This is an odd posting, but in light of The Hunter premise, recent activity on my fan page, and my feelings as I write Integrated, I felt the need to get something off of my chest. I’m sure I will piss some readers off, and perhaps spoil some shit. You can dissect my words for clues on Integrated and so forth. But this is simply in defense of Katya Waters.
As I’ve interacted with readers and read reviews… People HATE Katya’s f’ing guts. It’s an everyday occurrence that I get an ‘I hate Katya’ from someone on my various pages. I’ve had actual death-threat emails over this, I shit you not. Katya is a fictitious character… ya know. I mean, kill her? Yes, death-threats. *smh*
It’s an interesting dynamic for me. I’m not trying to sway your feelings over the character. I actually want to know your view, because it helps me with character development in the future. I’m curious to see where I went wrong, or if it is simply a case of we see ‘this character‘ with ‘this character‘ and will accept nothing less.
It’s a phenomenon in psychology, how we gloss over the huge shit going on but pick on a character that has blended into the background as we hear about her through a tainted lens.
At first, I was waiting for someone, anyone, to stand up for Katya… when readers kept hating on her, I kept making it more obvious… and still… nothing. No one said, “Help Katya. This isn’t right. Why are you doing this?” Since I am a maniacal bitch, I started bashing Katya through the narration of other characters just to see if anyone would say anything.
You are aware that Katya is Ezra’s WIFE, right? No? Because we don’t seem to care that Ezra has NEVER acted like a husband…
My stories have STRONG females. Females who believe in empowerment and are borderline cock haters. A few are huge feminists. The readers love Faith and Regina. LOVE. & this pleases me to no end. I’m proud to make inspiring characters…
BUT, and yes, this is a huge but, it’s okay for said strong females spouting empowerment to bully Katya- both of the favorites do. They bully Katya for actions out of her control. & I had Faith say some nasty shit about a Tonka truck… and ya know what? That wasn’t even about Katya, that was about EZRA & CORTEZ… yes, that’s right. It was the disrespect they showed Katya. But, nope, the readers blamed Kat. And while written with a humorous twist, it was rather gross of Faith to think those thoughts about Katya and not blame the men. Again, no one noticed, or Faith was applauded for being nasty.
For me, it just shows how women think and behave. No matter what, we pit ourselves against one another. We won’t stick up for each other. But we will fight over a cock, even a worthless and faithless cock. Time and time again, I made it to where Regina and Faith could have stepped in and rescued Kat, but I didn’t have them do it to show how women do not stick up for each other…
I wrote the story this way for a reason. It was on design for what is to come. I’m known for cerebral fuckage. But I was astonished by the hate-on the readers had for Katya, how they felt no compassion towards her but felt it for her abusers and bullies.
It’s interesting. Lends to the blame the victim mentality. By no means should behaviors be forgiven because you were once a victim. But what about those victimizers that are so nonredeemable but we seem to love them anyway…
I just really feel the need to defend my creation. I just don’t see where this anger is coming from- this hypocrisy… and as I continue to write a story that Katya hovers around, I’m left feeling frustrated. Yes, I wrote it this way. It’s the readers’ perceptions that are baffling me…
I mean, it’s not like Kat is a whore, a murderer, a serial rapist, a criminal, a drug lord… that’s all good, right? I mean. we can just forgive that shit, right?
Kat’s only crime is that she wants to be the best at her profession instead of staying at home with the kids.. It’s the only thing Kat has any control over, and even then, it’s only perceived control. I’ve heard the mother complaints from a lot from readers. I’m a huge advocate for stay-at-home moms, I was raised by one. We are all different. Some ppl are not meant to be mommies. Neither is better than the other, it’s just lifestyle choices… choices written in a series about alternative lifestyles, I might add. Ironically, what’s perfectly fine for the beloved women in my series isn’t for Katya. Think on that for a moment… …. …. okay, Regina and Faith have careers. I actually did that to see if anyone would bitch, but they never did. Just about Katya.
Kat has sex. OMG! Yes, why, yes, she does… It’s dark erotica… aren’t they all fucking someone? But Katya isn’t banging husbands behind their wives’ backs… that’s okay for the beloved characters to betray Katya with Ezra, though, right? & the readers don’t even blame Ezra or Regina. That’s perfectly acceptable behavior… if your name isn’t Katya.
But Kat is dog shit because she doesn’t want to be humiliated and disrespected by the very women that spout empowerment and feminism? Everyone is huge Regina and Faith fans. While I love and respect my creations, I love them equally, and I made them equally as flawed as they are good.
