Tag Archives: amazon

Calm After the Storm

It’s been a few days and my biography is out for the world to read.  I admit that the last few weeks have been very difficult emotionally.  It became hard to concentrate on anything else except the book.  Now that it is out, I feel a sense of relief, but also a little bit of fear.

How will the book be received?  Writing it for a small number of close people is scary, because there is a closeness to those people and having them learn a deep dark secret can jeopardize that closeness; but releasing it to the world can bring out different opinions.  It can bring out additional support which is always welcomed, but it can bring out those who read the book for a different reason and the reason ties to feelings that are tough to hear.

Some may read the book and while empathetic, some readers may view me and my choices in a way that makes me out to be a self abuser.  Others may simply look at the acts and feel “entertained.”  Both are fine with me to a point, but the anticipation of getting these comments has me in all too familiar territory… scared and curled up in the corner.

While the fear is there, the one thing that has dominated the last few days since the books release is a great sense of calm and satisfaction… and inspiration.  My close friends and I have talked frequently about moving my writing to a more “conventional” genre.  I have played with the idea of writing a more traditional romance, or suspense novel.  Following my familiar steps of putting ideas down on paper, I realized the ideas, seemed dull without a mysterious twist of gender bending.    The idea of having a hero or anti-hero that has “her” own internal struggles added to the plot and for me made the storyline more relatable.

The one thing I wanted to try and move away from – at least a little bit – was the focus on the sex.  I tried this with my latest fiction novel “My Perfect Partner” and the three short story bundle “Handle with Care.”  I added more to the plot and gave the characters more substance, but used the transgender aspects as leverage in the stories.  What I learned is that I think I found the style of writing that was not only exciting but well received.

While I would enjoy more feedback, I have come to realize that it just isn’t going to come.  What I can draw off of are the unit sales and page turns of KDP and now my web site.

So, now I find myself excited about the future of my writing.  Will I continue to write erotic tales? YOU BET!  Will I step out a bit further and try something more traditional or conventional? Sure.  I hope you will come along for the ride and find my writing enjoyable… and if not, close the book and pick up a different one.

 

Desires and Risks… Tough choices for #girlslikeus

decisions… DecisionsDECISIONS.

The thoughts of the last few days have created a quandary for me.  I released a new book that has gotten some very nice reviews so far, which is obviously rare for the genre I write about.  What’s strange this one is that it brings me to a crossroads.  I started writing because I needed a release and it was very therapeutic.  It eventually became a drug and very addictive, but more for the motivating stories that popped into my head and less about the sexual gratification.

In the past, this usually came full circle.  Depression, therapy, motivation, gratification then back again.  The hard part now is that I want more.  My friends have suggested that I crossover from a smut writer to a more “traditional” fiction writer and possibly use my real name.  The thought of moving to the lighter side of fiction was intriguing, but using my real name was terrifying.  Using it meant revealing more than I ever wanted to and could jeopardize my life.

This is not uncommon for anyone living in secret as a transgendered man or woman, but for someone who still feels shame, humiliation, confusion, fear and isolation… it can be overwhelming and can put you on the edge of the blade.  Which brings me to the suggestion that was made recently.

I wrote an autobiography a few years ago as many of you know.  The book was my first and was horribly written because I simply took my journals and threw them together.  I added some graphic memories and tried not to fictionalize them, but after over 30 years, it became difficult to tell a story when pieces of it were missing.  The book didn’t sell and I eventually pulled it off Amazon.

A few months after that, I figured out that Goodreads doesn’t pull books off that easily and it stayed out there for a while creating a little bit of buzz.  The book description prompted a number of questions and direct messages from the LGBTQ community, weirdos and parents asking where they could get a copy of it.  I didn’t feel comfortable at the time and chose instead to respond to each request individually – hoping I could answer the real questions without giving up too much of myself.

After the release of this latest novel My Perfect Partner, a great friend made a comment that the book had some true life experiences that I shared with her; and another friend who has been a great mentor and inspiration to me as a writer suggested I revise the biography and re-release it.  Difficult choices to have that include some risk, but anyone who has skeletons in their closet – whether “normal” or a little bit different – have to deal with risks everyday.

I guess the real question is what to do next.  I work alongside people of all walks of life and those who seem content with their lives are those I tend to shy away from.  I am always looking ahead and trying to be better than I am today.  I am drawn to risk and challenges, but this one is one of the hardest ones to make.

Do I re-release the autobiography?  Do I use my real name?

This may seem like a couple of easy answers… if I am not willing to use my real name, then releasing my autobiography is not that hard of a decision and doesn’t seem like that big of a risk.  The tougher questions are…

Am I considering a re-release to tell the real story or is it just to try and make money?

The money is not really a concern.  If you follow independent writers, you already know they don’t make a lot of money and many don’t write for the financial gain.  The first release as I mentioned was a release for me.  It was a way of talking to someone who was willing to listen and understand.  That someone was my wife, who really never knew about my past in graphic detail.  After she read it, she understood but never really wanted to talk about it again.  That was enough for me, but now I think it may be a good idea to take another stab at it and see if anyone else is willing to offer an opinion.  Whether you are connected to it in some way, for it or against it.  Maybe the story just needs to be told.

What do you think?

Success is built around honest friends

The last few weeks have given me time to think about a number of things. As a fiction writer and a writer of erotic tales, it’s important that I tell an “entertaining” story and at the same time, not sell out to those who want something so specific it questions my integrity as an independent author. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all of the feedback I get and have never been shy about asking and begging for feedback about my work, but just because someone wants more of “this” or less of “that” doesn’t mean I am simply going to comply. The important thing for me is that I try and reach at least one person – whether they enjoyed the story or not.

While I have some close friends who live near me who have always been supportive and helpful, I get a great deal of feedback from outside the US, which can be exciting knowing that my stories are traveling around the globe, even when it’s a small audience.  Over the last few years, I think I have done a great job of being patient when it comes to measuring my success as a writer. I have received quite a bit of feedback related to my work and I am grateful for it.   Sometimes I have to beg for feedback, which I really don’t like to do, but I have a few friends who are very helpful and one in particular has been a huge part of my success. I have never met her face to face (not surprising for some of us still in the closet), but her honesty and genuineness has been more than an inspiration to me. She has motivated me without trying. The person I am speaking of is Sally Bend.

I came across Sally’s site via Twitter, where I do most of my book marketing and after reading her reviews of others and having a chance to read her own work, I realized that the style is not important, it’s the interpretation. Sally has reviewed a number of my books and confirmed the direction I was taking with each piece. She is not afraid of giving criticism and at the same time praises authors without spoiling the book.

If you get the chance to visit her site (http://www.sallybend.com) or follower her on Twitter (@bibrary), you won’t be disappointed. Thanks, Sally for your honest and kind words and for reminding me to stay true to who I am… as a writer and as a human being.

Sally was gracious enough to post a web interview with me some time back… Check it out here.