Friday, July 11, 2014

All Work and No Play? NO WAY!



As an indie author, I've read several blogs and countless posts about how you need to "really want" to be a successful author and prove it by writing ten, twelve, or more hours a day. "You really serious about wanting to succeed? Then get busy and write a book a month. Write every waking moment. Write at your kid's soccer game. Write after your spouse has gone to bed. Write early in the morning before anyone else is up. Write, write, write."

It's as if you can't be a success if you don't give up the rest of your life for writing. Sorry. I'm not buying it. Oh, maybe that's true if you want to hit 5 or 6 figure a month success. But, truly, if all you are doing is writing night and day, what are you going to do with that money, anyway? What difference does it make if you buy a huge mansion or expensive sports cars if you sit at your laptop writing? The house is enjoyed by everyone but you, the cars too...or they sit in the garage. Why go on trips if you're going to be writing day and night during your visit to France? Unless you get a kick out of simply looking at a high bank balance, I don't see the point. Are you working so someone else doesn't have to after you die?

See, I have a husband I love. He's not only my best friend, he's my confidante, my strength, and one hell of a good lover. Write after he goes to bed? Um, I don't think so.I have some family I love. I want to be present in their life, not on the sideline typing away while they wonder why they mean next to nothing to me. I have friends I love. They're a LOT of fun. I want to give them my love, my attention, and my time. I have a grandson who will be three next month (we're childless by choice, he is the son of our dear friends next door, and he considers us as much "Grandma" and "Grandpa" as anyone else. In fact, they are more family to us than our families.) This boy won't be small long. Right now parents and grandparents are his world. In a very short time, we won't be. That time will never be gotten back, so there is NO WAY IN HELL I'm passing on any time I can spend with him in order to type on my laptop in the hope of making huge money.


Sure, I believe in hard work. To a point. I believe in finding time to write and time to paint. When doing those things, I believe in applying myself to the best of my ability. But they aren't the sole reason I'm here in this body on this planet. Even though I see my writing and painting as creation, as something I give to the world, to me the real reasons we are here are for education, experience, and enlightenment. None of those are found behind your keyboard. At least, not in sufficient quantities to really grow you.

I also believe you can succeed at writing by working a normal work day. You may not become rich, but you can make a decent living. If by some stroke of luck I become rich, fabulous. But, really, I am aiming for making enough that we keep our house, can go out to dinner when we want, see movies, go to plays and the orchestra. Maybe one trip a year, sometimes far away, sometimes not. Staying in normal places, doing normal things. Stopping to talk to normal people in those places.

So, starting tomorrow Dave and I have two weeks of vacation. We've always taken two weeks in a row, except for one year when I worked for someone who wouldn't let me, which is why I've been self-employed most of my life. I know what I need to be productive. This is one of those things. Two weeks is almost unheard of now in this country. I wonder why we allow ourselves to be slaves to work. Perhaps more marriages would be worth saving if people invested more time into them, both daily and taking long vacations together. Europe does it and they haven't crumbled. I think we can manage to allow ourselves plenty of play time and down time.

In fact, I'm starting a day early. Today I'm going to clean the house (a surprise for my husband, as he usually does half) and, if the neighbors have time, go to Costco. But first I'm going out to breakfast by myself and reading on my kindle. Yeah, I'm behind on my next book. Truly, I think readers will understand. Hopefully they're busy with summer, too. When I come back to the real world in two weeks, I'll be able to finish that book, and I can guarantee it will be a better book for my having this time off.

And you know what? You know that question "What will be important to you on your deathbed?" Well, when I'm dying I won't be thinking about how many stories I wrote or paintings I painted. I'll be thinking about the people who have mattered to me. And you know how I want to be remembered? I don't want to be remembered so much for how deeply I mattered to them.

I want them to remember how deeply they mattered to me.

There's only one way to make sure that happens. I need to spend time with them, real time with them where they are the focus of my attention. THAT is what makes me rich. THAT is what I'm here for.



Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Author Email: caddyauthor@gmail.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

LGBT Inclusvie Fiction in the Running: Gastien Series and Gastien: CIrcle of Destiny ARE FINALISTS!

I'm so excited! The finalists for 2014 eFestival of Words were announced yesterday and I'm proud to say that not only did Gastien: Circle of Destiny make the cut for finalist in Best Historical Fiction, but The Gastien Series: (Link takes you to my author page, where you will find all five books in the series and my other work) itself is a finalist for Best Series! I don't know who nominated me, but I thank them and I also thank the panel that decided the finalists and Julie Dawson for heading up the eFestival of Words and making it an annual event.

