32nd #Birthday: When Everyone Just Quits Trying?

Let me start this post by saying I am not really a birthday kinda gal. In fact, the only reason I know mine is coming up is because my husband asked me his usual, “What do you want for your birthday?” question. There were two years where I actually forgot my own birthday: One I only figured out the day before because of my work schedule, the other I realized the day of because someone wished me a Happy Birthday.

I don’t know when or why the lack of give-a-damns about the day came about; I just know that eventually, when people started giving me the old “Oooohh someone has a birthday coming up” grin and wink, it would take me a few minutes to realize they were talking about me. It was like I had a finite number of fucks to give on the subject, and each year I spent one of my fucks to blow out the birthday candles.

I think the last time I cared was on birthday number 25, and really that was only because I was excited about the super delicious Costco sheet cake my family bought for me. Not even joking, that shit was delicious.

 

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Probably how I am going to be kidnapped one day.

 

Now, because it drives my husband insane that I can never tell him what I want for my manufacturing-date celebration, I figured I would at least try to help him out a little and browse the web for ideas. What DO you give the woman who has no fucking clue what she wants? I typed “gifts for 32 year old women” hoping to find something that was mature yet fun enough to pique my interest. Because, let’s face it, I’m no spring chicken but I can still cluck with the rest of the hen house.

 

It was like I had a finite number of fucks to give on the subject, and each year I spent one of my fucks blowing out the birthday candles.

 

What… the fuck, guys.

Now I know I’ve quit caring about my own birthday—I mean it happens when you got a bushel of crotchfruit to buy gifts for every year… twice. You stop thinking about what you want for yourself when you have to worry about everyone else—but holy damn. When did 30 mean death of creativity, fun, or adventure? Here are some of the gifts suggested for your 32 year old wife/sister/daughter/friend:

 

A floral phone case.

 

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Show how much you care for your wife by giving her a girly-enough-to-puke phone case that she could have probably bought for herself because, you know, it’s a phone case. In fact, she probably saw this at the store, snorted, and passed it up for the durable Otterbox because she knows she’s a klutz, but now she has to smile and pretend to like it because you tried your best.

If you are dead set on giving her something for her phone, I guarantee she would be way more excited if you payed for a month of service, or an iTunes gift card. Or even an Audible membership/credits because, let me tell you, I burn through books on my phone and they are not cheap.

 

 

Cord Organizer.

 

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…. Really? If she needs a cord organizer, chances are pretty good she won’t actually USE the thing, so it will likely just decay at the bottom of her purse.

If she’s the type to get really irked at cords, maybe get her those Bluetooth headphones she’s been drooling over, assuming she hasn’t gone wireless already. Or, if you want to do something with organization because she’s a mess—er—because she is too busy kicking ass and can’t get anyone to cooperate with helping out at home, maybe pay for a housecleaning or organizing service for the house. She will be speechless, I promise.

 

 

Colorful measuring spoons.

 

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Okay so, while these are kinda cute… do they really scream Happy Birthday to you? Yay! You were born! Here is a little reminder that your entire life’s meaning is to cook until you die, and as an added bonus we get to play “will one more item fit in the utensil drawer?!” And I know, I hear you already. “Well my wife doesn’t do all the cooking! I help out, too, because I am super husband!” Which begs the question, if it’s something that is going to be used constantly by everyone in the house, does that really make it her gift? Or just a nice addition to community property?

If you think cooking is the path to her heart, try taking her to a cooking class for couples. Or plan way ahead and save up so that you can spend the week of her birthday taking her to restaurants featuring exotic foods from all over the globe. You know, something that isn’t McDonald’s or Applebees that she doesn’t get to indulge in regularly. Make it a foodie adventure.

 

A Paperweight.

 

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You have GOT to be kidding me, right? If this is how you think your wife feels, maybe you should ask yourself if there might be another reason there isn’t enough wine. And then you might ask yourself if you really want to arm her with a blunt object perfectly sized for throwing.

If it’s the quote thing that caught your eye, then maybe try to tap into your romantic side and start the month out by slipping her hand-written quotes that remind you of her every day. Yes, I know, this takes a lot of planning but come on. Think of her smile when she sees these little surprises and knows you think about her as more than just a bed heater, personal chef, and TV remote arch nemesis. And here is an added bonus… this costs next to NOTHING. Thoughtful and frugal, my two favorite things.

And the last one because we will be here forever if I keep going:

 

Coasters.