This is something I’ve been examining for well over a year, and when I went back to fix Restraint & Unleashed… I was like, “wow. I never noticed that before.” I just want to give Katya a fucking hug.
& yes, this is raw in my mind because I wrote a 6,000 word chapter today on this very subject within Integrated. & I could list the merits of Katya Waters vs her bullies or copy/paste segments of what I’d written. But I won’t because I don’t want to taint your view of the books. I go into great depth with this, and I could now. But if you don’t realize Katya’s motivations right now, I’d rather you just read about it in Integrated.
I hope when you read Integrated that you regain your compassion and actually see things clearly. if not, I tried my damnedest through 6,000 words of my character bleeding out…
Katya is my stalking horse… You guys might not love Kat, but she is my creation… my very first creation… and more than 75% of her personality traits, physical characteristics, and even the town she lived in and the life she had led… was all me. I’ve used her to express how I’ve felt: violated, trapped, confused, lost, alone, trapped, scared, and tortured. Kat has been living how I lived, in a much more fanatical way, obviously. Right now, she is lost and trapped, and stepped on…I’ve been there- we all have. That is what is baffling me- the lack of empathy and compassion as we praise the victimizer and blame the victim… just step back and truly think on this. Your feelings of all the characters and why.
I use Katya as an example of life. We all overlook what the cocks do… and we will take sides with the vaginas, even if it’s the wrong side. But there is always one person that we hate for no fucking reason at all. Think about it… it’s true in all walks of life, every part of the world, and in every age group… and for some fucked up reason, just among the vaginas.
Interesting… as I said, never forget, I write by perception. One person’s lens may be tainted because they aren’t in the other character’s head. And everything I write is for a reason- and most likely, a psychological reason.
Please, feel free to tell me your thoughts. It’s why I wrote this. Join us in the M&M of Restraint Closed group on Facebook or email me: email@example.com
Lady Smut was kind enough to offer me a Q&A. My first (heart flutters).
How about a backstory, since I’m a wordy kind of girly. & a bunch of rambling (you should expect that from me by now)
I have worked nonstop for the past nine months. I don’t mean a job where you can leave your work at the office. I’m talking of every moment of you life is centered on one thing- the story. My imagination was playing out constantly: awake, asleep, during a movie, and while reading a book. My characters just wouldn’t shut the hell up. I could be holding a conversation, but my creations were loudest.
I liken being a writer to being crazy. I have countless characters chatting it up inside my head at any given moment. Sometimes they overlap from one series to the next. The majority are respectful and fade to the shadows, so the spotlight may fall upon the ones being brought to life. There isn’t much a writer can do to shut off the insanity.
Two forms of relief: Writing, spilling the words from my fingertips until my hands cramp and my eyes sting. The ache, the sleeplessness, and the hunger for sustenance & human communication scream from your well-being. Reading, I read as relief. It is a balm to my tattered mind. I immerse myself in the imagination of another. It recharges the creative process and allows new words to flow. I’m able to quiet the voice in my mind while reading a book.
5 book releases in one month’s time- almost 500k words. The writing, editing, publishing, promoting, hops & giveaways smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years. I’d just pressed publish on Good Girl. I promised myself a few weeks to recharge. I spent a day watching endless amounts of television. I couldn’t concentrate. 3 characters were spinning threads of stories and weaving them into plot outlines. It was insanity. I grabbed my cell and headed for a bubble bath. Hot sudsy water and a Kindle app here I come…. I was immersed, chaotic voices long forgotten- BAM! You’ve got to be freakin’ kidding me!! Seriously? Book 10? 15? in the DNF pile.
By the time I’d dried off and growled my way back to my laptop, a blog post had formed inside my head. I was pissed. The posting was an outlet, a release of all the shit I was filled with. It wasn’t even the book’s fault, but I used it as my target. Saccharine Romances: why I find them annoyingly frustrating was created for comedic relief. I was quoting parts to my mom as I wrote it. She may have rolled her eyes at me and she looked vaguely confused.
I’d unleashed the bitch I keep firmly in check. She has the propensity to be sarcastic- people either love her or hate her, & no one understands her. Her name is Erica-Monster (Good Girl readers will understand) She slipped her leash.
When I was finished, I felt better… a lot better. I knew that I would piss off just as many as I entertained. It wasn’t about the readers, it was about me. A lot of people read it- a surprising number, in fact. Which meant I’d entertained and rubbed a wide variety of people the wrong way. I’ve heard from both. Ugh… that was a stressful day. I received some pats on the back, a few nasty comments, and I’d hurt a person’s feelings (I apologized & I still feel badly about that. The monster didn’t mean to, she is a nice person, just misunderstood like an alpha male). I was a mess- stressed the F*ck out with a capital F!
