Tag Archives: Self Publish

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.

 

I can’t believe what I just read… Wait I wrote that?

I have been considering a re-release of my first book.  The autobiography that I wrote a few years ago was originally written with a purpose and profit was not on the agenda.  Since then I have written a lot – well over 40 pieces and after some gentle pushing from friends, I am close to a decision.  I spent the weekend reading through the first release and it obviously brought up some very difficult memories.  As I read through it, I thought about what to add and what to clarify.

There are some things in the book that were very difficult to write about and I chose not to be too detailed about certain experiences for a couple of reasons.  The first was obvious.  What happened to me was criminal and expressing the details may be too difficult to read and I didn’t want it to be misinterpreted as a sick smut rag.  The second was who this book was “really” written for.  It was an explanation to those close to me and the details were not as important as the overall message I was trying to convey.

Looking back at it a few years later, I realized that some of the details should be included.  The vividness I see everyday after 30 plus years should be a vivid reminder of how people can be manipulative and selfish and how that selfishness can drive certain people to commit unspeakable acts.  IT is also important to add a few more current details to the book as new events have had a profound impact on my life.

My last blog post received more feedback than I expected and while most of it was very supportive, I also noticed that curiosity was influencing the comments.  Most do not know my story so providing an opinion on whether or not to re-release the book was based on perception and their personal interests.  Some of the feedback which I chose not to approve was more focused on the graphic details and less on the message I want to send.

Which brings me to this. After reading the book from cover to cover… for the 100th time… yes, there are pieces missing.  Yes, the story is not a pleasant one… and yes, It is somewhat graphic.  What I realized however is this; I realized the book has new meaning for me.  I was looking for something and wanted to convey a message, but looking back at it now, that message was incomplete.

So I have decided to re-arrange and republish my story.  It is important to me that the new experiences in my life are part of the story and that the book delivers the “real” message I am striving for.  I am not sure it will be the crossover book I am looking for to move from an erotic story-teller to a traditional fiction writer, but I am not sure if that is important anymore.

I will keep you posted on the progress.
Wish me luck… and as always, thank you for the support.

From Smut Writer to Fiction Writer – A Response to a Book Club Member

I am always looking for feedback on my books and stories.  While they are not easy to come by because smut rag writers tend to draw a very private audience, every now and then one comes along.  That was the case yesterday when I received this review of my book A Victim’s Revenge – Missing in Plain Sight.


I saw your tweet about your new novel and misunderstood. When I went to your author page I found this one and thought I found it. I am glad I was wrong. I have a small book club and we usually read one or two erotic stories a week. Mainly because they are really short. I usually find erotica is much like porn… short, down and dirty with no plot. We have read your stories and it was very interesting that you actually try to write a full story. Even if its short, you try and give the characters depth which me and the club found very exciting to see. We started reading this book this week and being semi retired, I had more time and finished it last night and it was superb. I loved the conflict in the story and the way you put me in Stacie’s shoes as you told the story. Reading the previous comment from Julie, I tend to disagree with her. I don’t think it is for anyone struggling with gender identity or bullying, but more for someone who enjoys the this type of erotica who is looking for a little more out of a good smut rag. 5 STARS – GREAT BOOK.    — Rob


First off, Rob thanks you for the feedback.  I am glad you enjoyed it and hope the rest of your book club enjoy it as well.  I think every writer would love to receive feedback like this, but it also made me think again about what I write and how I categorize myself as a writer.  When I first started writing – before I ever decided to publish, it was therapeutic for me.  It allowed me to share my thoughts and feelings without opening up to anyone.  When I decided to publish my diaries, it was the courageous risk I took and while my first book didn’t sell (because it was unedited and written at different stages of my life) I eventually pulled it from publication, but the fact that I shared my true life story ignited a spark for me to write more.

When I started #reading erotica and the smut rags that were on the market, I found my niche but wanted to tell a story, not just a describe a sex scene in a porn movie.  The problem was, no one wants to read those types of stories… or do they?

I realized that there is an interest – small as it may be, in a more graphic sexual tale.  The 50 shades fans are still private but are showing themselves more and more and looking for more raunchy tales.  I don’t think it is coincidence that I write stories that have that type of balance.  Of course, my stories are more focused on members of a community that is smaller and shunned by society.  I don’t think I follow any one particular writer’s style – because I never really studied anyone specifically.  I am a fan like many readers and I just write what I see and what I am comfortable with.

Now, while much of the feedback I have received has been positive, I have received feedback that is not very nice. I have been called a lot of names, told that my writing sucks and even told that I should kill myself.  Most of these are easily dismissed because they haven’t really read my work.  Those who have who still don’t care for it feel I am putting the transgender and others in the LGBTQ community in such a vulnerable position that it is not a true representation of the strong and courageous people who support and are proud members of the community…. and they are right.

We all deal with conflict, for some of us that conflict is difficult and for others it is welcomed and easier because of how we embrace it.  My earlier stories were just about telling the sex story – how did the sex scene develop and how it affected the characters.  As I went back and read those same stories, it inspired me to try and develop those types of characters more.  Giving them an identity and attempting to show how they dealt with the conflicts in their lives.  For some of us in the transgender and LGBTQ community, that conflict is dealt with different ways.  Being a private member of the community, I dealt with conflicts by crossdressing and writing.

I get a chance to step out of my body – so to speak and look at my problems with fresh eyes as I look at myself in a new form.  It allows me the chance to clear the noise from my head and really look at the conflict – where the what is more important than the why, and once I understand the what, I can learn the how.  This is what pushed me to consider my newer stories and adding more of that character development and substance into them.  I wanted my readers to understand the characters enough to understand the conflicts they faced.  I want them to feel the pain and frustration the characters feel and not just the sexual gratification of the steamier chapters in my book.

ALERT!!! ALERT!!! ALERT!!!

Shameless plug coming…

This is why I am very proud of my latest book due out on July 20th.  The 288 page novel is focused on characters who have everyday conflicts and how one character finds a way to deal and how that misunderstood method of conflict resolution is not accepted by everyone.  I won’t spoil the story for you, but don’t worry, there are a number of steamy and raunchy scenes in the book, but I think it might be the piece that adds a category to my writing style – from erotic writer to fiction writer.