February 28, 2011

Writing... Writing... Writing Some More

February seems to have sailed on by! When I look back on the month I can scarcely believe it's real. I find out some health developments earlier in the month (no need to bore you with the details again), my first erotica novella releases, and I furiously write fast to get the next one out.

Sales on Johnny Living Dangerously have been going pretty good so far, I sold over 300 and it hasn't hit one month yet. It's creeping up the ranks slowly and I certainly can't complain.  Do I wish for more sales? Well, duh, who wouldn't? And at a profit of 30 and 40 cents per copy, I'm not rolling in cash by any means. Hopefully, it will come with time.

A very good friend of mine, M.K. Elliott, who publishes under Red Hot Publishing, hit the bestseller status in the erotica category for her first ever released collection of short stories, titled Rescued. The success came at the perfect time for her -- writing for 12 years and published in other genres under a different name -- and I'm thrilled beyond belief for her. A little green-eyed at times, but hey, I'm only human.

Her success has inspired the whole team of erotica authors I work with. We all can't help but hope for the same type of luck to be bestowed on one of our works. I don't mean to imply she is lucky it sold, but rather lucky it hit the right chord at the right time and with no marketing plan or advertising that she was able to achieve such terrific heights.

Her cover is nice, but I'm a little biased since I designed it ;-) She's got another collection out on a different theme and it's doing gangbusters, too. Things have lined up for the first member of the team and I know the rest of us have similar stories for us in our future.

Taking my next novella in a slightly darker direction, I tried my hand at a light bondage theme. I didn't want it to ever be icky or scary, so I wrote what I felt would be a fun and safe walk on the wild side. After all, sex is about consenting adults and I never really grasped the whole humiliation and degradation angle some writers work in to bondage and discipline. No offense if that floats your boat, but it has a edge I'm uncomfortable writing.

My medical massage therapist suggested a really dark angle with blood and knives I just said "Ewww!!" He's an ex-federal law enforcement dude and he's seen a lot of odd things in his former career, but I told him if it creeped me out and turned my stomach I didn't care if there was a market for it, I wouldn't write it.

More Than Tolerable is a novella I'm really pleased with. I'm hoping it does even better than JLD, but we'll just have to see.

Next, I plan on doing a series of short stories based on a military hero theme. I've been talking over ideas and specifics and plan to file the paperwork today to register the series name as Patriotica.

With all the writing I've been doing lately, a reader or peer may wonder when in the hell I plan on getting back to The Hunt. This coming month. I plan on focusing certain days of the week on different projects in the hopes of finding a schedule that works for me and enables me to get the shorter works out faster.

Aside from all my writing updates, today is a special day for members of my family. Today is Eric's, my deceased nephew, birthday. He would have been 22. His death last April is still a shock and hard to wrap the mind around. I've occasionally stopped by his Facebook wall and his friends and some family members use it like a memorial to him, which kind of freaks me out. Peter and I had a discussion about an article he read from a sociological perspective regarding how social networking can help or hinder in the grieving process.

This younger generation has embraced so much of revealing themselves in public that they don't often stop to think if they should. I don't doubt they feel pain, I don't doubt they miss Eric. I know because I do, too. But is it helping them or hurting them by posting this grief in public?

One could argue that anything that eases the pain of a loved one passing might be a good thing, but the mental health argument is the flower memorials on the side of roads, the public declarations of emotional grief, the heartfelt social networking notes that appear to be voiced to the deceased, and general airing of heartache to total strangers are not healthy -- they extend the grieving process by constantly bringing the loss up, and not allowing the soul to heal.

Part of losing someone involves acceptance, but never forgetting. I'm not sure the social networking aspect is a bad idea, but I'm not so sure it's great either. If the idea is to communicate with the deceased, can't that be done in your thoughts or voicing the words aloud? It works for me. I hold Eric in my heart and I think about him a lot.

Why spread heartache on the deceased's facebook wall for others to see? Is it to get "credit" for your grief? Attention of some sort? If you want to reach out because you need help, reach out to a friend or go to a professional.

Maybe it's my own grief rearing it's ugly head, but I just don't understand the public notices. Private thoughts and feelings should be private. If one feels the need to pour out such pain for the world to see then I think it is a cry for help and should not be ignored by their loved ones.