 

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Yes, they actually suggested buying a woman 4 coasters for her birthday. Unless these coasters come with a magically endless refill of wine, tea, or whiskey, you just gave me yet another projectile weapon. There really are no words for this one. I mean, really guys? You look at someone you love and think, “she deserves coasters!”

At this point, there are no “comparable” alternatives. If you cannot think of anything better than a coaster, just don’t even try shopping for her. Hand her some cash or a gift card and drop her ass off at her favorite store. It might be the mall, it might be Target. Just let her do her thing. Coasters, guys. Really?

Now I know there are going to be some people whose first reaction to this blog will be, “You are so materialistic! At least they tried! Get over yourself!” To those people, I will point your attention back to the beginning of this rant. I honestly could get nothing and I would be indifferent to it. But I felt like I needed to help my fellow ladies out because sometimes a woman just likes to feel as though someone gets them. And if you notice, I had suggestions that were affordable or even free for the most part. It doesn’t have to break the bank.

 

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Just make sure the gift is appropriate for the recipient, guys.

 

It’s not about how cheap the gift is, it’s solely about knowing the person you are giving the gift to. By the products suggested in the article, I would think these women receiving them are dead inside, gentrified, no fun, and maybe just flat out broke and can’t buy any of these type of things themselves (I mean, baby oil? Really?) And that’s okay if that’s the case, but I wouldn’t label these as gifts to symbolize the celebration of their existence. If you wanna get them some cool coasters, do it just ’cause you think they’d like them. I’m not saying these aren’t nice things, but… you are supposed to step it up a notch for a birthday. C’mon.

Most women want to know they are seen and heard. That you want to experience things with them. Give them an adventure. Give them something they’ve been drooling over. Give them romance. Show you get them as individuals. Don’t just toss them a 5oz bottle of Beauty Blender cleaner. What?

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Review: Uriel’s Fall (#Audible #Audiobook)

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I came across the audiobook for Uriel’s Fall while looking for a narrator for my own work, and I must say the short two-minute sample I heard was enough to drive me over to Audible, register for an account, and download it.

Uriel’s Fall doesn’t waste time with the old good vs. evil rhetoric when it comes to demons and angels, and I couldn’t be happier for that. Hall brings a fresh look into the day-to-day lives of the inhabitants of Heaven and Hell, and Ubiquity is very much a day-to-day job. I love how she manages to meld the supernatural with the mundane seamlessly. This could very well be happening in the real corporate world and we would never know.

Ronnie is a fun character. Her snark helps to save her sometimes whiny and naive disposition. I mean, when you are a demon who can’t remember anything past three months ago, and had to have Lucifer pull strings to get you a job that feels daunting, I guess you have some things to whine about. And things don’t seem to be getting any better when an aggressive, bully-centric, and blood-thirsty voice suddenly starts talking to you, mocking your private thoughts. Especially when the voice appears to want a bloody vengeance against the three most powerful angels of all time.

Hall manages to keep the story flowing, effortlessly dialoguing Ronnie and the voice as she sets out to juggle a confusing love triangle between her, Gabriel, and Michael, figure out why Lucifer has suddenly become distant and unhelpful with getting her memories back, fighting with a d*** boss, and discovering what, or who, killed Metatron centuries ago and why she is connected to her death.

This book has quickly become one of my favorites and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into more. DEFINITELY worth a read, or listen!

Amazon: Buy Here   Audible: Buy Here

 

 

DENY THE MOON is Officially Live on #Smashwords and #Amazon

 

I feel like it has taken ages to get here, which is absurd when  you think about it. I’ve launched Deny the Moon before, right? So there really isn’t much to be said this time around.

Wrong!

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Well, okay. So my book is no stranger to the Smashwords or Kindle shelves. I know to many people, this relaunch hardly seems like a big deal and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be a big deal to everyone else.

Personally, I think it’s phenomenal. I feel like I have finally accomplished something.

“But Melissa,” you say. “How do you feel accomplished now, but didn’t before?”

“Because,” I tell you while demonstrating a perfect Captain Morgan pose, “I have finally finished!” I am done. Finally. Completely. Done.

I no longer feel compelled to go in and tweak this scene, or fill in this part. I don’t feel as though there are things still left unsaid. I am content. To be honest, I never thought I would get that way about a book, but there it is. I can look at Deny the Moon and feel nothing. No wiggle of anxiety. No panic. There is nothing left to say.