Highlight of the stress: ladysmut.com offered me a Q&A. Awesome sauce. I was a bit stressed out on that, too. I mean, I couldn’t very well let her slip her leash again. She might offend a large section of the populous. I let her out a tiny bit…
Madeline Iva did a beautiful job creating a flowing conversation with the Q&A. I’d love to personally thank her for the posting. If you’d like to read it, head over to ladysmut.com
Did I get that two week recharge? Nope. Nope, I sure didn’t. In the 8 days since Good Girl’s release, Widow is well on its way to being a book. 48,000 words written (14 chapters) from the dual perspectives of Clover and Malcolm. With my lovely sister’s help, it even has a final cover. & to prove that I am not a cold-hearted Erica-Monster, Widow is a HEA book for the main protagonists. It was planned all along since my characters are nearing mid-life and they’ve lived their trials though their backstory. Hopefully readers will see the softer side of me.
Widow’s first draft is nowhere near completion. I predict a March release. My target length is 120-150k since this is the only book those character will voice.
On a happy note: I’m rereading the BDB- the WARDen (Bathtub time) for a read-along with my buds at Wicked Reads on Goodreads. I’m skimming like a little bitch since it’s my 7th or 8th time thru, but I’m enjoying the comfort of repetition. I’m also watching season 6 of Dexter. That show makes me tuck the laptop away and I get sucked into the television. How that man goes from geek to badass in a heartbeat is beyond me. Amazing actor- amazing. I’m also arranging a huge giveaway on FB for Valentines Day. Vampire Valentines that Bite! Wicked Reads (Amber & I) is pooling all the vampire related swag and a few items I’m picking up for the lovey dovey day and posting a pic. Just click like on the pic and post a comment to be entered. I should have the picture up on February 7th (Waiting on a shipment from FL-PA of the swag) Be on the lookout!
Off to write Widow… & rub the crap outta my aching hands!
~Happy Wicked Reading~
Today is the one year anniversary of Wicked Reads creation. I’m kind of proud of that. This past year has brought on a profound change in my life, and not only that, but a different way of thinking. The small step of creating a book review site showed me that I could accomplish a lot in small time frame… and I went with it. In one year’s time I created and sustained 2 blogs, twitter, 2 Facebook groups, 2 Facebook pages, a Facebook personal page, a Goodreads author page, a Goodreads group- hell, I even became a Goodreads librarian! In that time frame I wrote and published 8 books with several others near completion and ready for publishing. By all accounts I should be exhausted, but I’m invigorated and ready to make 2013 an even more prosperous year!
I couldn’t have done a fraction of any of that without the support and understanding of my parents. A writer can be testy when drawn away from its muse. The muse claws your mind to shreds when it’s ignored, so I’m thankful that my parents leave me alone in my imagination. The only way to pacify the muse is to tap on my keyboard and create its story. Another thanks goes out to all these amazing ladies who grace my life through the internet. I can’t thank my Betas and fellow authors enough for a shoulder to cry on and a ear to vent into. & my Wicked Readers who read my books and take the time out of their day to let me know what they think of my stories- it motivates me to continue.
This posting isn’t a suck my ass fest… I want to say Happy Birthday to my baby, Wicked Reads, & let you all know I’m going off the grid. This evening I’m starting on Good Girl Rewrites and Edits. I will be ghosting about, but for the most part I’m avoiding the addictive nature of the internet. It is amazing how a simple check of my email can evolve into 3 hours of surfing, chatting, and posting. As entertaining as that may be, it’s a HUGE progress killer. So I’m avoiding it at all costs- or trying at least. I’ll be back when Good Girl is completed.
After Good Girl I have no idea where I will go from there. I’m hoping my muse will let me know like she does everything else. I apologize for the Good Girl delay, but Willow wasn’t ready for her story to be told. The muse demanded that I change the majority of the manuscript and nearly double it in length. The only thing I know is that the muse will have a pick between 3 books as my next work-in-progress. KING- Daniel Whittenhower II, aka Whitt, Mistress & Master of Restraint #8. Widow- Clover’s story, Playroom #2. Chrysalis, Lilies #1 (over 100k that needs completely revamped). Each of those projects sounds daunting to me at the moment. Widow being the least difficult. Chrysalis is an Urban Fantasy novel that has sat for almost a year. KING will be the most difficult for me. It is the turning-point in the M&M of Restraint series and its foundation will hold the rest of the series. Restraint wasn’t strong enough to sustain the weight of 20 or so books, but KING will have to be. As much as I’d love to give fans our Gentleman’s book, I don’t want to rush it and ruin my series. I have a feeling I will be working on KING in between other works and I’m scared to say… it may take a long time.