I'm especially pleased because the series is LGBT inclusive and it's important for LGBT books to be finalists in contests where all kinds of fiction is in the running. The first three books of the series have either gay or lesbian side characters. The fourth has a gay character that takes over main charactere status about halfway through (and also a gay side character) and the fifth book is definitely gay fiction. Regardless of if you are straight or LGBT, you will find this is a series that grips your heart and evokes strong emotion. All five are dramatic historical family saga and there are several love stories over the years, but the fifth book has a truly poignant gay love story and is a story about the struggle of being gay in the early to mid-twentieth century.

You can help make Gastien: Circle of Destiny and The Gastien Series the winners of their categories by going here: Register and Vote . Yes, you take a couple of minutes to register, but then you can vote for these books and other favorites. I would truly appreciate it if you are a fan of my work, dramatic fiction for adults, or dramatic fiction that is LGBT. 

Here are a couple of other LGBT works that are finalists. If you are fans of their work, love LGBT fiction, or simply love a great story regardless of if it is LGBT or not, why not also give them a vote today? Brandon Shire is a newer friend, and I have known Andrew Ashling and been friends for a few years. They are both two of my "must read" authors and I know they'd appreciate your support. If you haven't read them, you are missing out on two of the best writer's out there today.

Brandon Shire, Listening to Dust: Best Novella

Andrew Ashling, The Invisible Hands Part 2 Castling: Best Novel
Andrew Ashling, The Invisible Hands Part 3 Pawn Storm:  Best High Fantasy(Sword and Sorcery)
Andrew Ashling, The Invisible Hands Part 3 Pawn Storm: Best Cover Art

I see many other author friends in the finals and I wish everyone luck. 

Remember: Your vote counts. I hope you go and vote TODAY!









                                                         





 
           
Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Author Email: caddyauthor@gmail.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hobby Lobby Ruling a Very Slippery Slope



Anyone who thinks the decision made by the Supreme Court regarding Hobby Lobby's right to deny coverage of birth control for women would greatly benefit from thinking again. Let's not forget this is the same company who stood with the group who was AGAINST gay equality only a year or so ago.

Allowing a company to deny rights because of religious beliefs opens up all kinds of ugly possibilities. For instance:

1. Hobby Lobby has already shown they don't much care for gays. Are they going to deny gay spouses insurance? How about gay employees? What about other business owners who belong to some "religion" that is bigoted against gays?

2. It doesn't stop there. Christianity isn't the only religion in town. How about a business owned by a person or people who follow a religion that treats women as 2nd class citizens, or worse? Can they deny women work because they believe they should stay home? Can they tell them they have to cover their whole body except for the eyes or be fired? If not, why not? Isn't this the same thing?

3. How about a company owned by a Jehovah Witness? Can they refuse to cover blood transfusions?

4. My mother was a Christian Scientist, although not a very faithful one. You see, she took me to the doctor. That's frowned upon. She was even shamed at church for wearing eyeglasses. The reason? If she had enough faith, her eyes would be perfect. So, what if a business is owned by a group of Christian Scientists? Can they deny health care completely? After all, they don't believe in it. Prayer and faith cures all.

This, friends, is why it is so very important to vote for more than just president. The people you elect as congress men and women decide who sits on the Supreme Court! Do you really want it ruled by narrow-minded bigots who think religion trumps human rights?

This ruling is a travesty. Even worse, it's the fault of the voting people. If you don't start being involved, don't start understanding that voting for people with open minds is the only way to ensure that someday it's not YOU discriminated against, then we lose the battle. 

Some of these right extremists try to convince us they are on the side of the constitution. Don't let them fool you. The constitution was written to protect all Americans, not just some who believe in the religion these nutcases deem as right and all powerful, even in the case of government.

You can hide your head in the sand and say, "It doesn't matter who I vote for. They're all the same." and lose your rights, or you can educate yourself and make a difference. The clock is running. Today it was women's birth control. Tomorrow, for any obscure reason, it might be you.

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Author Email: caddyauthor@gmail.com

Twitter: @caddyorpims

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What's Gay Got To Do With It?