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So relaxed.

Does this mean Deny the Moon is perfect? Hell no. This is my first book guys, my debut novel. I’m still getting my feet wet in this whole writing thing, and I am sure from a technical standpoint there can still be fixes to be had, but the truth of the matter is I am done having them. I have put the book through all the paces I had access to, have revised and rewrote hours of content, had a multitude of eyes peruse it’s pages in search of problematic paragraphs, and there is no more I can do. It’s my baby, and she’s ready to meet the world.

So, as of today, you can snag yourself a copy in two ways:

  • Via Smashwords for Free!
  • Or, if you don’t mind throwing a nickel into my hat, you can also get the Kindle version for $0.99.

There’s really not much else to it.

Thank you, to everyone who has listened to my ups and downs while getting through this. It means the world to me. And the best part about being done? I have finally unclogged the blockade that was keeping me from writing book two. Since the relaunch, I have written an entire page of content for Raging Spirit, something I was beginning to worry would never happen. I will totally take that as a sign to move forward.

Hopefully, you will enjoy what I’ve offered to you. Whether you are new to the series, or just want to brush up on the new content, I recommend giving it a read. And as always, feel free to leave an honest review. I’ll keep plugging away at the sequel, and another surprise I have up my sleeve for you.

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#Excerpt: Deny the Moon

We are just over two weeks away from the re-launch of Deny the Moon! I don’t know about you, but I am getting super excited! Not just because I’ve been dying to get this back on the shelves, but also because it will be the start of new projects for me. I can finally turn my focus—cause let’s face it, I don’t have much to spare!—to my other works to try and get them out there for you guys.

Because I love to share, I felt that now was as good a time as any to give a little sneak-peek snack-sized bite of Deny the Moon for you all to enjoy. Take a gander, and if you like what you see then please join us on April 7th at Duckicorn’s facebook page for the little Re-Launch shindig. And if you really can’t wait two more weeks, and you like to review things, the first five people to sign up for the Duckicorn ARC Team Mailing list will get a free copy of Deny the Moon to read and review, as well as be first in line to receive Advance Review Copies of future works from us at Duckicorn Creative Squad! Why would you ever turn down free books!

Become a member of the ARC Team!

Okay, enough shenanigans and tomfoolery. Get your sneak peek below and mark your calendars for April 7th!

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Traffic along South Quentin Avenue began to slow as the night dragged on, allowing him an almost-unobstructed view inside the restaurant across the road. Only the occasional car driving past broke the scene before him, robbing a few seconds of her flirtatious smile from him. He’d been standing there for nearly two hours, and it looked like they weren’t going to be leaving any time soon.

God, she was beautiful. More than she’d ever been, if it was possible. Her face was alive and vibrant as she spoke, her hands animated with whatever story she was sharing with the man at her table. For once, it looked as if she had thrown all of her worries aside and allowed herself to live in the moment, to enjoy life and all it had to offer her, and he hated her for it. He hated the way this man could bring that coy smile to her lips, the way she fluttered those eyelashes at him, and lightly touched his arm as they talked.

He’d been looking for her for several months. Every city they passed through, he couldn’t help but wonder if she was nearby, if she was right under his nose. Like most things Harley did to him, her running off had made him crazy. He didn’t know what she’d done with his bike, if she’d gotten herself hurt, or worse, if she’d moved on. Watching her with this guy, it appeared as though she had done just that.

A waiter set a plate between them. The man grabbed his fork and dug it into the fat slice of chocolate cake then offered it to Harley. Rage roiled within him as she leaned over the table and let the guy feed her.

Oh, but that bitch was gonna pay. She would pay for what she put him through, how she made him feel, but first, he was going to tear that jackass limb from limb.

Frank’s cell rang in his jacket pocket and, tamping down his anger, he answered it on the third ring.

“Yeah,” he growled.

“Where are you?” the voice was impatient.

“Who are you, my mama?”

Harlow growled over the line. “Don’t start with me, Essex. You’re on thin ice as it is, you know. Now, if it were up to me… I’d have skinned you alive the night you let the girl ride away on your little toy. You had one job to do, and you fucked it off. However, my father thinks you’ll be worthwhile, yet.”

“Is that so?” Frank laughed derisively. “Must piss you off that daddy likes me better.”

“Don’t get too cocky, jackass. You’re about one wrong move from being on his shit list. Please,” he said the word with longing. “Please, give him a reason to send me after you.”

