Confession Time

Confession time. Everybody ready? Can I get a drum roll from someone? No? Ok…

I am not sure I’m writing for the “right” reasons. I’m told you’re supposed to do it for the joy of doing it, for the love of your readers, etc. This all may be true, and those things are very important to me, but…

I like to win.

I have a closet competitive streak. I don’t show it much, but several times a day, you’ll see me checking my best seller ranking on Amazon.

Because that, my friends, is the only scorecard I have for this writing thing.

Yes, I love getting a great review. Those keep me going when sales aren’t where I would like them to be. But I’d be lying if I said I would be ok with staying exactly where I am as a writer. The joy of doing it isn’t enough. I’m grateful to anyone who has ever bought my book, I truly am, but I look at that rank to get the next high, the next feeling of victory. That sale is my scorecard.

I want to win.

I realize that everyone dreams of being on the New York Times Best Seller List. But that’s truly the mark of where I would feel like I won. My dad taught me that I can do anything I set my mind to, and I can’t help but hope that maybe, just maybe, he’s right. I know that’s a long ways away, if ever, and I don’t know what to do in the meantime, because I need those highs, I need those wins. So my quest now is to find those little victories: the new Twitter follower, the new “like” for my blog…something to sustain me. Because we all need to feel like we crossed a finish line before everyone else, to feel like we got first place in something. If you don’t, bottle it up and send me some. Until then, I’m going to continue the hunt.

The Mystery Review

I’m going to do something a little different for this review. Ready for this? I’m not going to tell you what book it is. There are several reasons. One is that I’m sure the woman who wrote it is very nice. Another is that I firmly believe that just because I don’t like a book doesn’t make it a bad book. In fact, there are millions of people who love her work, so many that she’s been able to publish a number of novels in the realm of Stephen King.

But I didn’t like it. In fact, I described it at one point as word oatmeal: goes down easy, but boring as hell.

I’m going to focus on another avenue for this review though. I’m going to focus on the fact that she breaks almost every writing rule I’ve ever been taught, yet she is wildly successful; which makes me think, if you can succeed without the rules, are there really any rules at all?

Show Don’t Tell- I don’t know the physical description of any character in this book. I don’t know what the town looks like. I don’t know what the characters’ homes look like. All I know is background information that the third person narrator told me. The world wasn’t alive to me, nor were the people, because I had to hear it all second hand. My brain didn’t even have a chance to make my own picture, make my own story, because everything I got sounded like a report, as if someone had read the book for me and was telling me what it said. Not exactly the greatest reading experience.

Make The Reader Care- Maybe I’m a big jerk. Could be. But I didn’t care about the characters. At all. Maybe that’s because there were about twelve of them. Seriously. And all of them had their own stories spread out in tiny chapters all across three-hundred-seventy-something pages. I forgot who people were and had to go back, that’s how spread out they were, which left me having more emotional involvement with the snack I was eating than the characters.

Don’t Leave Things Unresolved- Even though I was bored for 400 pages, I did want to see how each person’s story played out. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. In fact, some of them found a dead body about ten pages before the book ended. I was thinking “Ooh now we’re talkin’!” then I realized there was no more book. I am afraid I won’t be reading the next one, so I guess I’ll never know who they found. But unfortunately, she made me not care.

What about you, dear readers, have you read a book that broke all the rules?

 

 

Unsolicited Advice for New Moms

Nobody asked me my opinion, but seeing as it’s my blog, I thought I’d compile a list of little hints that I’ve learned during my first month as a new mom. Some you’ve probably heard before, but hopefully some will be new information that you can take on your journey into parenthood.

Buy a nursing bra that doesn’t make you feel like a fourth grader- there’s going to be a lot of things that happen during motherhood that don’t exactly make you feel attractive: getting pooed on, spit on, not showering as much as tour used to, etc. But you don’t need to add to it by buying yourself a nursing bra that looks like something an elementary school student wears during gym class. They may look more practical than the pretty ones, but they function the same way.  Treat yourself.

Don’t wait to do basic human necessities- if you find yourself with a sleeping baby and you are in the middle of a chore, and you say to yourself “oh I’m hungry/need to pee/etc,” don’t wait to finish your chore. Just do it. Because it is virtually guaranteed that your baby will start crying two minutes later and you could possibly go hungry by the time you have a chance to eat again. Guaranteed.

Watch those fingers– My daughter thinks getting dressed in the morning is comparable to having an iron maiden used on her, so I try to do it as quickly as possible. But I’ve noticed that if you yank a sleeve on too fast you can catch a tiny baby finger. Not so good. Luckily I haven’t done  it, but I definitely see it would be easy to do. So be quick but careful.

More to come… probably once a week. Mommas, feel free to add in the comments.

