gave me another smirk that made me want to stomp my foot like a little kid. “And I’d like my kiss.”
“I choose the shot, and if you want a kiss, get your ass over here,” I grumbled like a sore loser. And with that his lips were on mine much faster than I could move. If I could still breathe, it would have taken my breath away. I couldn’t help myself, when he pulled away I pulled him right back and took a deeper kiss. “That one was for free.”
“I appreciate it. My deal.” Then he took the cards and tucked my hair behind my ear before he went back to his side of the table. “Are you drunk yet?”
“Almost, you?” I asked, grinning like a fool. The man did know how to kiss, I’d give him that.
“Yes, hence my switching to removing my clothes in front of you. I really am sure I have never played strip gin before.” He snorted, laughing at his own joke. “I like it and you. Are you upset I turned you?”
“I don’t know yet, to be determined. Let’s leave it alone for tonight,” I answered honestly as I grabbed another card. Looking at my hand, I wiggled my eyebrows at him. “Gin, and no kiss this time” After several minutes, and a few more rounds, I was so drunk I started to opt for removing clothing and Brain was down to his boxers. “I’m enjoying the view from over here very, very much.”
“The same goes for me. Gin, and I want my kiss,” he chuckled as he showed me his cards. I took off a sock and leaned over the table for a quick kiss. “That does not count as a kiss. That was a peck.” This time I gave him a real kiss that gave me chills all over my body. “Now that was a kiss, Kelly, one I would like to repeat as often as possible.”
I lost the next three rounds. Took one shot, then removed my other sock, and jeans very slowly while watching Brian watching me. I thought I saw drool before I said, “Brian, come here and claim your kiss. Unless you don’t want one now that I’m down to bra and thong?”
Again, in an instant he was by me, but this time he also picked me up in his arms. I wrapped mine around his neck when he didn’t kiss me immediately. Brian first kissed the base of my throat and worked his way up my neck, little by little. Then he started nibbling on my ear, running his tongue all around it. The moan I let out seemed to be the green light Brian needed to make his move. He had me in my bedroom and on my bed so fast the room blurred.
“I want to feel your body beneath me, Kelly. More than I ever wanted to feel a woman’s body. Mo mhile stór,” he hissed while unclasping my bra. Once gone, he had one hand in my hair and the other caressing my chest.
“What does that mean?” I asked, letting out a loud groan. He lowered his head to mine, looked right in my eyes, and then touched our lips ever so softly.
“It means my thousand treasures. My darling, I want to kiss every inch of your body.” And he did. Each touch and each kiss made me shiver. “Why are you trembling?”
“Your hands and kisses are driving me insane,” I panted, even if I didn’t need the air anymore. It seemed old habits really did die hard. “They are cold and everything feels so sensitive. It’s never been like this before.” It seemed he had my panties and his boxers off at the same time. His hands spread my thighs. Then his fingers were everywhere, inside of me while also playing with my sensitive nub. Brian’s mouth and tongue sucked and licked my nipples while my hands grasped his hair as I held on for the ride.
After I finished my earth shattering orgasm, I quickly flipped us over so this time I was on top. “Thank you,” I whispered then nibbled on his ear, kissed my way down his neck and chest. I licked all around his perfect abs just to tease him before I took him in my hand.
Rath Dé ort! You thought waiting a year was long, I have waited over a hundred,” he yelled. I knew he was telling the truth since there was no cold wave. “Please do not stop, I love the way you touch me. I love the way you kiss me. Go raibh maith agat, go raibh maith agat!” After he finished, I rolled off him and lay against him as he gently played with my hair and kissed me softly.
“What does that all mean?” I asked quietly while rubbing his chest. It was completely smooth, firm, toned, and hairless.
“I said god bless you, and thanked you over and over again for giving me such great pleasure. I do have an insatiable appetite, I should warn you. I want more,” he said with a smile and his eyes gleamed. I could spend weeks looking into Brian’s eyes and still never see everything there was to him. I was still thinking about that when he rolled on top of me, wrapped my thigh around his hip, and entered me slowly. 
Also from Erin R. Flynn…

Accidentally Wolf
A Seraphine Thomas Novel

Special Agent in Charge, Seraphine Thomas, lives for her job at the FBI. One of the youngest female agents with her own team, she thrives in undercover work to make the city she loves safer. But Sera's on-track life is thrown into chaos when she's attacked during a bust gone bad and is left figuring out what it means to be a werewolf.