What I’ve been doing to de-stress- Reading, reading, and more reading. I’ve read a hellacious amount of books lately- 50 or so in the past 5 weeks. The majority I named ‘slit your wrists reads’. Finally I went back to the comfort of a good reread. If you’d like to know what I’ve been reading visit my Goodreads page and check out my shelves. If you’d like to add me as a bud or follow me, I’d be happy for that as well. I may be a writer, but I’m a book junkie first and foremost. My love of reading makes me a better writer. Visit the Contact Erica Chilson tab for information on all my wicked reading sites!
Before I get to rewriting Good Girl I have a hobby to feed first. I visited my sister over the weekend (you can thank Annette for all the covers that grace my books) She showed my mom and me lampwork glass beads and how to create bracelets with them. I have 3 craft stores to hit this afternoon for some more goodies. I’ll post some pics later on of our creations. So far the pink/black/sliver combo and the teal/turquoise combo are my favorites!
What I didn’t get to do on my hiatus is watching up my tv shows. After Good Girl I will have an abundance of shows to watch- I already have 8 episodes of the Vampire Diaries. But a few shows will not wait for my muse. I’ll tell her to shut up while I watch Revenge- and I’m squee-ing like a fangirl- The Lying Game and Pretty Little Liars returns tonight *YAAAAAYYYYYY* Since Revolution is on Hiatus I’ll have time to get some work done. I watch that show live vs dvr-ing it for later.
I have an epic playlist to create to drown out the world around me as I write. Willow (Good Girl) is a awkward kind of girl. I’ll experiment to find out what she likes the best.
~Happy Wicked Reading~
Authors behaving badly & the Bubble
I will most definitely step on a few toes with my views and I won’t apologize for it. You are more than welcome to have an open dialogue with me and we can change each others minds. Note: These are my opinions and mine alone. I will gladly add to this document the views of other members. What works for one person will not for another; a wide spectrum of views is beneficial.
Writing is a passion. It is a way of life for me. it is not a get-rich-quick scheme. It is an art-form and the phrase Starving Artist is highly accurate. I have a different view on what this phrase means. I’d rather starve than do anything else. And the other holds true as well; you will NOT become successful unless you work hard.
New Authors and aspiring Authors have a skewed view on the industry. The opinion is split down the middle: That an Indie Author can’t make a living off their royalties and a successful Author is rich. Yes, a few people get ahead by pure luck, but the majority don’t. You need to work for every penny you earn.
Some new Authors live in a bubble with other newbies and it stunts their growth. It is a trap and one that is nearly impossible to get out of once ensnared. They see minimal sales and fellow authors pat them on the back and this “Atta Boy,” is to their ruination. NO, it’s not good enough. It should never be good enough. I want to surround myself with Authors more successful than myself so I have something to strive for- to reach. The newbie bubble makes everyone complacent and they don’t rise up because they feel good with those false pats on the back.
My advice to the new Author *by the way, I still place myself in this category* WRITE! WRITE constantly. The only way to get ahead is by working your craft and growing, learning, educating yourself, and producing a product. You will only make money if you have a product to sell and a steady flow of said product.
The newbie bubble creates monsters who behave badly on many fronts. They scheme on ways to make money instead of creating a product. They work in collaboration while crawling on each others backs trying to get ahead. The only thing this accomplishes is pushing the Author you’re climbing on into the mud. And the one on their back pushes the lot of them deeper into the mud. Once there, you are officially trapped into that way of thinking.
In the beginning they give each other glowing reviews and it makes them feel invincible, which leads to this horrible behavior- review slamming. The afterglow dims once you receive a real review from a paying reader. The review may or may not be warranted, but the Author attacks the reviewer and it turns nasty and all Authors get a bad name from the atrocious behavior. My policy: I never respond to a reviewer no matter how strongly I want to. I grit my teeth and deal and move on. If it was constructive, I learn from it and adapt.
Spamming is a huge issue with me and I draw from my information from being a page owner of a review blog and site. I do not spam. I am not against posting links on pages and your own sites as spam as long as it as in moderation. Bi-weekly or less I believe is acceptable. I remove anything on Wicked Reads if I receive it more often that. There is a reason behind this. A reader will see the link so often that they won’t even see it anymore. The eye just roves over and catches what is new. It is subconscious. I won’t allow spam on my page since it runs my fans off and I lose likes and viewers. This leads to another bad behavior, disrespecting the page administrators by viewing them as your minion. If you give them swag, you do not own them. They pass the swag off to readers that benefit the Author, not the page. Pages are run out of love and dedication to the written word. Do NOT take advantage of them or disrespect them. Follow their rules, participate in their giveaways, and interact with their fans and your sales WILL grow. It is a harmonious cycle that everyone benefits from- Author/Page/Reader. Just because you published a work doesn’t make you entitled to use their services.
