Beginning New Things
Most people don't understand what a writer goes through when they write and market a new book. If people understood this, fully, we'd have probably fewer writers even try. But like everything in life, if you don't love it enough to wade through the muck, then you shouldn't be doing it.
Lest you think this is going to be an old-fashioned rant, read to the bottom. I always bring a Happily Ever After. I promise!
I'd love to say my experience is all hearts and flowers. A lot of it is, but a lot of it is just doing all the things we have to do to promote and get our stories out there, which isn't as much fun for me as it is for some authors. I don't like living on the computer or tied to social media 24/7. I have a life, a family, and I have books to write. I don't like selling myself, but this is what's required. Writing a book and putting it up on Amazon is free. It's the emotional cost that sometimes gets expensive.
I keep looking for easy ways, people to hire, to do these things for me. Bottom line is, there is no one. Here's my dilema.
Having a full time PA is costly, but you are limited to what they know how to do. Often the problem is you don't know what they don't know how to do because they aren't going to point it out to you. It's not even on their radar. I always know when I've turned the corner on someone who helps me when I start asking questions and instead of getting encouraging smilie faces, I get hesitance and excuses. It used to happen to me in Real Estate. Those people didn't last very long in my world. But getting rid of them frees up the space to bring in someone better.
I guess I'm not as trusting as I used to be. I never used to ask my teammembers in real estate what they thought was a good idea for me to do, yet, in writing, we're surrounded by people who supposedly know what they're doing (you pay them for this knowledge), and then find out they know less than you do. They tell you to do X Y and Z when they really have no clue. And I'm back to where I always land, with my own intuition, doing things my way.
My way has gotten me USA Today and NYT letters. Doing things another person's way has gotten me difficulties, even caused me to lose some friendships with other authors because of miscommunications handled on my behalf. It sickens me to think about all the bridges I've had to re-mend due to this. I always think I'm hiring people who are a good reflection of me and my values, and frequently I have to adjust that thinking. Well, I'm okay with adjusting. I'm learning that even at my age I can adjust and I'm proud of that.
Writing for me isn't a hobby or just something I do to make me feel good. It's great when that happens, but I'm creating an environment where I can sustain the lifestyle I desire, communicate with people of like mind, and find new audiences every day. I like to think my readers go along with me because it's an adventure and I'm always doing something different. I hope I never stop doing that.
Just like pruning my roses, sometimes the dead wood has to be clipped off, the duct tape has to be applied so I can hear the voices of my heroes and heroines in my head and not the little Messenger jabs that annoy me. Don't get me wrong, some of the best messages in the world have come from there. But I have to filter what I let in, where my energy goes. If it takes too much time or emotional energy, I'm outta here.
I have some long-term readers who will understand this. I have my long-term author friends and of course my deep loving friendship with my narrator, J.D. Hart, who understand this. I have their backs as much as they have mine. Nothing will shake me from this.
And when I get annoyed at having to prune again, I just have to remember the beautiful roses that always came in the early Spring to my garden in Bennett Valley. They grow in my heart and mind now, and yes, with proper pruning, they will come back strong after the winter of cleanup and fertilizing.
I flew to Nashville and spent three glorious days there, soaking up the people, meeting my readers and loving the area, the weather (yes, I love the humidity), and the possibilities my future has in store for me. I could see myself living there. So I have to work very hard to get there. You can help me, dear readers! You can help spread the word and share what you read of mine that touches you. You can tell people to subscribe to these blogs, my newsletter, share my books and show up at my parties and signings. I love that part!
At SFO I met a new fan at the ticket gate. Dear Marj was so sweet, I gave her a tee shirt, and sent her some books and just got a heart-felt response from her this morning. I'd love nothing better than having that kind of interaction every single day, and most days I do. I met another incredible gate agent flying home, and I was able to give her a couple books as well.
My winner of the gift basket at Naughty Nashville, Iris, was a dear and someone I've seen several times at signings. Her warm smile and happy countenance always cheers me. I'm so happy someone so deserving won the basket.
These are the people I work for. I love working for women who want to feel the power of true love and how it heals, how it cleans out everything that is dusty and “cobwebby” in our hearts. We forget to feel, to love, to open up and to love with great abandon. If I can just remember to be that way, and stop getting caught up in the weeds, I'm good. I'll write until they send me in the wood chipper (if you haven't seen my recent FB page, you won't understand this). I'm hopelessly addicted to feeling wonderful when I write love stories. I want to share them with the whole world.
It's not all marketing. It's magic, and it's going down that path of finding true love, even if it's only in stories. If we can conceive of it, it can happen, right? We make the world a little bit brighter with these love stories. We blot out the news, and the miscommunications like yesterday's garbage. We look forward to a bright future, walking hand in hand.
I truly love this business, even on the days I get to wade through a bit of muck.
Here's a link to some pretty music, and yes, a tiny teaser from a new series I'm writing. This book will be outstanding. I promise you! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7B6YUSKtWg&index=2&list=RD0danI-1AhAk
This is an unedited excerpt of Be With Me, a book coming out next year, a Time Travel Romance!