“Sorry, dickweed. You’re not my type,” Frank breathed as his eyes moved back to Harley.

She was reaching over and wiping something off the guy’s lower lip. Frank’s grip tightened on his phone so hard that it began to creak in protest. “What the fuck do you want, Harlow? I’m a little busy right now so if you just called to bust my balls—”

“Have you found her yet?”

Frank stared at the woman in the restaurant. Her hair was different. Blond and shorter than before, but there was no doubt that it was her. It was tragic, really. So many memories of that long, thick, dark hair as it tickled down his body. The tips sliding silkily over his skin as she teased him. So many memories of her and the things she could do. His dick hardened at the mere thought of it.

“No,” he growled as he watched them together. “Still no sign of the bitch.”

Follow me on Twitter at @MelissaGraham85 or @Duckicorn_squad or join us at the Duckicorn community fb page for updates on this and other projects, inspiration and encouragement, and just plain quirky goodness.

So Your Friend Is an Author…

Sometimes your author friends are afraid asking you for help would make them “annoying” or “needy”. Here’s how you can help them out without them even knowing.

Or… you know… here’s way to have them indebted to you. 😉

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Judge

Amazing, Isn’t It?

Yes. It is.

How many authors do you actually know?

Now your friend is one.

The key word there is friend.

This was your friend before. Becoming an author doesn’t change that.

Sure, you can tease your friend about this, if your relationship ordinarily involves teasing.

But your friendship is based on more than just teasing:

  • You support one another. Even if one of you writes a book.
  • You’re honest with one another. Even if you think the book isn’t quite, well, you know.
  • You know each other well. How to get on one another’s nerves. How to put things gently. So you can figure out the right way to share honest feedback.
  • You motivate one another. So in addition to honest feedback, you’ll provide encouragement, motivation, and direction.

Your friend wrote a book. That’s a huge accomplishment. Treat it as such.

There are some things you…

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Mark Your Calendars!

I’m excited. Like, super excited. I’m talking full on Jessie Spano on caffeine pills excited (and yes, I mean the full meltdown.) What do I have to be so excited-yet-mind-numbingly-terrified about, you ask?

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Well, if you didn’t ask I’m going to tell you anyway.

Deny the Moon is in the final stages of being republished! Yes, after yet another go-around with revisions I have finally trimmed and tweaked it to exactly where I want it. Huzzah! Hooray! Bravo! Yippee!

Now, anyone who has kept up with my bi-polar plans and efforts with this book will know that after having pulled it from the virtual shelves to really tighten it up, I had planned to shop the finished manuscript to any agent that will accept a previously self-published work. I knew they were out there, just waiting to have my query pop up in their inbox so they could all clamor to offer me bountiful contracts…

*sighs dreamily*

Of course, what I’ve learned about that is:

  • There aren’t very many agents willing to accept previously self-pubbed works, and
  • Of those that do, you really don’t have much of a chance of selling a work if it wasn’t already selling well to begin with

So, after finding two agents that would accept it, I decided to give it a try with them as a means to get my feet wet and if no one bit, I would go back to self-publishing it. I submitted my queries, heard back from one with a very polite and encouraging form rejection, and have waited several weeks to hear back from the other. Since I have not, I will take that as their version of the FadeAway and mark that up as a no-go.

But I did not admit defeat! I took it as a quick lesson in what my future queries will hold, got the scary first rejection out of the way, and set to putting Deny the Moon back on the shelves. The proper way.

And now here we are!

ON FEBRUARY 18 2017
  • I will reveal the launch date for the re-release of Deny the Moon!
  • I will reveal my sexy, shiny new cover designed by @Silvana_md!
  • And a few other treats!

 

It will all be going down here on my blog two weeks from tomorrow. So are you excited? I know I am! I’ll bet you want a little sneak peek, right? Just a teaser tide-me-over until the 18th? Is that what you want? Well…

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Yep, I know. I’m a mean, awful person. Come on, I have to do something to feel in control, here!

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Having Daughters Is Nothing Like I Expected

Since I was a little girl, about 12-years-old, I knew I was going to have a daughter. There was no doubt about it. I would grow up, get married, and become a mother. I didn’t know how many children I would have, but I knew that I would definitely have a daughter. I want to say when I did just that it was everything I hoped for, but in all honesty it was nothing like I expected.