Guest Post with Cynthia Sax, USA Today Bestselling Author

So excited to have Cynthia Sax, author of Releasing Rage, stop by for a guest post today! Read her take on killer heroes, and learn more about her exciting book!

Releasing Rage_Compressed

Killer Heroes With Cynthia Sax

We, romance readers, love the bad boys, don’t we? (grins) There’s something about heroes who have their own sets of rules and don’t follow anyone else’s. They’re willing to do anything for their heroines.

But what about REALLY bad boys? Could a hero be a killer and still be a hero?

In Renee’s The Extraction List, Cain is a cold-blooded killer. He wouldn’t hesitate to end a life to save Riley’s. In Releasing Rage, my most recent release, Rage is a cyborg warrior. He was designed to kill and he enjoys it. Killing is part of who he is.

But like any bad boy hero, these killers have their own set of rules. Rage prefers that his opponents be armed. He gives his enemy a dagger so he has the ability to defend himself, so he can have some dignity at the end, die fighting, with honor. If his opponents are honorable warriors, he kills them as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

Rage’s ability to kill comforts Joan, his human heroine. They’re living in a violent world and she likes having a violent male to protect her. She’s not a killer herself. Her skills lie in other areas. But she knows Rage and his cyborg brethren will safeguard her.

Because when a bad boy, especially a killer, falls, he falls REALLY hard. Rage shows a vulnerability, a softness to Joan that he doesn’t show to anyone else. He’s still a killer. That won’t ever change. But he’s more than that with her. We see his human side.

He trusts her, a rare thing for any killer. He might be her sword but she is his heart, his conscience. There are no limits to what he would do, what he would sacrifice to shield her from harm. And that’s very romantic.

What do you love about bad boy heroes?

***

Blurb

Releasing Rage

Half Man. Half Machine. All Hers. Rage, the Humanoid Alliance’s most primitive cyborg, has two goals–kill all of the humans on his battle station and escape to the Homeland. The warrior has seen the darkness in others and in himself. He believes that’s all he’s been programmed to experience. Until he meets Joan. Joan, the battle station’s first female engineer, has one goal–survive long enough to help the big sexy cyborg plotting to kill her. Rage might not trust her but he wants her. She sees the passion in his eyes, the caring in his battle-worn hands, the gruff emotion in his voice. When Joan survives the unthinkable, Rage’s priorities are tested. Is there enough room in this cyborg’s heart for both love and revenge?

Buy Now (Note: This story is meant for adult readers only. If you are under the age of 18, please do not buy Releasing Rage):

On Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Releasing-Rage-Cyborg-Sizzle-Book-ebook/dp/B00ZOL1DRO

On Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00ZOL1DRO/

On ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-releasingrage-1850041-340.html

On B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/releasing-rage-cynthia-sax/1122455646

Bio

About Cynthia Sax

USA Today bestselling author Cynthia Sax writes contemporary, SciFi and paranormal erotic romances. Her stories have been featured in Star Magazine, Real Time With Bill Maher, and numerous best of erotic romance top ten lists.

Sign up for her dirty-joke-filled release day newsletter and visit her on the web at www.CynthiaSax.com

Website:  http://cynthiasax.com/

Newsletter:   http://tasteofcyn.com/2014/05/28/newsletter/

Facebook:  facebook.com/cynthia.sax

Twitter:  @CynthiaSax

Blog:  http://tasteofcyn.com/

My These-Things-Are-Awesome Awards

So most of the time, shows I love don’t get nominated for anything and it makes me mad (minus this year with Viola Davis…well done! ). So I decided to highlight the people/shows that I deem worthy, cuz well ya know it’s my blog and I can do what I want. So drum   roll please…                                          Mads Mikkelsen– I never thought I could enjoy a portrayal of Hannibal Lector as much as I did that of Anthony Hopkins, but I was happily proved wrong. Though sadly the show is over, Mads you did him proud and I’ll remember it fondly.           Kurt Sutter- Are you f-ing kidding that the writer of one of the most popular shows of all time (Sons of Anarchy) has never got an emmy nod? I guess that just happened by magic then?       Melissa McBride- Here’s another magic one. The Walking Dead’s popularity must have nothing to do with the cast? Must just be the zombies? Please… McBride’s Carol has been amazing always but the Lizzy episode ( if you watch the show you know what I’m talking about) was above and beyond. If it didn’t deserve an emmy I don’t know what does.                                             What about  you? Feel free to add your own awards to the comments below.

What Science Fiction Phenomenon The Walking Dead Taught me about Mortality

I debated a long time about writing this post. I’m not usually a very deep sharer, if you will. I prefer to keep my private thoughts and fears private. But in this particular instance, I’m wondering if other people have experienced the same thoughts that I have during this whole pregnancy adventure. So please, feel free to share your own words, and maybe we can learn from each other, or at the very least, feel like we aren’t the only one to ever experience something.