Reviews: Giving a free copy of your book is par for the course to obtain reviews in the beginning of your career and for each new release. This is my advice as a reviewer. Reviewing is stressful. Yes, the author gave them a free copy, but their review pays 10x over the cost of the free copy. You are not buying a review, so do not expect a glowing review. I nearly quit reviewing from the stress Authors put me under when I said I didn’t like it. I was concise with my reasoning, usually stating that it was a matter of taste, or I was explicit in what I found lacking. I never attacked the Author. It is bad behavior to attack the reviewer or even try to defend yourself against the review. It has given all Authors bad press as of late. A reviewer is entitled to their opinion and that is exactly what a review is- opinion. As a reader who loves to read reviews, I’ve often read the low reviews or ranting reviews and read the book because of them. They forced my hand for a sale for the Author. They stated things that I enjoy or look for. A bad review isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Use the advice contained within if it is constructive. However, if you have a thin skin, avoid the reviews. Why stress yourself out and behave badly, which breeds more stress.
I will NOT pay for reviews. I will NOT engage in blog tours that are geared toward guaranteed positive reviews where you pay for the service for X amount of blogs and X amount of reviews. I find this unethical. As a reader, I don’t like knowing that the review are bought and paid. I feel scammed. I won’t do that to my readers. I want a group of fans that understand me and look forward to my books and I don’t want to do that through schemes. Paying is the mentality of the BUBBLE. If you work hard and push your product to its target audience you will get a true following. If it is good, you wouldn’t need to pay for it in the first place.
Authors giving Authors a helping hand or a leg up.
This is wonderful, but it leads to expectations and entitlement that isn’t warranted. Bloghops, posting links on personal/author/fan pages, and on blogs for your nearest and dearest, fellow Authors is an amazing, rewarding experience that leads to sales. <— When it’s beneficial to you or you believe in the work of the Author, otherwise it is total chaos. Bubble Authors think we all are one big, happy family and they want you to do…do…do for them with nothing in return. And you may not even find their product a good product. We all need help. I’d prefer to do as this group was formed to do, give and take advice and information to get ahead. We don’t have to be friends; we are colleagues. If you hold a day job, are your coworkers your best buds? No? Exactly. Another issue with the bubble is the bubble itself- you post, spam, promote within the bubble because the bubble only has those within the bubble. How would you get ahead trapped within? You don’t!
My product will sell my product. As you hone your craft, your product will become more valuable. A strong bond with Authors that are in your genre is more valuable then being trapped in a bubble with thousands of authors. Think of it as American Idol or Survivor. The bubble is cut-throat and vicious in a passive-aggressive sort of way. How do I know about the bubble? I was draw to it like a moth to flame with its promises of warmth and comfort from the storm. I was snapped at a few times for my opinions and small successes. I quickly realized I didn’t have the mentality for the bubble. My sub-genre is dependent on one canon- Respect. I found no respect in the bubble and I crawled out because I couldn’t respect myself if I stayed in that false warmth with the “atta boys,” good reviews, and link sharing. I wanted to EARN it!
The ridiculous nature of the Bubble if put into a different context. Writing is an art-form. Imagine we are no longer speaking of words on a page, but rather, brush strokes on a canvas. Would it behoove an Artist to live within a bubble? Do artists sell only to other artists or do they sell to art lovers? When another artist sells a painting for more money do they run up to the canvas with a knife and slash? Do they add their own strokes to increase the integrity of the painting? They may share techniques and mentors, but they never elevate one another. Their art sells their art. They paint because they must. Painting for them is their life and they spend their life perfecting it.
Authors need other Authors for advice. We are all at different points in the game. Whether you are an aspiring Author or a seasoned author of countless books, we all need advice. Author Central is a place to ask questions, give advice, obtain information, or simply commiserate with those who truly know what you are going through.
I would love to welcome anyone who writes to join us, no matter if you are a newbie or an expert- short stories- to epic novels- non-fiction – fiction.
Sarina Asheford and I wanted a place to ask questions, give advice, and to discuss our craft that wasn’t inundated with Authors pushing their work. Author Central is a new group (Its birth was 10/8/12) and is growing. Current advice is listed in the file section of the group.
I will list a few of the files so that you may see if the discussions appeal to your needs and if Author Central is the right Group for you.