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I knew that I would dress up my sweet little girl in ribbons and curls and cute little pink skirts. I never thought I’d be telling my daughter that she couldn’t wear her favorite dress to the park because there are predators out there that loiter around the swings watching and as fun as it is to jump from the swing and tumble on the ground, he might see her undies.

I remember people showing their kids embarrassing toddler pictures, which almost always included a bath pic or a nakie-baby pic. I was shocked when it became “bad” to share these precious—and usually hilarious—moments of their childhood because it was suddenly considered obscene. I was even more surprised when I eventually understood that some perverts found something less-than-innocent in these pictures and that they eventually stole those precious keepsakes from me because, God forbid, you actually have possession of one then you are automatically considered a “sicko”.

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I knew I’d want to take her swimming or watch her play in the sprinkler in the front yard, but I didn’t know I’d end up making her wear a pair of shorts over her swimsuit because someone at the pool was gawking at her just a little too hard. I didn’t expect to have to pass on the ultra-cute ruffled two-pieces because a grown man might think her tummy showing meant she was inviting his disgusting thoughts.

I looked forward to going on outings with my daughter and visiting new places. It never really occurred to me that first I would have to teach her that it was safer to use the restroom with someone she knew; something in-grained into our female brains long before there was such a thing as a “transgender bathroom-issue”. That men often mock and tease us for “herding” without realizing they are the cause of it.

I knew I would want to take my daughter to the annual fair to see the pretty lights and ride the rides, but I didn’t expect I would find myself tying a rope from my belt loop to hers out of the growing fear and anxiety that someone might snatch her in the crowd. That people might point and laugh at us and some might even give me dirty looks for being that mom, but somehow that little length of rope would give me a sense of security and ease.

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I came to terms with the fact that, the older and more independent she got, the more she would want to play alone or be more adventurous. She’d want to ride her bike around the block, play in a friend’s yard, or go for a walk with friends. I was heartbroken when I realized I would have make her sacrifice most of her independence for safety, and shatter her understanding of the world around her by telling her about stranger danger and bad people. It broke my heart to watch her lose some of that trust in human beings. It completely destroyed me knowing that I had barely even touched on exactly how terrifying and bad the people in this world could be.

I expected my daughter would eventually have the puberty class, as we all did in school. It would be informative and embarrassing, and a little funny, but she would learn more about her body and what it does and why. What I wasn’t prepared for were special classes teaching her about good touches and bad touches, because 1 in 4 children are molested. That means of the 20 kids in my daughter’s class, 5 of her friends will have experienced “bad touching”.

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When I separated from her father, I knew to expect troubled times and difficulty with co-parenting. I knew there would be times when she was with me and she wanted to see daddy instead. I could barely bear it when I ended up having to keep the truth from her about her bio-dad, because the things he later did to another little girl are too terrible to burden her with, and now when she says she wants to meet her dad, it doubly hurts.

I hate to say it, but I even knew there might be a time or two where my daughter would get in trouble at school and I might even have to come and speak with the principal about it. She’s a kid. It’s a given. But I never dreamed I might be called out of work, missing a day’s pay, to meet with the principal because my daughter wore a tank top to school— which lacked proper air-conditioning—because her shoulders were “distracting” and “disruptive”. Meaning, because my little girl dressed for comfort on a very hot day, she’s not allowed to stay in school because of it, because her education isn’t as important as the boys who were somehow too distracted by her shoulders to focus on their studies (I can tell you, they really weren’t. Give our boys some credit).

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I dreaded, but expected, my daughter’s teenage firsts. First car, first phone, first date, first prom… All scary, but memorable, times. What I didn’t count on was that she’d have to walk in parking lots with pepper spray or self-defense training just to go to the store alone, that she’d be pressured into sending boys nude selfies and then find out at school the next day that everyone saw it, that she would have to be assertive when she said “No” to a boy because they don’t always listen the first, second, or third time, and even that I would have to worry that she knew she was worth more than her body and if he loved her, her boyfriend wouldn’t pressure her to give it to him.

Sending my daughter to college will be bittersweet, and I know I will have to trust in her to take care of herself and get her studies done. I just hope, when it comes time to put down work and go to play, that she remembers to go to parties with friends and watch each others backs, to never ever leave her drink unattended or accept an open drink from anyone, and to not get too drunk that she can’t defend herself because being a girl, she can’t do those inconsequential things like boys get to do.