Right away, she learns that she’s more powerful and able to do things that she shouldn’t be able to do so quickly after her transition. The rules of her old life don’t seem to apply to much now that she’s a shifter, and knowing who she can trust is even more complicated.

When she’s transferred to a special branch of the FBI made up of paranormals policing others of their kind and given a promotion, things start looking up—until her abnormal level of power creates a list of enemies for her before she’s even learned who her allies are.



Growing up on the northwest side of Chicago, Erin is a loyal Cubs fan, but she also admits to being a die-hard Green Bay Packers girl. From target practice to candle making, she enjoys an eclectic list of hobbies that feed her outgoing and creative personality.

Feeling unfulfilled with her life in corporate America, Erin decided to pursue her true passion, and her first novella was published in May 2010 under the pseudonym Joyee Flynn. To date, she has published over 70 books in the erotic romance genre, and her dedicated readers eagerly await each installment to her numerous bestselling series. Wanting to give her characters a bit more action, mystery, and adventure, Erin decided to branch out from romance and her Joyee pen name to create successful, strong, independent women with a paranormal twist.

Living near the Rocky Mountains, Erin spends her days curled up on the overstuffed chair with a Mountain Dew and her 8 year old Weimaraner, Marius, at her feet, telling the stories her characters whisper in her ear.  Her love of the written word hasn’t changed much over the years. The only difference is that she no longer has to hide in her closet to read after bedtime.

Website  |  Facebook  |  Blog

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Welcome to Frostmania

Dear Readers,

Allow me the honor of welcoming you to one of Crimson Frost Books and Midnight Frost Books amazing author’s blog. We’re very excited to welcome such an incredible group of artistic authors to our house and wish to share their talents and stories with you.

With our grand opening rapidly approaching, we here at CFB/MFB as we’ve affectionately called ourselves hope you’ll share in our excitement for the upcoming events. We’re spotlighting our authors, staff and the books within the next few days on our blog as well as our author’s blogs.  So sit back, grab a cup of Joe, a glass of wine and enjoy the first of many books by talented authors.

Patricia Bates and Celeste Brammer – Publisher

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Purpose and vision

I wonder how good an idea it is to write blogs while drinking wine? I guess we’re about to find out, aren’t we? Funny how life and death walk hand in hand and so many people cling to one and run in horror from the other… I’m back in a place I never expected to be again, and find myself wondering why death, even the possibility of it, terrifies so many people. I’ve faced it before, several times in fact, and find myself as accepting of an inevitable end as I’ve always been about the wonder of life from day to day.

In the great paradox of our existence, many people forget that without death, there is no life. The two are equal parts of the same presence and power that exists within us all and all around us. Death is rebirth, a transformation or a way to exist on a new level of awareness. New Age mystics have been saying this kind of thing for many years, and some have listened while others have dismissed it as crap. But isn’t death God’s work as much as life is His gift?

Many people are so caught in the small things that define our existence and occupy us throughout each day, the real power and presence of life is often barely a blip on the radar of our consciousness. How many people stop to look around, to see the passion, the pain, the joy, and the hope that motivates people and keeps them seeking to understand? We have become masters of excuses, and denials, we procrastinate daily–but when do we stop and simply look at our lives? Measure the value in what we are giving in return for the privilege of knowing the experience of life?

Why do people only reach out for those they love when their lives are threatened in some way? I am one small voice in a whirlwind as far reaching as the multitudes of souls that inhabit this world we share–but because I’ve faced the darkness inside myself on many levels, and fought battles few people know about–I know myself better than many others know themselves. Love is the greatest force we as humans will ever know, it is equalled and challenged by Fear–all human experience is born in one or the other of these prime motivators. I have loved few people in my life, but I have spoken to them all and given voice to my love for them. If I walked in fear, I would never speak because the possibility of rejection would silence my voice.

