Tuesday, August 26

A happy thought.

Yesterday, I read an article about the 10 worst pieces of writing advice every author hears. It was a good article in that it listed the things, told why they were important, then reminded us why we need to not adhere to them religiously. I like articles like that.

But I've been thinking since then, about all the advice I've received over the years. I've been writing stories since I was in elementary school. Once out of high school, I realized that I'm not a very good student. I went to college... several times. But I'm just not a great student. I do pretty well the first couple of semesters, but then something happens and I'm done. When that happened in my early twenties, I joined a local romance writers' group and a national organization.

That's when the real writing advice started. Some of it was great, some of it made no sense for my way of writing, and other parts were just... things that make you go 'hmmmm'. I went to a lot of workshops, joined several critique groups, read a lot of amazingly BAD writing from my writing friends.Watching those same friends learn and grown and get much better was awesome. :) Getting better myself was awesome.

And I wrote. I wrote a LOT. I got several books close to the 'ready to submit to publisher' point, and that was back in the days where you printed out everything and sent it to New York and then held your breath for months, waiting for a response. Any response! Man, if I had a way to translate my Brother Word Processor disks to something readable, or even print them out, I'd have a gold mine.

But several years into the effort (I have a problem with finishing things), I heard something that made so much sense and I thought to be absolute truth at the time.

"Publishers hate a happy romance writer."

In my experience, to that point, this was gospel. When I was in a relationship, I wrote more of the happily-in-love romance and much less angst. I didn't write much about couples fighting, because I'm not a fighter. I wrote mushy-gushy stuff that made people go 'Awww!'. I guess I still do, but then, I'm a happy romance writer. :)

I learned, as I grew older and gained more life experience and met my husband, that yes, it's much easier to write about 'what if' when you're still searching for that one true love. It's easier because you're already in dream mode. You already have a thousand different scenarios going through your head every time you meet a new potential mate or even just hold the gaze of a handsome man for more than just a moment. Boom! There's a story, right there. Off you go to your notebook or computer to capture that moment and see where the story goes.

But what about us happy folks who have found our Prince Charmings?

Well, we dream in different ways, I suppose. We look at what we've got and write the opposite. Or we write those stories where the hero/ine fall in love early and work together, conquering all odds to get to their HEA. There's a place for those sorts of romances, as well, in my opinion. Not everyone fights. Not everyone has to hate their mate when they first meet them, in order for love to form.

And there are just some couples who don't fight. Like, ever. HoBA and I have been together for nearly 18 years now, married for 7 on September 8, and I can count on no hands how many times we've had a nasty fight. Oh, we've had discussions and misunderstandings. I think every couple does. But actual fights with screaming, slamming doors, calling names and bringing up the past? We don't do that. Both of us grew up in situations where fighting was common and we both have a deep need for peace, so we stew for a bit, talk about what's wrong, do what we can to fix it, then keep on going.

I guess I'll have to learn how to write the scenes where the hero/ine have negative sparks until they get together, but I honestly don't like writing those. I like to focus on the 'love' part of the story, not the bitterness and anger. But the market seems to like the angst, so I have to figure it out. :P

Ah well...

On another quick note, with one more book sold, I'll officially hit my second major sales milestone. It might not seem like a lot to some authors, but for me, it's fantastic. :) Cross your fingers that I get it! I've got five days left in the month, so hopefully there will be at least one more sale by then! :D

Happy author is happy! :D

Monday, August 18

Interesting... If you wanna pay that much for my book... :D

So my mom calls me today. She'd googled me and saw a few things that made her say "hmmm...". Apparently, there are book outlets out there that are selling my hard-copy for twice the cover price and more. One seller has it listed for $53 and some change!

Dude... if you wanna spend that much on one of my books, PLEASE let me know! I'll order it for you, sign it, number it, and maybe crochet a book jacket for it. Sheesh! $53 dollars?? PLEASE don't pay that much for my book. The one that is available at Createspace at the moment is the ORIGINAL published book. Same cover, all the mistakes, etc. I'm leaving it up for just a bit longer, but will be updating it September 15th of this year.

So here's the deal... I'm planning on buying 10-20 of the original printings very shortly. If you'd like to join in on that, the price will be $20, but includes me signing it and mailing it to you. There might be extras in the mailing.