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But I also knew I would have a son of my own, too. Someone I would raise to treat everyone with respect and to protect anyone that needs help. I just didn’t understand I would have to teach him to not look at girls like meat but to treat them like human beings and to love them rather than lust after them, that he should never ever take advantage of a girl who might have had too much to drink and instead get her to a safe place, that he needs to take responsibility for his own mistakes and not blame his inability to focus on what a girl is wearing, that he is not owed anything from the girl he is dating, and that he should focus on what a girl adds to his life rather than what she can give him for a night. I didn’t understand I would have to teach these things to my son because my daughters will forever be forced to deal with boys who weren’t taught the same by their mothers and fathers. But one day, he will have a daughter of his own and it will hit him as hard as it hit me. When that time comes, I hope he will have lived as the kind of boy he would want his own daughter to date.

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**Not every anecdote written here happened to my daughters. Some are examples of stories I’ve heard from other women, as well.

 

An Interview and a Question: What Does it Take to Make You Feel Like an Author?

Everything I have ever felt and thought about and having to put myself out there as an author while being paralyzingly introverted.

The intangible world of the literary mind

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A strange thing happened on the way to the blog.  I received an email out of the blue from someone I’ve never heard of.  That’s not so strange in itself; I get enough spam to feed a spambot until it vomits flowery poetry.

What was strange is that it was a request for an interview.  This wasn’t the usual, “Let’s fill out interview questions and share them on each other’s blogs to cross promote ourselves,” interview request.  This was a straight up, “I want to interview you.”

It surprised me.  The first thing I did was check the email address it came from.  It looked legitimate.  Then I skimmed (that’s what my eleven year old called it) her online.  I Googled, found and checked profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, investigating if the person looks legitimate.  She looked legitimate.

uh ohIt was time for the, “Oh, uh, wow?” moment.  Me? …

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The ABC’s of Being a Writer: Impatience

So, I have been a part of the “writing world” for a couple of years now and I’ve learned a lot. While I have been writing for far longer than that, I have never been a part of the writing community or been able to utilize what they had to offer. Hell, I didn’t even know what they had to offer. If I had known the tips, tricks, support, advice, and challenges available, I might have never gone through with self-publishing Deny the Moon as fast as I did.

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Okay, so I know I wouldn’t have. I would have known:

  • Publishers rarely take queries for books that have been self-published.
  • There is a whole society of people who willingly read your manuscripts and tell you what you are doing wrong before you make it public.
  • Putting a book out with basically no online presence gives you about as much exposure as a Puritan woman’s kneecap.
  • Agents are not as out-of-reach as I had earlier believed.

I have suffered the folly of many first-time authors. We are so eager to put our work out there so we can proclaim ourselves as “real authors” that we rush headlong into it without thinking about, or learning, the consequences of it.

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Indeed, there is an overwhelming sense of impatience that comes along with being a writer. Especially one questing for that holy grail of accomplishments: a publishing contract. I mean, take this blog for example. If you notice, I started this series with the letter “I” instead of “A”. If that doesn’t illustrate the impatience of a writer, I don’t know what does.

Of course, it’s more likely that I just like doing things bass-ackwards.

Luckily, over the past two years, I have found my way to some incredible writing groups. 10 Minute Novelists is full of peers in various stages of writing and publishing and are always ready to lend  you real-world advice or give you some support when you need it. There are many agents, editors, and publishers on Twitter that lend you unique insights, like Sara Megabow’s #10queriesin10minutes where she reads 10 submissions from a slush pile live on Twitter and explains why she might pass or accept it.

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As writers, we want instant gratification. We don’t want to write a book for years and years, only to have to wait even MORE years to (hopefully) get it published. We want to see our name on a book now. With the growing acceptance of self-publishing, we are finding ourselves closer to that instant gratification, but at what price?

The markets are being flooded faster than we can keep up with. Not just that, but the ease of access means most of the floods come from novice writers whose manuscripts have no business being published yet. I should know. I am one of them! (I’ve recently pulled Deny the Moon from online shelves, but more on that in a bit.) Because it takes so long to write a decent novel, by the time we finish one traditional publishers and literary agents are sick of the influx of your genre, making all that time and effort feel wasted. Which makes us fall on self-publishing even more and, when the market starts to thin a little bit and agents start wanting those genres again, we are ineligible to submit it to them because we have already published. Impatience thwarts us again!

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As I have said, I pulled my book from Amazon and Smashwords because of many reasons. After a few years being a part of the herd, I have come to the shocking understanding that my book is not the best it could be. -GASP- I know, right?