I am over the moon about our daughter coming into the world. I can’t wait to squeeze her and see her tiny little fingers for the first time. But I have noticed that this whole process has triggered something else in my head, something far less fun to talk about: I know it’s completely ridiculous, and that I have no control over the world spinning, but it’s almost as though I feel like by deciding to have children, I have given permission for time to pass into a different phase, as if I’d somehow given permission for the aging process to begin. Since I found out I was pregnant I have become more aware than I have ever been that there will eventually be a time where my parents and our dogs will no longer be here on this earth with us, and my heart is breaking. (***Note: I have a HUGE phobia of something happening to my husband, a deep, penetrating fear that goes deep to my bones that makes it extremely difficult to watch him get on an airplane, but that started long before I got pregnant, and is a story for another post)

My parents and I have always been very close. I am an only child, and until I got married, we didn’t have much extended family in the area. There was never a performance or recital where I looked out into the audience and didn’t see my parents waving back at me. I always knew that my mom would be standing in the kitchen watching Northwest Afternoon when I got home from school, and if I was lucky, the house would smell of cookies. They always made sure I knew they were there for me, and we helped each other through anything life threw our way. Now that I’m married, they show the same unending support to my husband, and what was three has now become four.

My dogs are my babies. Period. They are my children and I love them as such (if you are one of those people who doesn’t think of your dogs as your kids/a member of your family, you are entitled to your opinion, but you might as well unfollow my blog because I talk about them all the time). The first year of Bee’s life, I was pretty much by myself. My good friends were spread across many states, and in some cases, across the world. Of course I had my parents, but when you are at the age where you are years out of college, you usually want to hang out with people your own age. So needless to say, my social life was scant at best. It was Bee and I against the world. She took care of me as much as I took care of her, if not more. When I’d be getting depressed as I popped in a movie that I had just picked up from the video store (again), she would snuggle up in the nape of my neck, as if to say “don’t worry, mom, you have me, and everything’s going to be fine.” And she was right. Besides that, I liked her more than I liked most people anyway.

I met Bubba on my third date with my husband. When I walked in his house for the first time, a little teddy-bear-face greeted me at the door, and I’m sure my heart just exploded. He looked up at me with his big brown eyes, and has spent his every waking moment (and his sleeping moments as it were) making me smile. He snorts when he’s happy, and I’m pretty sure if that sound doesn’t melt your heart then you have no soul. All he ever wants from the world is to snuggle and get belly rubs, and of course, to tell his mom and dad how much he loves them with a thousand kisses.

So before I get to what The Walking Dead has to do with any of this, I have to give you a little bit of background on my personal spiritual structure. I believe in God. Part of that belief comes from coming up with answers to the universe’s most puzzling questions. One of the most haunting ones that comes up when someone is trying to decide what they think about such an important aspect of life is this: why do bad things happen to good people, and vice versa? A great question, and a valuable one. The answer that I have come up with that makes sense to me, is this: all things in the universe exist in balance. You can’t know what good means without bad. You can’t know what fairness is without unfairness to compare it to. Everything is somewhat defined by what it isn’t, and some things in God’s great world come at a price.

Which brings me to The Walking Dead, and something that The Governor (of all people) said during one episode. If you are a fan, you know that The Governor is not usually someone you would look to as a purveyor of universal wisdom. But that day, he said something that stuck with me. A person was suffering, going over every good and bad decision he had made in his life, and The Governor told him it was “time to pay the bill.”

Balance.

No one likes to suffer, or looks forward to it. But in certain situations, the reason WHY we suffer is because we had something so wonderful. Loss would not be so profoundly difficult if the thing we lost wasn’t precious. If my parents spent my childhood passing me from babysitter to random relative to some random boarding school out of state instead of giving me the best childhood anyone could ask for, if they had removed themselves from my life as an adult by just not giving a shit, the suffering that losing them will bring would be significantly less. If I hadn’t been able to call my mom several times a day, and get advice from my dad whenever I needed it, maybe the wound wouldn’t cut so deep. If our dogs didn’t bring so much unconditional joy into our lives, maybe I wouldn’t be broken apart when they leave this earth. If they didn’t make my husband and I so happy every time they curled up to sleep on our laps, maybe our hearts would remain in tact.

When the tab comes due, we have to pay for the gifts we are given. The suffering that is imminent (though hopefully years away) is terrifying, and I know it will be a big job to put me back together again. I thank God that I have the best husband in the world, and that we will carry each other through it, but we will both be hurting deeply. But would either of us choose to give up the goodness that has been brought into our lives by my parents, Bee and Bubba? Never. It’s going to hurt because they are worth hurting for. Our hearts are going to break because they were made so full.

And that, my friends, is the bill we have to pay.