Can You Get Writer’s Block from Too Many Stories in Your Head? #amwriting #MyWANA

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Welcome to the revamped blog. I’m still in the process of choosing the themes and I thought the best way would be to give some a try and see how they grow on me. If you have a few moments, leave me a note in the comments about this layout. Does it work for you as a reader or is it distracting? Any feedback is welcome. I promise to take it into consideration when I make my final decision. Now on to today’s post.

The quote in the meme pretty much sums up my writing world right now. Going about my every day life, traveling for my day job, and squeezing in writing during any free moment, I’ve found myself coming up with all sorts of ideas for new projects and avoiding finishing Dangerous Medicine. My husband asked me over and over again if I had the book to the editor yet and after months of avoiding it I had to finally admit to myself what was going on.

I’m afraid of finishing it, letting it go out to the world and then…nothing. I’m afraid of it sitting out there in the vast over abundance of books available to readers now and never getting noticed by anyone. I’ve had this story in various stages since 1999. You would think I’d want to have it done and over with by now, but I’ve held it close to the chest and locked away for so long I’m frightened by the void it will leave when it’s published. Will the other stories under all of my pen names dry up? This is the one that’s not erotic romance or erotica. It’s more mainstream romantic suspense with just a touch of steamy to the love scenes. What if I can’t pull this off without the shock value of the explicit erotica?

2015-09-14 05.48.38I created all of the pen names because I wanted to be able to write whatever popped in my head and not be restricted to a specific genre or category. My “voice” is the same throughout each tale but the subject matter and the characters lend me different freedoms to express that voice. How I write as Tawny with the Monsterotica is much different than I write as Stephanie. Writing menage and gay erotica/erotic romance as Lia is a whole other ball of wax. As Tammy I get to explore the lesbian erotic fiction and poetry as well as M/F or straight erotic romance. I don’t set out with a specific heat level in mind, but the characters speak up and I write down what they tell me to write. Seems simple really, but when they don’t fill you in on the whole story from the beginning to the end, it makes it hard to keep up the momentum. In the downtime from one story, another character chimes in. Heck, they’ll chime in when you are on a roll with another book and try to distract you from everything and everyone else in your life. When that happens to me, I feel so overwhelmed…

and I crash.

I end up jumping around between projects and adding notebooks on one of my phone apps with ideas for new stories. Then I look at the list of the books I wanted to have out before the end of this year and I cry. I’ll never get them done and I feel like a failure. Then I read a wonderful blog post by an author friend Liz Crowe and I cried again. Not because I was sad, but because I didn’t feel so alone anymore. She put into words what my heart and mind has been feeling all along. I’m a self published/Indie author. I don’t have to put so much pressure on myself to put out all these books in a short amount of time. I can relax and create the best story I can create, and work with my editor Amber Lea Easton to take it to the next level. When my next one goes out to the world, I’ll know it’s the best I can give.

That’s all I can do.

And it’s enough!

Until next time,

~Steph

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What Do You Do When Real Life Mimics Reality TV? #MyWANA #ARTG

Real life has sidelined me from my writing schedule as the flu has hit the Ryan household and knocked all of us down for the count. Today I’m finally feeling more human and able to focus so here I am to catch up and say welcome to everyone to my blog.

While in my sick bed, I’ve had a chance to catch up on some mindless entertainment. As most of you know, I love the Real Housewives shows. The craziness they put in front of the cameras makes me laugh and gives me an escape from some of the stresses in my own life.


Unfortunately, I’ve been living through and witnessing the Real Housewives behavior. Let me rephrase that—I’ve been the recipient of this behavior and have witnessed it being dished out on fellow authors. The backstabbing and manipulative behavior we see each week on these “reality” shows is over the top but nothing like experiencing it first hand.


In Real Housewives of New York, Carol is the journalist of the group. She’s also published one best seller and in the last season was in the editing process of her next one. Cut to Aviva. This one is writing her memoir and feels she is on equal level with someone who writes for a living. While it’s true Aviva lost a leg as a child and is dealing with many phobias and ailments, it in no way makes her best selling author material and yet she feels she can belittle Carol’s entire career.

While Aviva has an entire writing “team” read ghost writers to get her story ready for publication, Carol does not. Editing is not the same as ghost writing. This is a fact that Aviva can’t quite grasp. Instead of enjoying her own process, she has to belittle Carol’s success. Why? Who knows but my suspicion is jealousy. Aviva can’t write her way out of a paper bag so needs a “village” to get her book ready. To convince herself that’s the way things are done, she tosses out barbs and repeats gossip as truth about Carol.

Have I witnessed this same behavior in the author circles I’m a part of now? Yes. One of my friends is multi-published. She has degrees in journalism, written for magazine, edited for magazines, published with not one but THREE publishers and on her own. Unfortunately she lives in a community where money can buy you anything, including a deal with an unknown publisher for a memoir. This person takes every opportunity to brag about the supposed advance she’s received for this memoir and belittles anyone who self publishes.


This new “Aviva” now feels she’s an expert in the world of publishing and presents herself as one. Unfortunately for her, she’s burning a lot of bridges before her book is even written. My friend, the new “Carol” has been nothing but gracious but I’m fuming for her. I don’t think I could have kept my cool. I would have told “Aviva” off and called her out from the start.


Does that make me just as bad as the Real Housewives I watch each week? Probably. I’m only human. I don’t like backstabbing, two faced people. I’m not talking about confiding in a friend when you’re frustrated with the actions of another. I’m referring to malicious, intentional lies told about another to make yourself look good or to be included in a group of Mean Girls.


Over a year ago, I’d gone through a massive break up of  a partnership with three other authors. We were definitely going in different directions and it was better we ended the relationship but unfortunately we didn’t do it soon enough. It got ugly in the end with another party getting in the middle of it and playing all sides against each other. 


Fast forward to present day and the same thing has happened to these individuals. After all this time, others are now seeing the truth. While I feel vindicated, I’m also very sad because another person had to go through what had happened to me. Many had believed the lies and drank the Kool-Aid without gathering all the facts. Now they’re experiencing the madness themselves.

All the behind the scenes nonsense is something I never thought I would experience when I entered into the publishing world. I’ve come a long way since that naive newbie author. I’ve become guarded and let very few people into my inner circle now. I’ve witnessed authors stealing each others ideas, creating sock puppet accounts in order to slam their competition, and demand exclusivity in groups.


All of this nonsense is leaving out the most important thing in this business…


WRITING!!!!


With all the drama, stacking of lists on Goodreads, “like my page” groups, review swaps and paying for reviews, there is very little time left for these people to write or socialize with the people they need to get their books in front of…


READERS.


Real, live readers who give real, honest reviews and not the dozens to hundreds of “fake” 5 star reviews listed by members of author support groups. These are what we should be seeking out and not pimping our work to each other. Fellow authors are NOT our target audience.




What do you do when real life mimics the Real Housewives? 



Laugh it off and get back to what is really important. Take care of your health, your family, and write, write, write! Don’t fall into the trap of doing all promotions and no writing. Don’t fall into the quagmire of obsessing over the damn lists on Goodreads. In the end, they mean NOTHING. 

Readers mean everything. Through them you have sales. The more sales you have, the higher in the ranks you’ll find your books. The more sales you have the better chance you will see your books on the best sellers lists…and not just Amazon.


While I finish up DANGEROUS MEDICINE, I’ll be working on winning with the Mean Girls and avoiding the drama. What about you?

Until next time,
~Steph

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