The old man continued after I gave him more drink as shadows danced across the dark crevaces of his lined face. His lower lip was quivering and he spilled a dribble of the clear amber liquid down his chin, then handed me the cup and revealed a toothless grin.
“Thank you, traveler.”
I’d seen skulls in the desert many times who grimmaced back up at me just as this man did. He appeared to concentrate the effects of the drink on his mood, and then continued.
“The passion is what is worshiped. It comes before the feeling. It’s before there is feeling.”
“Like an energy field of some kind,” I suggested.
“Like the gas from the stomach that travels along your belly, tickling your insides.” He cackled at the look that must have been on my face.
“You are going to have to explain that, my man. I don’t find passing gas to be anything someone could devote a life to. Rather something I’d be anxious to be rid of.”
“Yes, yes. And there are those who will say the same about the passion. And view it as such. But they can’t stop it. We let it out by glorifying and worshiping it.”
“You say it like it’s a thing, not a person, or a diety.”
He clasped his hands together with a glowing smile that lit up his cheeks like a school girl. “Yes! The young have it. Have you never worshiped at the altar or an innocent girl? All that unselfconscious beauty and grace, without any knowledge of your lusty thoughts?”
I adjusted my seat and was hesitant to answer.
“You know that energy. We aren’t cruel men who would take advantage of her. We stand in the awe of her being and feel the passion we will not act on. But you understand it’s there, all the same.”
“I’m glad you clarified that. I have enough male friends who probably don’t restrain themselves, and should.”
“We’re in the land where there are no rules, so there are no violations. The passion in your soul is a calling, a string that comes from here,” he demonstrated by bending the fingers in his right hand into a point, and extending out as if pulling an imaginary string. “And pulls you behind it. You allow it free access. You allow it to guide you.” He flicked his wrist and I saw sparks from the campfire rise to the sky.
I was stuck. “I’m back to the same difficulty of the actions and how it’s appropriate for a gentleman to behave.”
“You are looking at it from a prism. You cannot focus on this living thing inside you unless you stop filtering it with your social rules. Know this, my young traveler, before you color this discussion and loose the thread completely: it will never lead you astray. But it might take your life.”
I was getting more confused by the minute.
He rubbed his eyes. The campfire was making my eyes sting as well. I placed several small slivers of cedar and one large log onto the pit, brushing away the sparks, watching them fly up into the sky and disappear. The stars were huge, as the camp activity had died down. Everyone else at the spring was inside their tent. Even the animals were quiet. The campfire crackle brought me back to him studying me, waiting for something. Then he spoke again.
“Tonight, you will lie and feel the pulling of the stars in your chest. Feel the tiny hooks reach into your flesh and lift you from here. Don’t be afraid of what you see or feel. Only things that can hurt you are of this world, in this desert. The stars, they tell the way.”
I followed the trajectory of his finger, noticing the stars becoming brighter, hung in the fabric of the night’s dark canvas. I lay back on the cloth cushion he’drawn up for me, smelling of camphor, sandalwood and coriander. There were other scents mixed in as well, but as I gazed at the jewels glistening above me, I heard his voice trail off…
“Find her, traveler. Dive in to the passion and there you will find her. She’s waiting for you there. She’s that young woman who knows not what you know. You have to show her the way.”
I’m not sure how much time passed, but I was aware I had traveled some distance. The desert had been overwhelmed by green foliage. I was surrounded by hillsides covered in rows of grape vines, several small lakes and wide spanses of brown fields. Crickets chirped as a bright yellow moon revealed itself from behind a puffy cloud looking like our campfire smoke. I saw the ripples on a lake and felt a breeze transform the glass surface to wavy lines as if a dark finger had scraped across a bowl of water.
The air was cool. The hills were untamed. Eyes of creatures on the ground reflected like gems appearing and then abruptly turning off their internal light. Several stars fell. I heard the sound of water and was inside an old mill building. I could not see it, but somewhere a large water wheel churned and bubbled.
I thought about the string the old man showed me, and with my hand on my heart, drew up to the sky, feeling some connection between my chest and my palm as it traveled. I flicked my wrist open and was flooded with the feeling of excitement unlike what I’ve ever known. I felt a hunger and ache for something, or was it someone? Was this the her he was speaking of.
I wanted to see her.
“Be With Me,” I whispered.
In my vision, I saw the back of a woman’s neck as she turned and I saw her in profile. Her hair was drawn on top with a clip. I reached out and could not touch the skin that looked like it was painted on velvet, the pinkish ear lobe pierced by a single dangling gold charm which caught the moonlight as it hung from her ear. I held my breath.
“Be with me,” I whispered again.
Her hair was mahogany brown, shiny in the moonlight. My words had caused her to take a swift inhale, like she heard me?
Voices appeared out of nowhere, and I suddenly smelled the campfire. Two people were having an angry conversation in one of many dialects of the caravan, from inside a tent.
Everything stirred around me. But the woman was gone. I could barely still hear the sound of her breathing, and then nothing at all.
What do you think? Are you hooked? Love you all!