If At Birth You Don’t Succeed

It is so easy for us to suffer from self-pity. We run into a stumbling block, and feel like it’s the end of all that matters.

I am one of those people. I can’t open a jar, I drop something, can’t find what I’m looking for… I ask, out loud, why does everything have to be so hard? Mainly, it’s just the stress talking. But really, life is fairly easy for me. Even though I suffer from chronic pain from back issues, I am able bodied.

Sometimes, I just need that gentle reminder.

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I dragged my husband to Barnes & Noble and perused the store. When I saw this book, I had to pick it up. Turns out it was written by a comedian who was born with Cerebral Palsy (which he humorously refers to as the sexiest of all palsies.)

This guy turns every challenge into a funny story. From his short time with his own show he won in an Oprah contest, to literally shitting himself… it’s funny.

And he has such a great optimism in the face of what would probably destroy most. This book is wildly inspirational, yet amazingly entertaining. I can’t recommend this enough.

You can find the book at Amazon, B&N, and probably many other outlets.

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Clash of the Titans: #Amazon v. #Hatchett

First – I must warn you: This is one of the longest posts I’ve ever written.

Whoa. I get an email from Amazon then BAM! My email inbox fills up with my author friends all looking to each other for advice.

For those not in the know: The letter from Amazon straight to it’s authors asks us to argue on their behalf. More specifically, to let Hatchett know how we feel about their behavior and then CC Amazon. **facepalm** This is exactly what Hatchett is doing.

We have a bunch of A-List Hatchett authors speaking out publicly on behalf of their publisher. . . a publisher that has been caught red-handed colluding with the other major publishing houses to keep eBook prices high. What? For Real?  Yep – for real. To the tune of $166 Million in restitution. That’s right, what they did was so horrendous their penalty was in the amount of $166 MILLION. I can’t even wrap my head around that kinda dough.

And their authors sound like morons when they, themselves – the rich and famous – are defending Hatchett’s desire to keep the price of eBooks at $14.99 to $19.99. Let me educate you one damned minute…in most cases, these are as expensive or MORE expensive than print. And it costs roughly $5-7 (for a person like me, cheaper for a big house like Hatchett) to print an 80,000 word novel ….your average good sized novel. An eBook? Well, once it’s been edited, formatted and uploaded, the only cost is to Amazon. They must maintain the computing ability to store each and every eBook, distribute it and track sales for reporting to the authors, publishing houses etc.  Then they have to be certain that their reporting is accurate and that monthly distributions are going out on time and are 100% accurate. So the cost…is all on Amazon’s shoulders and Amazon is the one saying the prices should be lower. How in the hell does this make sense to argue against?

So again, we have rich and/or famous people defending the need to charge you more for the eBook with relatively zero cost to produce (in comparison). To the person who isn’t rich and famous, they sound like idiots. They sound like pompous assholes and they sound like they’ve been given a poorly written script by their publisher to defend their illegal activity while smearing Amazon. I’m silently protesting by not buying any books by Hatchett ever again. If I miss out on a great novel…well too bad. I’ll live with it. There is a sea of great books to read I don’t need yours. Thank you very much.

Amazon has IMHO taken the high road until now. Now they’re reaching out to the little guy – those of us who don’t get the same exposure as the very people they’re fighting against and asking ME to fight THEIR battle? They’re asking me to contribute to crashing Hatchett’s email server! Why? Why would I do that?

Amazon didn’t offer me anything for being an author; to thank me for staying self-published. I don’t get a pre-order button, an Amazon representative, more exposure now that I have more books published with them. They just said – Do this. Well, I don’t like being told what to do. And now, I have a conundrum. Do I want to do it anyway? I mean, if all the authors are hopping on this bandwagon, painting their faces blue and gold screaming about freedom as we right off to battle atop our horses, do I want to be stuck in this battle?

Nope. Plain and simple Amazon. I appreciate how easy you make it for me to sell my books on your platform. I appreciate the fair 70/30 split you give me. I appreciate having an Amazon Author Page so that people who are interested can see ALL of the books I’ve written and learn more about me. But give me the same tools you give the big guys if you want me to fight them. Stop letting people serial return books. Give me a pre-order button. Put my book next to a Hatchett Book or Random House etc. Because we’re not on a level playing field. It’s difficult for us to get to the point to sell our books – to reach new fans. Your marketing goes to the very people who tried to bully you. Yeah – fight your own damned battle. You have the means, the staff and the money. I’m no one’s monkey. I’m not a puppet. I don’t like feeling obligated to contact anyone.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate your position – I completely and totally support what you’re trying to do. But…leave me out of it. I’m not making enough money at this to even pay a mortgage or car payment. I implore you, do not do what Hatchett is doing. Do not ask your authors who are already overworked and underpaid to fight for you – to speak for you. I don’t want to look as stupid as Hatchett’s authors do at this point in time.