Basically, if you want a signed copy of the original, comment here or PM me with your e-mail address. I'll send you a Paypal invoice for however many copies you'd like and will mail them out the moment they come in, in September.

Thanks, and please share where folks might want to know. I don't want my readers bilked out of money, and I'm sure you guys would rather have an autographed copy, much cheaper than the 'used' books that are being offered on Amazon and other outlets.

Hugs to everyone, and if you don't want to comment here or PM me, send me a note with your e-mail and how many copies you want at bethanyaanerotica@gmail.com.

Tuesday, August 12


Today started out nicely. Slept till 3pm, since I'm trying to get back into our 'school schedule' where HoBA works all day while I sleep, then we spend the evening together, have dinner, and I write all night while he sleeps. I wrote 7K words last night, so yay for that. Can't wait for you to meet Tillie, Falcon, and Walker. You're gonna love 'em!

Then my MIL, who's moving in with one of my SILs stopped by with the moving truck to drop off the washer and dryer she's not going to need for awhile. YAY laundry!!!! Since we moved here, we've been going to the laundromat or to my folks' house to do laundry. NOT fun. But now we have a working washer and dryer, so all is well.

But then, I read the news. You probably already know what I'm talking about.

Robin Williams, incredible actor, inspiration to many, comedic genius, amazing humanitarian... gone. Just like that.

What changed the direction of my day was not that he had died, but the comments that started up about his apparent suicide.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but I suffer from several clinical depression, suicidal ideology, PTSD, binge eating disorder, and bi-polar disorder, plus a few others I don't remember. So yeah... Robin Williams' death is hitting me hard.

People just don't understand depression and the impact it can have on a life. Yes, people get sad. Occasional depression is normal and just a part of life, especially after a traumatic event (good or bad). A few weeks and it usually passes.

Those who suffer from chronic depression cannot get happy.

Let me repeat that: People with actual clinical depression can't just look in the mirror and 'choose to be happy'. We can't. Well, we can say the words, we can look in the mirror. We can paste a smile on our faces and go about life as though nothing's wrong. Sometimes you'd have no clue that there was a problem at all.

But we are depressed.

Depression doesn't always mean sitting against a rainy window-pane, a lone tear trickling down a sad cheek. People with depression can laugh, can smile, can dance and sing and hug and make memories. But in the back of our minds, we're all wondering if people really care about us. If we're just being tolerated. We wonder if the 'gang' would even miss us if we were gone.

Do we say anything about that? Nope. Because we don't want that answer. Do we show ourselves to be lethargic, sad, pensive, or write sad poems? Well, sometimes. We do tend to sleep a lot. You'll almost always find us taking a nap (or needing to) after a stressful situation. We also tend to brush off social engagements when a dark period comes over us. We'll make plans with folks then cancel them at the last minute. The irony is, we WANT to go to those things. We WANT to be social and enjoy the company of friends who love us, whom we love. But for some reason, we can't get up out of our chairs or bed, get ready, and actually make it to the 'out'.

I have learned, over the past 30 years or so (I started suffering depression when I was in my early teens), that I have to have a support system in place. In the past decade, it's become so horrible for me to have any sort of deadline on me that even the mention of something coming up is enough to shut me down.

Like Storms of Ishira. I want to finish it, so much. I want you to see where this story is heading. But a) I have other stories clamoring to be told, so I've been working on those as well and b) every time someone asks about it, I get a block against it.

I hate that. I truly do. There's so much to this story that I want to share, but I get stressed out and I can't write about it. I can write about almost anything else, and I do. But I can't focus on Ishira, even though I dream about it. I daydream about it. I think about it when I'm doing laundry or dishes or taking a shower or stuck on the toilet for a bit. I think about it when I'm playing Bubbles (bubble shooter game) or when I'm knitting and watching TV with HoBA. But when I sit down and actually try to write on it, I get overwhelmed.