At the end of the day, or indeed our lives, how many people will welcome the next cycle of life, and feel that they are leaving with their purpose fulfilled? Think about that, and if your soul and heart is content with what you’ve allowed yourself to experience, smile and know you have achieved a life well lived. But if you have “unfinished business” then do whatever it is you need to do to allow your heart to smile and reach outward. Trust yourself, and your knowledge of what is within you. You are Divine.

The greatest Gift we are all given is the gift of choice and self-awareness. Let your star shine brightly, and your memory be one of love, not fear. All things are as they are meant to be, and while purpose is not always clear, it is always present. Let go, and listen...

Thursday, August 08, 2013

To Quit or Not to Quit?

To Quit or Not to Quit?

That has indeed been the question for the past couple of weeks… I’ve stated in many interviews over the years that I don’t suffer from Writer’s Block in the traditional sense of that problem. Ideas seem to be endless for me, and I diligently outline the stories and file them away for future use. However, that said, I have had a different kind of creative crisis, one that’s had a wide-reaching affect on my psyche, even if hasn’t affected anyone else. (As it shouldn’t of course!) In recent months I’ve watched my work pretty much be ignored, or in a few instances fall prey to the mentality that no one deserves to have too much praise, so let’s get those nice book ratings down… all in all, it’s a bit pointless and petty, but still – too much of this crap can discourage anyone.

Luckily, ten years in this business has allowed me to know some pretty exceptional and talented people. So, when this crisis of doubt reached critical level–some of those people reached out to me with wisdom, caring, and good advice that was more than welcome. Tina Donahue, a talented and truly wonderful lady, took the time to share not only her experience, but her real concern. My amazing editor, Penny Barber, who it seems won’t let me quit because she see some talent here, even on the dark days and despite the fact that I use too many words! Kayelle Allen, who I’ve known a long time and respect immensely. Nicole Morgan, friend and writer, with a kind heart and a kick-ass attitude. You’ve each reminded me of the many reasons we all do this, and that sometimes, even in the worst moments, things are not always irrevocably lost.

I’ve talked a lot over the past year about my general disdain over the way “authors” often behave, and the generally deplorable kinds of crap books many people are pushing since the flood gates were thrown open last year by EL James’ success with a set of those deplorable books. At the end of the day, people will read what they choose to read–and the advice I was given to dumb down my books, or sex them up–that’s just shit advice from publishers who want to rake in more money. Between the new breed of authors who have no clue about proper decorum and professionalism, and the lowering of the reading audience’s expectations, it’s been a frustrating  period.

So, after much struggle and soul-searching, decisions needed to be made. Tentative as they are right now, those decisions have been made. I have no intention of “dumbing down” my writing, sorry, some of you will have to pull out a dictionary occasionally, assuming you still own one–if not, there are lots online for immediate reference. I’m also not going to “sex up” books that don’t work that way. I fully expect this to make me even less popular than I am now, but maybe those who do read my books will find they’ve improved some for the grounding in my creative soul now.

The first order of business is to abandon, at least for now, the old works that I was trying to clear away–and growing increasingly UNproductive and UNhappy each day as I tried to complete them. Today I began work on the first wholly new story I’ve done this year. I’ve already surpassed the word count goal I set for myself, and the story is not remotely like others in my catalogue, so I’m going to enjoy it even if it doesn’t set the reading public on fire should it ever be released. Small steps, but I’m going to try my best to find what works for me again.

There’s also someone very special who’s taught me more in a few months about faith, hope, and vision than anyone I’ve ever known. He is a kind, generous, and strong man who speaks from his heart and Lights the darkness in many ways. I’m grateful every day for his friendship and love.

So, here we are–a small voice in a sea of many, but at least I’m not drowning anymore. Thank you to the friends who have never lost faith, especially when I had none of my own to keep me moving forward. God bless you all, and may He touch your hearts with happiness and your lives with the success you want and deserve.