If I had known what a critique partner was before I tumbled down the rabbit hole, I would have a better grip on my craft already and would most likely be starting the query process with Deny the Moon. And I probably would have been rejected because no one cares about Werewolves right now. Eh. Win some/Lose some. However, because I was more worried about being considered a “real author”—what does that even mean?!—when I am finally done making the book the best it can be, I still won’t be able to ship it anywhere. I mean, I can try, but I know the chances are nil. It’s okay though. Lesson learned.

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So if you take anything away from this rambling, let it be to slow down. I know you want to be on bookshelves. It’s okay, we all do. But take your time. Join some communities, get active on twitter, exchange some chapters with an unbiased critique partner. Do everything you can before making the leap. And if after all that you still wanna self-publish? Eh, go for it. Smashwords is a fantastic platform.

 

On Humility and Shooting Yourself in the Foot

As you should know by now, I am not what you call a consistent blogger. In fact, it usually takes an incredible burst of energy (often fueled by coffee, sudden inspiration, and a virgin sacrifice), amazing news I can’t keep to myself, or having something absolutely ridiculous happen that I feel the need to share with the six, or so, people that actually read this blog. Well, as it so happens, today I couldn’t quite catch me a virgin, and I don’t have anything particularly exciting to share with everyone. That pretty much means that someone has done something unforgivably offensive or spectacularly stupid.

You’re in for a real treat today because it just so happens to be both!

On Thursday, In The Inbox introduced the world to David Benjamin. A crotchety old man who I can’t help but imagine kicks puppies and screams at his blog visitors to get off his virtual lawn.

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Turns out, Davey Boy takes rejection about as well as Kanye West takes the Grammys giving T-Swift the award.

In fact, would it be a reach to call David Benjamin the Kanye of the literary world? Maybe? Eh, I’ll go with it.

Now, I won’t get into all the ugly details (just make sure you visit the blog to read the train wreck for yourself. It could save your career) but let’s just say he knowingly didn’t follow the clearly stated rules of a writing conference, got his 319th rejection, and ran to his blog to throw a tantrum. He was condescending to her, questioned her ability to do her job due to her age/boredom/attitude, questioned whether or not she even wanted to do her line of work, mocked her appearance and choice of clothing, and talked about her like she was an ignorant, weak, sad little girl. Basically put, he’s not only an ass… he’s a chauvinistic ass.

What’s even more mind-boggling is that she is not his only target. In fact, there is a thread on his blog completely devoted to trashing every agent that rejects him, though he is noticeably worse on the females. That being said, why would you very publicly attack the people you are literally begging to validate your life’s work?

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And before you start on that, yes… we very much are begging for validation of our work with every critique, every query, every breath, every word. We feed off of it. It fuels our egos—cause you have to know that writers are pretty egotistical creatures when we are shouting, “Look! Werds! I wrote them! Pay me for them! They are exquisite werds! The werdiest werds to ever werd! What? No? LuLz, okay, thanks anyway! I’m just gonna go cry into a bottle of whiskey now.”

Wait. That’s just me? Oh…

Seriously, though. Let’s just put the whole it-doesn’t-cost-you-anything-to-just-not-be-a-raging-douche-canoe thing to the side for a moment, and focus on the real brain-tickler here.

You want an agent to help you get your foot in the door with a publisher. Do you really think they are going to hold the door for someone who throws bullshit at them and then tries—note I said tries. I do gotta say, I really love the writing community when they band together to defend someone—to not only humiliate them, but completely bully them? No. No, they aren’t going to jump at the chance to work with a complete and total twat-knuckle.

To make it in this business, you need a little humility. Say it with me for the David Benjamins in the back:

HUMILITY

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This is a mantra I, myself, have to repeat everyday in my journey. As it is, I have made the gut-wrenching decision to pull my first book from Amazon to give it a thorough overhaul… again. Having humility in my craft is what allows me to see when I could do something better and give it more attention. My work will never be perfect in my eyes, but it will only get better with each tweak.

It’s okay to believe in yourself. It’s amazing to believe in your work. It’s not okay or amazing to have such an over-inflated ego that you think it’s okay to mock and ridicule anyone who dares to defy your beliefs of being the greatest writer in the history of the world holding the next masterpiece in your sweaty, run-down fingers. I mean, you very well might be just that, but no one is ever going to know if you unload a clip of self-damning venom into the foot of your career.