Does this mean that there will be no Storms? HELL NO! Don't think that for a minute! I AM still working on it, but it is happening slowly. I've decided to stop promising it... it will happen with it happens. There's more to the story than I know and the characters aren't telling me what's up... yet. ;)

As for the depression, this past year has been fraught with a bunch of stressors, which has caused me to be unable to write except in small bits and pieces. Most notable was the up-in-the-air status of where we were going to be living. We wanted to move back to the mountains, but that didn't happen. The good part of that, though, is that with the knowledge that we'll be in this location for at least another year, I feel secure enough to relax and write once more. :)  Hopefully that will translate into Storms showing up in winter or early spring. We can hope! I refuse to publish quickly... I'd rather take my time and make sure the story is as good as I can make it. I hope you won't mind that!

In the meantime, I have several other projects in the works, hopefully to be published in the near future.

But please... If you know someone that has been diagnosed with depression, PLEASE support them. Don't tell them that they can choose to be happy. Don't tell them that getting right with the Lord will do the trick. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain and it should be treated as any other physiological illness... with good doctors, the right medications, and a support system that lets someone feel safe, loved, and most of all... supported. If you dont' know how to do that, please consider taking the time to research how to help someone with depression. I would urge you to use secular sources, rather than religious, simply because the religious ones tend to eschew medical means and imply that as long as your faith is strong, depression can be beaten. This is rarely the truth and only adds to the sense of failure depressed folks already have an abundance of.

Instead, do the research, even so far as to maybe going with a friend to their therapy or doctor's appointments and asking how you can better support them when they need help. If nothing else, ask the person themselves how you can help them. Most of the time, all they need is a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, and someone to tell them they are loved, needed, and WANTED in other folks' lives. That means more than you can imagine, if you've never experienced true depression.

Sorry so down on this post, but I am a huge advocate of mental health awareness and understanding. NO one should feel too ashamed to ask for help when they feel like they're fighting their own damn brain for the right to be happy. No one.

Friday, August 8

why I don't blog very often...

A friend asked me today why I don't blog as often as a lot of other writers seem to.

Well, the answer is really simple: I don't write until I have something to say, even if I'm the only one who thinks it's worthwhile.

Case in point: I could have written about my new kitten when we got him. Do you guys come here for updates on what cute thing he's done today? Nope. You have facebook for that, I'm assuming. Not that I'll never post pics of him... if I ever catch him licking the aquarium again, trying to get to the fishies, I'll be recording and posting that! It was too adorable for words.

I could have written about my summer shenanigans, if I had any. :P The highlights so far have been watching several different TV series we missed the first time around. Netflix is a wonderful thing, isn't it?? And since HoBA is home for the summer, thanks to being a teacher, we've been able to go through a number of series... Dexter, Farscape, Lost Girl, and most recently and still working on it, Game of Thrones. We're in season 4, right after the wedding, so no spoilers!!!! HoBA has been using my morning sleeps (since I write best at night, after he's in bed and the house is quiet) to watch movies he didn't have time to watch while school was in session.

I could have written about my writing exploits, but as I have nothing amazing to update you on, I figured it was best to spend my writing energy elsewhere... like putting it into several books that are nearing completion... including Storms of Ishira. (I knew you'd ask, so I figured I'd just let ya know!)

I might have told you of my gardening adventures, but again, you don't come here for that. Or my foray into aquaponics, since I'll be using it in several different books. I need to get that going again... hmm...

And of course, there's always the usual 'here's what I did today, I'm sure it's far more interesting to me than it is to you!' posts.

But look at the above: I've updated my entire summer break in several paragraphs. I could go into detail about each one. I'm writer... we like doing things like that.

So here we are, all caught up!

I will have more interesting posts coming up soon, I promise. I've read several really awesome books in the past few months and I want to sit down and review them for you so you can run out and get them, if you haven't already read them. :)

I will also be posting teasers soon from a new book I'm almost done with.

Oh! And there is one piece of business I should mention... I've updated Hearts of Ishira with the original cover of torsos. I've also done some revising and have added bonus 'preview' chapters at the end, leading into Storms of Ishira. So if you haven't read those yet, see if you can get the updated revision and look for it at the end of Hearts. :)

Well, that's about it... Other than watching movies, cleaning, raising a rambunctious kitten, and writing when and where I can, things haven't been all that exciting. That should change in a month or two, though. Until then, I'll see about getting those reviews up for you! :)

Have fun, read lots, and be sure to post reviews and links for the authors and books you support. Every time you share a link, there's a new sales potential for the author, but more importantly, you're introducing friends to a whole new world and new people to fall in love with. :)