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Look in the Mirror

There are times when you have to step back and look at yourself: your self-image, your mental abilities, your confidence.

Self-evaluation.

In the world of selfies, where people post images with captions, “I look like hell,” but post them anyway, it makes you take a closer look at self-evaluation. If you really thought you looked like crap, you wouldn’t post them. Obviously the poster likes the way they look, and then I wonder if they have a higher opinion of themselves than they should.

Wow, Erica! What a horrible thing to say!!!

Bear with me, here. I’ll get to my point shortly.

Anyone who has paid attention to my postings in the past month or so, knows I’m rewriting my Mistress & Master of Restraint Series- FROM SCRATCH. What a humbling, crippling experience. So I will explain my self-evaluation and a false sense of confidence comment.

Erica has taken a step back and did some major self-evaluation these past few months. In the now, you feel great about yourself: I look good. I feel good. I’m smart. This book is fabulous. Right? Isn’t that how you feel when you look into the mirror of yourself?

A few years ago, I was a bigger girl, and I felt confident about myself. I thought I looked good. (Now, don’t go tar and feathering me, as if I’m saying my size was a reflection of me as a human being. That is NOT where I’m headed with this blog post. I’m long-winded, I’ll get to the point eventually.) Anyway, I was a size 18/20 and quickly gaining ground on the next size up. At the time, I was working on changing my life, all aspects. So I lost weight, dropping down to a 10/12. Yay for me, right? Not really. Because there is fallout from that as well. You start to feel shitty about who you used to be because you still feel like shit now. When I look at pictures of myself- new pictures- I think I look bad. So then I start to question my own sanity. I thought I looked good in images from several years ago, several sizes larger, yet now I feel like crap when I look at myself. Was I thinking clearly back then, then?

My entire life I’ve thought myself as intelligent: quick to learn knowledge that I easily retained. Smarty pants. Know-it-all. With the mistakes I’ve made in the past, where I objectively look at my actions and reactions to the stimulation around me, at the time I felt I was making the proper decisions. Now I think I was a flippin’ idiot.

A stupid, stupid girl.

Stupid girl.

Stupid.

With the M&M rewrite has came a LOT of fallout, especially to my confidence in all things. In order to grow in my craft and as a person, I had to admit defeat. I had to recognize my faults. I had to take the bitter consequences of my actions. I had to look at myself in the mirror and say, “You suck. You f*cking suck, Erica!” Then, and only then, could I move on.

This new humbled, self-effacing person is now indecisive- demoralized. With my confidence destroyed, laying amongst the deleted words of my manuscripts, my world view has shifted.

The Erica from the past thought herself smart, average looking, and confident in her abilities to do her job. The Erica from the present disputes those claims as she cleans up the messes from the past Erica. The Erica from the future is shaking her head, clearly disappointed, and she’s shouting, “Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t make me redo your work because you’re an idiot. Don’t make me stand in front of the mirror and say, ‘I suck. I f*ckin’ suck!’ Don’t make me clean up your messes because you had a bloated self-image!” 

Yes, future Erica is a bit pessimistic and bitter, while past Erica was naive, and present Erica is just… resolved.

Where does this leave me, present Erica?

Rolling along, doubting myself, because the past predicts the future. The Restraint I’m writing today (from scratch) will be a Restraint I’m proud of today. But I fear that future Erica will be embarrassed by it, and will want to go back in time and kick my behind. Just as present Erica longs to do to past Erica.

As I go back to Restraint, where I’ve deleted 3 out of every 4 words and replaced them with new, I know I can only do what I am capable of as of today. Tomorrow I may be better. But when it’s all said and done, Restraint will be a reflection of who I am today, and future Erica will have a different reflection of herself within a new book. But for the past Erica’s honor and reputation, present Erica and future Erica have joined forces, refusing to allow their naive, younger self to be demoralized and humiliated.

