When you have the kind of success I’m having (I know, I’m not the seller that EL James is but I have had a bestseller), to tend to be grateful for everything you’ve gotten. In two and a half years I’ve accomplished a lot of things I’ve always wanted to. But along the way you have to be given a chance. And the person in the publishing world who gave me a chance was Lea Schizas of MuseItUp Publishing. I’ve had lots of opportunities these last few years, but Lea was the first. And what I couldn’t do in college and in my twenties she helped me do at 35. She offered me a publication contract.
I had never been through edits before and it was brutal. Like bootcamp tearing you down to build you back up. It was one of the worst experiences, being told your baby has big ears is no fun. But still Lea was there. I could call her anytime. She answered my emails. She was patient, attentive, all the things a neurotic tangle of nerves like me needed her to be. I submitted another piece called No Ordinary Love. While Another Way to Die had a fully fleshed out idea and character development No Ordinary Love was much shorter. And was inspired by Cowboys and Aliens. It’s nothing like Cowboys & Aliens but it inspired me to try my hand at a scifi/dystopian piece but it was also an erotica piece. Now, I have written a lot of erotic romance, subgenre erotic romance my first foray into it is actually one of my best sellers.
I have four books with MuseItUp. Those two and the first two books in the Gladiator Chronicles. I still have a third book to write in the GLADIATOR, ORACLE, QUEEN saga.
The person who gave me my break into print is Frank Hall of Hydra Publications, not the one in New York, but the one in Madison, IN. Another small press. The book is Bounty Hunter, a scifi erotic romance. Not erotica. There is a difference. There is no BDSM. I know some get the idea that erotic=dirty and that’s just not the case. And it irritates me when people don’t take the time to respect a genre that carries the entire publishing industry on its back. But that’s another post for another day.
And Blackyrm, (Dave Mattingly) the publisher of Gemini’s War which I’m double launching at Fandom Fest with City of the Damned from Hydra, is offering to pay my way into Dragon Con. I really want to go to the Austin Film Festival, however, and am wondering how to swing both. Again, another time, another post.
But Fandom Fest is my first love. It was my first Con of any kind. And it has done nothing but yield me good things. The first year I found Hydra. The second year I launched GLADIATOR. It reached as high as #43 in the Amazon free books scifi section. And in the guest list for last year it put me in touch with GL Giles, she was a book reviewer for Target Audience Magazine. That yielded a feature about me and two great reviews. I posted about my love for the small press and the editor for TAM asked me to do a post about finding a good small/indie press.
This blog led to a regular feature in her magazine about writers, emotional issues, and food addiction in TAM. And it pays and builds my brand. Promotion doesn’t come easily for me. I tend to think in the big picture and miss small details because of film background. I’m good at planning parties and setting them up but I am horrible at executing them. I tend to want to run away from my own gatherings.
I threw a Christmas party for my friends, my family decided that they were invited. It became a huge deal and I just wanted to abandon everyone and everything and hide in my room. I have bit of social anxiety. So as much as I’m looking forward to Fandom Fest, a little part of me that gets louder everyday freaks out. Because panic attacks like to hit me out of nowhere and when I can’t get away from the noise it’s really bad. I start to shake noise bombards me, I can’t breathe, I start to cry. It’s not something I enjoy experiencing and if I can avoid I try to avoid stressful situations.
But I can handle just about anything, but it’s like I have a shelf life. And once the shelf life runs out I’m caput. I need to go home and decompress. That’s why events like Fandom Fest are such a double edged sword for me. But I have friends like Missy and Pam and Carla and Elise, people who have touched life in such a positive way, like Bertena, Ellen, Delilah, Tanja, and Greta. I’m lucky to have survived what I did growing up. I’m lucky to have a mom and a dad(John, not Jerry) who loved me and through their actions showed me to follow my dreams and not settle for something other than that. My dad (John) went back to school, got his law degree and became a public defender in his late forties. My mom has been a public school teacher for 25 years. Definitely not the highest paying ventures in the world.
And to their credit with the exception of when I was in high school there was just the acceptance that I was going to build my career as I saw fit. Whatever that was. So like I said as shitty as my life was in some ways I always knew I was loved by them. But Vonnegut, Bradbury, and Grafton helped me to survive my own problems. And I wrote. I always wrote. And thanks to some very generous people I got my shot at as a published author.