WTF Moment 253

One rule to writing fiction is the antagonist / protagonist relationship.  We keep tormenting our protagonist with our antagonist until we think the main character will snap, then they either overcome or fail.  We writers do dark and twisted things to our characters.  But I must tell you, life is stranger than fiction.

I don’t watch the VMAs, mostly because they don’t celebrate anything I consider to be music.  Hey, I just saw Black Sabbath live.  But I saw all the hum about Miley Cyrus online, so I decided to pull it up and see for myself what everyone was losing their mind over.

For the love of… WTF was that?  It was worse than a train wreck.  Parts of her performance seemed like it was geared to be an infomercial for pedophiles.  As a mother, I can only assume that Billy Ray is now on the maximum dose of Xanax allowed, scratching his head, wondering where he went wrong.

There are so many factors to this eye bleeding performance that just disturb me… My first question, did she go to the dentist and get over-novocained?  The girl’s tongue was out of her mouth more than it was in… and the crotch grabs???  The two-sizes too small rubber panties can be chalked up as wardrobe malfunction but this girl bent over and sang into a large woman’s derrière.miley-cyrus-2013-vma-tongue-out-1024x573

At this point, I was just flat out confused, so I began looking for a spoon to dig out my eyes.

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I only watched for a few moments more as this poor misguided child cavorted around in her “teddy” costume, dancing with women wearing enormous bears on their backs.  Miley grinding on Alan, her foam finger and when that wasn’t good enough, she sexually assaulted one of the band members.  Okay, that might be pushing it, but you get my drift.CS46651666NEW-YORK-NY-AUG-2223063

Dammit!  I know really talented musicians who are struggling to make it and THIS is what people are paying to see?miley

It’s not that I’ve never seen a woman act this way before, but they’re usually drunk at a club trying to get laid.

Then, my heart stopped.  I have a sixteen year old daughter… and all I wanted to do was force her to watch it and pray it disturbed her just as much.  I wanted to tell her that her body and her sexuality were something to be cherished, not paraded around like a side show.  I wanted to tell her that her Daddy loves her and she doesn’t need that sort of attention.  I wanted to warn her about the sanctity of her reputation.

Much to my pleasure relief, she watched it and said, “Oh my God, what mess.”

The internet is full of stories every day that make my heart jump.  We have everything from wars starting to Ben Affleck as our next Superman.  But this… this is what’s disturbed me the most.  Maybe it’s because I’m a mother of a teen, the wife to a musician or hell, just because I’m a woman.  But this pattern of behavior has been repeated over and over again.  I make the bold prediction that she winds up in rehab, totally distraught that her attempts at shocking the world were successful.

I’m finding it difficult not to lose my faith in humanity.

No Apologies!

What does it mean to be an author?

Writing is a solitary existence.  You sit alone for hours pounding out as many well-crafted words as you can.  Then you toil over plot, prose, character development and tone.  If that’s not enough, there’s rounds and rounds of edits before you even send your novel out to beta readers.  You will have to write and publish numerous novels to start making real dough.

Research First

As an author, I spent years online reading the blogs of those who made it work, such as Joe Konrath.  The man makes a truck load of money on his books.  It wasn’t overnight and it took a bunch of work, I mean a bunch.  Read his blog archive if you think I’m joking.  This guy hit the pavement and just did not take “no” for an answer.

I’ve followed Social Media expert, Kristen Lamb.  Not only is she very real, she’s super helpful and friendly.  I happen to also enjoy her sense of humor and deep affection for Star Wars.

But I digress; these are two examples of people I’ve followed.  The list is long.  One commonality of these folks is that they serve the reader.  Another likeness that appeals to me, is their willingness to share their personal stories (at least with regards to writing) and the struggles it took for them to reach their success.  Mr. Konrath doesn’t mind telling you he starved for a while.  The wonderful Ms. Lamb doesn’t mind telling you her family thought she was cuckoo for leaving her professional career to dive in as a writer.