There is only one thing I truly regret with Eric's passing. I regret I did not stand up and speak at his service. I regret that the last words his family, friends, and unit from Iraq had to hear were from a man who sprinkled so much "me" and "I" in his eulogy it became an insult to those of us listening. The man didn't know Eric. Had never met him. And I regret not speaking up. I was afraid.

I was afraid it would be presumptuous of me to speak out when his parents suffered more loss than I. Or for me to speak up when his own brothers would have so much more to add. His best friend told the family he would speak and I never voiced my desire to speak because I did not want to over shadow him or for it to become a cry fest with both of us speaking. But in the end, the young man was unable to do it, his own grief overwhelming him so.

We all have regrets in life, and this one is mine. To let such a noble young man pass without proper words spoken just tears me up inside. My push to make sure I get The Hunt done on time will be for Eric. The character he and I discussed that will bear his name plays a small role in this second book and will become a larger character in book three.

I've had one hell of a year, but if there was anything that could be erased or changed, I would not wish it for myself or my health, I would wish it for the sober young man on a motorcycle in broad daylight going the speed limit, whom a pickup truck driver just didn't see.


Anonymous said...

C.J., Regret is the hardest thing to overcome. The 'woulda, coulda, shoulda' can consume a person or at least take away from their day or moment of their day. People tend find a source of regret like the loss is not enough. This is speaking with experience from someone who always sees the 'silver lining'. So here is my 'silver lining' to you, way to go for honoring your nephew by dedicating a character's name to him and driving the book forward to meet your deadline. To have his spirit permanently placed within the pages of your books to share with others is huge. It is a forever 'memorial' to him. Pretty cool:0) Way to go, C.J. I have enjoyed watching your journey and look forward to reading The Hunt!

Trina Soria

C.J. Ellisson said...

Thanks for the wise words and reaching out, Trina. It's bittersweet to write about the character's future exploits in my pages. It keeps my nephew forever alive in my mind and in my heart and I'm going to enjoy weaving parts of his personality into the fictional character.

I only admitted to myself recently that his loss and covering anything even remotely related to him in this second book has been what has slowed me down in writing it.

Gabriella Hewitt said...

Congrats on your sales! It truly is an accomplishment. Never worry about being green eyed. Although right now I am showing a bit of green with you;)

Sorry to hear about your nephew. I wonder much the same as you if we really do greive the same way anymore. In a few weeks will be my aunt's anniversary of when she passed away. I found myself writing about it in my next novella and wondered if the family would balk at the idea of me putting her name in the manuscript and memorializing her fight with cancer. But I realized it is my way of appreciating her more and the testimony of the wonderful imprint she made on my life. So, in a way I pray this next novella will be picked up so I can immortalize her.

So keep your nephew forever alive. I'm sure it will be an amazing book because of your deeper connection with the character.

C.J. Ellisson said...

Hi Gabriella, thanks for commenting. I'm betting if your family is like mine, they'll be fine with it. They knew of Eric's excitement to be in the book, just like his older brother Asa was in the first one.

I can think of no finer way to honor your aunt than to share her with your readers. I bet if she'd known your intentions she would have been okay with it.

Don't pray on the novella getting picked up. Hire and editor and a cover artist and do your damnedest to put out a good book. Then pray the readers will like it. The publishing world is changing rapidly. I'm already making more with the small co-op publishing model I founded than I would have earned from most mid-list and ALL small publishers.

If you'd like to learn how to do it, just email me. I'm happy to share what I've learned. cj_ellisson@yahoo.com

See? Not Talkin' Out My Ass!

About this blog:

"Who the heck is this C.J. chick?"

Sure, you may not have heard of me and that's okay. I may not have heard of you either ;-) But ask yourself this one simple question -- What were you doing in January 2009 and had you ever written one word of fiction?

I can tell you where I was and what I was doing. I spent days in doctor's offices and sitting at home the rest of the time, wondering what I was going to do with my time now that my property management and Realtor business was on hold for the foreseeable future.

That's right, I never wrote a fictional piece before and I never thought I could be a writer. My background is Art, Chemistry and Business… not English, Journalism, or Creative Writing.

Now, I'm an award-winning bestselling author of contemporary fantasy. In under three years. And I have over 10,000 followers on facebook. Do you? 'Cause if you do then you probably don't need my help. ;-)

Side Note: I use an editor for all my books (several in fact), but not on my blog posts. So if you see errors, try to be nice and overlook them.

Please comment on the posts you find helpful -- I look forward to getting to know you!

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