I’m sure I will doubt myself next week, next year, a lifetime from now. But that shows the ability to recognize my faults and grow. If I truly had a bloated self-image, I’d destroy myself with my narrow view. The only thing I have in common with future Erica, at this time, is the fact that my world view is 360 degrees.

Concentrating on M&M of Restraint now.

Yes, I promised Warped before I took a hiatus from Blended and concentrated on M&M.

Yes, I am reneging.

Why?

#1: I’ve published nearly 1,800 pages of Blended in 2014. I think I’ve earned a pass.
#2: I tend to emulate my characters. Writing a Bipolar drug addicted police officer is not a small feat while maintaining your own level of sanity. As of late, I’ve been suffering with the manic portion of my character’s condition. I cannot concentrate on anything for longer than a few moments. To write, one must be able to sit for large amounts of time and be completely within their minds. I can only read the beginning of a book, and then I lose interest at this point. It’s like my mind has been invaded by a swarm of thoughts that just will NOT settle down into something conhesive.
#3: I’ve already written over 100,000 words of Warped. (Restraint is 97,000 in its current state). Warped will be nearly 1,000 pages in length if I write it while inspired, with patience, and without rushing. I want to enjoy what I write, but if I don’t, the readers will feel the emotions infusing the page.
#4: I promised myself I’d NEVER rush-write again, and that is a promise to myself I will never break. I wouldn’t be in this situation if I hadn’t wrote how I did earlier in my career. But I can call upon my ignorance. I. Am. NOT. Ignorant any longer. I have been wizened beyond my years through trial and error and shit writing.
#5: I’ve written well-over a million words since I began Restraint. I’m positive I’ve evolved in my craft, and M&M deserves better. The series deserves the level of writing I am currently at, not what is currently published, silently embarrassing me.
#6: we are coming up to the one-year anniversary to the release of Integrated, the last M&M book I published. If I were to take my time, making Warped as incredible as I believe it will be (hard-hitting, raw- gripping, and emotional), it would be nearing 2 years for the next M&M book. Some authors don’t write a 1000 pages in several years, and to expect me to crank it out in a few months without harsh consequences is madness.

#7: Erica needs a break. I’m drained. Tapped out. The muse is not amused, or inspired, or awake. I slept for hours last night, finally, realizing it’s been ages since I slept longer than 4 hours at a time. It isn’t healthy. It’s a delicate balance: creating books to sell to the masses, versus taking care of yourself. I write book that my fans are hungry to read, but I don’t have a lot of devoted fans in my niche writing. So it takes a LOT of releases to earn squat. But at what cost? My sanity? My health?

#7.5: see refusal to speed-write to crank out books to earn more money. I’d rather write a great book, the first time, and be proud of what I’ve given to the public, than to pad my bank account. I deserve more. The reader deserves more. But most importantly, the STORY deserves more.

#8: Sometimes I just can’t write anew. Sometimes I find immense joy in fixing what I’ve previously written, finding pride in making it better- more. Obviously this is obvious, since I can never leave well-enough alone. Which is why I’m going into Print books. Once in print, it’s permanent, a stopping point for my never-ending obsession with perfection.

#9: I don’t cater to the masses. My books are not for the mainstream. A notion I’m completely ditching during my M&M rewrite. Maybe if I wasn’t trying to straddle the line of normalcy versus how twisted my mind truly is, the readers would feel it, connect with the story, and want to share it with the world. So instead of trying to crank out books to sell more books to a handful of devotees, I’m going to try to write the best books to my ability, to my standards, and perhaps gain some more fans in the process. I think the payoff for all those involved will be greater.

#10: Restraint is getting refurbished: A new cover. A new blurb. A new price point. Both in print and in ebook form. It’s getting completely rewritten, restructured. Because if I demand more of myself as a writer, to write my flagship book to be one of the best books I’ve written, then I should not discount it. As with self-respect, you get what you project. If I give my own version of a masterpiece away for free, in hopes someone will one-click it, and may or may not ever even open it to read its contents, then I’m belittling my own work. If I want readers to know it’s worthy, then I’ll make sure they know its worth. I’m not saying I will never sale price the title, I’m promising it will never be FREE.