Be Who You Are

I am who I am.  I drink sometimes.  I smoke, though I wish I didn’t.  I use foul language at times.  My stories nearly always contain violence and sex.  It isn’t for everyone, and that much I understand.  I don’t expect those folks to purchase my books.  I remember reading somewhere that authors put a bit of themselves in characters and that much I believe, I’ve done it myself, even when I didn’t realize it.

But part of being who you are, is understanding who you are.  Don’t apologize for it!

I never have, nor will I ever, apologize for who I am.  Several events in my life have aided in forming who I am today.  I’ve always been one of those people who is very accepting.  I keep it simple: as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you’re okay by me!

But there are those fanatics and nuts who will judge you.  They won’t like how you represented this or that subject matter.  They will say things about you that are not nice.

But this business demands thick skin.  If you don’t have it, bow out gracefully.  My skin is thick.  It’s not that words don’t hurt me, because they do.  I often times will go over something someone has said that was negative and see if I can find a positive aspect.

But I am who I am.  “I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more, is none.” ~Shakespeare

No Apologies

I’m not advising you to run around and be a douche.  Purposefully damaging others who’ve not harmed you is just plain nonsense.  As an author, we must try to maintain a certain amount of professionalism.  But for Christ’s sake, do not apologize.  Be loud, be proud, be you.

Review / Interview with Laura Cooper

After reading 50 Shades of Garbage, I decided to seek out a good adult novel.  I’d never really been into reading mommy porn, but I could see the lure 50 Shades had on folks.

While perusing through what was available and downloading several freebies, I ran across Author Laura Cooper.  Both she and her husband write in the erotica genre.  Laura decided to grant me an interview as well.

Laura’s book, SEMPER FI, was such a good read I couldn’t stop until I finished.  Her characters were likeable, relatable and she writes very good steamy scenes.  I found myself hot under the collar a few times.  I highly recommend diving into what Laura has to offer in this genre.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.

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Please help me welcome Author Laura Cooper.

Laura:  Thank you!  It’s a pleasure being here with you.

Kim:  The pleasure is all mine.  So tell my readers a bit more about you.

Laura:  I’m a stay at home mom who has just gotten our last child out of the house and off to college.  For the first time it has allowed my husband and I an opportunity to enjoy the peace and solitude of an empty house.  No more crazy kids bolting through our locked bedroom door with every kind of emergency known to man.

Kim:  So how did you go about writing erotica for the first time?  What made you pursue the genre?

Laura:  I was sitting around reading on my new Nook in January of 2011.  I mentioned to my husband that the best thing about it was that I could read anything I wanted and no one would know.  So, I downloaded an erotic book and it gave him the idea to write one himself.  I thought he was nuts.  In fact, I was a little mad when he wrote and published his first book.  But as the series took off, I thought, “why not?”

Kim:  I noticed that both you and your husband write erotica.  Does that help the heat at home?

Laura:  We’ve always had sort of a special relationship.  We are a blended family (children from previous relationships), and so when we met we sort of dispensed with the usual “getting to know you” crap and just sort of let it all hang out.  We are very open and honest about our feelings and desires, and quite frankly that has brought us closer as a couple.  So our “Heat,” has always been set pretty high!

Kim: Tell us about SEMPER FI.

Laura:  We were sitting around watching Fox News when Sandy hit the north east.  Being from South Carolina, we are no strangers to hurricanes.  I made a comment that without power and television, they’d probably have a lot of babies born in about 9 months.  It got me thinking about being stuck in a storm, or stuck in an airport, or something like that.  Perhaps even a sexy public scene would be cool.  Also, my husband is a former Marine, so I based his character sort of on him.  So, I sat down and started free writing, and voila!

Kim:  I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing out loud when I read parts of your book.  I really didn’t expect that in an erotica novel.

Laura:  Well, I find humor in so many things we do on a daily basis, so why not include it.  Some of the stuff just seems funny to me.  Perhaps it’s my warped sense of humor that makes it through in my writing.

Kim:  How many books do you have out?  Where can we find them?

Laura:  We have something like 38, 39 or so.  We probably have about 75 that are sitting around on our computers.  We are just sort of slow at putting them out.

Kim:  Thank you for your time Laura.  I really enjoyed your book.  Where can others buy it?

We are published on Smashwords, All Romance Ebooks, Ibookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Diesel, Sony Reader, and probably some others that I’m not aware of.  Stop by my blog http://laurabcooper.blogspot.com or email me at lbcooper123@gmail.com for more information!