#11: I can give a way a lot of books for free or next to nothing, and they may or may not ever be read. But this avid reader/one-clicker/bookwhore, hardly ever reads the free books she collects, but one thing that is for damned sure: if I BUY it, I READ it. If I READ it, I REVIEW it.

#12: I’m pulling myself out of the rabbit hole. If I sell 10 books at the higher price point, it’s still worth more than giving away thousands of books no one will ever read. I will keep the Kindle Lending, Prime, and Unlimited. I will sale price my books for promotions. Books, just because they are offered in ebook form, does not make them any less valuable than one sitting upon the shelves. It still took the same amount of time to write, edit, buy the cover, pay the cover artist, pay Uncle Sam his cut, maintain an at-home office. If the writer is good, then the book will be better. The good writer with the better book shouldn’t have to lower their prices to compete with books of a lower caliber.

I’m not speaking of price gouging; I’m speaking of worth. To say Good Girl is only worth 99 cents is madness. To say when it’s in its print form it will be worth ten bucks just because of the paper it’s printed on is lunacy. It’s 700 pages of my blood, sweat, and tears, of ME on the pages, and to give it away for free, or to only get 30 cents BEFORE taxes per copy

Yes, anyone can type up a book and slap a price on it, but it takes money to be a writer and survive. It takes even more money to be a damned good writer and show it in your work. We’re all worth more. I’ve just finally figured that out.

#13: My plan, which is subject to change: All of M&M of Restraint, rewritten and republished in both print and ebook, with every book published thereafter as a permanent book. Only one try this time for the Wicked Writer. No more do-overs. I can’t survive it. I either respect and feel proud of the work I’m publishing, or it won’t be published. The first time. No rush-writing. No getting books out to have a new release and keep my links on ppl’s Twitter, Fb, and Goodreads feeds.

#14: Hero will be my next new release.

#15: My apologies, Blended Fans, but I released 4 Blended books, back-to-back, in less than nine months (1,800 pages). It’s The Mistress & Master of Restraint’s turn. But I will never go longer than 2 books per series without going back to the other. No more years of one series without giving a voice to the other.

#16: Blended is finite for a reason. It’s heavily outlined. I even know the final sentence of “THE END”. M&M could be infinite, as along as I have a palate cleanser, affording me the opportunity to give my muse room to grow and play.

17: When I catch up, or when the muse demands some space, you’ll be hearing from my pseudonym. The mystery and the suspense will be that I will NOT tell you who it is. I’ll wait, announce it, and let you all scour goodreads & Amazon until you figure it out. I call myself the Wicked Writer for a reason, and I will derive perverse pleasure as I watch you reason out who my other half is…

Wanton (Blended #2.5) is LIVE on Amazon

Wanton 1000

Orbiting one another’s lives, yet never intersecting, a clandestine meeting finally pushes Opal Fischer within Ginny Jamison’s path.

In the past, in the present, and in the future, both women make a major impact on the lives of the Blended Family. They worry more about their loved ones than themselves, pushing their needs and wants to the back-burner. They themselves are the only ones in their own path to true happiness, by holding onto the debilitating wounds of the past and refusing to let go of their visions of the future.

Opal’s lifelong adage: the sin isn’t in the wanting; it’s in the taking. Will Ginny be able to make Opal realize the sin is actually in the regret of never taking what you want, what you so rightfully deserve?

Wanton (Blended #2.5) is a full-length Contemporary Romance novel featuring the slowly budding relationship between two females. Warning: a glimpse into future Blended Series books, with sensually erotic scenes featuring f/f & f/f/m. Wanton is approximately 67,000 words in length.

AMAZON US

Goodreads

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