Since June is Gay Pride Month, this seems to be a perfect time for me to talk about some of my frustrations regarding the reading and writing of LGBT inclusive fiction. What really bugs me is that gay fiction seems to now be synonymous with gay romance. The funny thing is, I know a hell of a lot of gay men. About 99% of those men never read gay romance. It isn't just the fact that much of it is written in a style (m/m romance, which is quite different than gay) which caters to women (i.e. one alpha male, one "chick with a dick" and a strict following of all the tropes that go along with the romance genre). It's also because, at least by what they tell me, these guys just don't enjoy romance novels. Not surprising. M/M isn't very true to what most gay relationships are like. It is how most WOMEN hope romantic relationships could be like. Most straight men don't read romance for that same reason. That's not a knock against romances. They are a valid, wonderful genre. They just aren't all encompassing, and it's sad to see "gay fiction" be seen as one and the same.

So, then we get to the problem of how to market gay fiction that either:
a. deals with gay struggle/issues and gay history or
b. has gay main/side characters throughout the book, but the focus is on the story, not their sex life. There may be sex, and even romance, in the story. It could be graphic. It just wouldn't be the sole storyline.

As an author, I can select "gay fiction" or "lesbian fiction" or "LGBT" depending on the book vendor. But, truly, what does that tell a reader? Absolutely nothing when it comes to the type of story it is. Why should a book be categorized by gender preferences? I've noticed there isn't a "straight fiction" category. Of course not! So, shouldn't stories with gay characters by put in the mystery, thriller, fantasy, etc categories instead? That way EVERYONE has a chance to read that story instead of focusing on who the main character might be interested in for a personal relationship.

The description can be used to let people know the main character is gay, and so can keywords. People searching for gay fiction will type in that keyword and the book will still come up. There is nothing lost by putting books in the genre categories they belong in and not wasting one on gender preference. After all, the category doesn't show up until you get to the book page. Once someone has typed in "gay fiction" and your book comes up, now they can look at the categories or read the description and see it is a mystery. Or a fantasy. Or historical.  Cool!

I do have a couple of the Gastien books listed as gay drama. That makes sense, as the storyline is about the history of gays in the mid-twentieth century, and about the struggle. I also think it makes sense to have a "gay romance" category, but last time I looked Amazon had done away with it. Maybe it will come back. I hope so.

Right now, "gay fiction" being seen as "romance" is doing a disservice to readers. Because it is so widely believed that gay fiction is always a romance, many fabulous works of gay fiction get overlooked. Ever read Brandon Shire's "Listening to Dust" or "The Value of Rain"? If not, you've missed out on two to the most gripping, gut-wrenching novels ever written.How about Andrew Ashling's "Randamor the Recluse" series (divided up between the "Invisible Chains" 3 books and the "Invisible Hands" 3 books, 4th coming), his evilly funny "Just Don't Mess With Us" or his disturbingly possible "A Dish Served Cold"? No? You're missing out on one of the best story tellers out there. "The Cool Part of His Pillow" by Rodney Ross has biting humor and is the story of one man coping with his long time partner's death at mid-life. I don't know why he has it listed as a romance. There isn't a romance in there (the romance took place in the past), and the story is wonderful.It's a great book I bet you'd enjoy. I also recently read "The Statue" by Zathyn Priest. This novelette was well-written and engrossing. He's a new author to me. I'm going to try another after I finish the novel I'm currently reading. I strongly suspect I've found yet another talented gay fiction writer.

There are many more, I'm sure. And I'm going to find them. Why? Because I love drama and angst. I like a book to make me think and feel. To stay with me for months after I put it down. For some reason, gay fiction writers who write non-romance gay fiction provide those things better than most other writers out there today. Many authors cater to what's "in" and that isn't what I like to read. I understand doing that, and may do that in my next series. We all need to pay the mortgage. But it's unfortunate that too much gay fiction is overlooked because people tend to think it's all sex and romance so they don't read it-especially gay men!

My current continuing saga, There Was a House (House of Pleasure, House of Pain and House of Trickery are out. House of Shame, the final book will come out in later summer) are the same way. A gay teen-age boy shares MC status with a straight teenage girl. It's a psychological thriller about sex trafficking. His gender preference for a romantic partner has absolutely NOTHING to do with a story  like that. The fact that he is gay has a lot to do with why he ended up dumped at a whorehouse by his father, and why people tend to see him as a stereo-type, allowing him to form a plan of devastating revenge. What's gay got to do with it? In his case, one hell of a lot. Still, I elected not to waste a category on "LGBT". It's keyworded, though. But I felt the two categories it's in were more importnat in portraying what type of story it is.

A great thriller is a great thriller. A fabulous historical is, well, a fabulous historical. Authors', let's not diminish these facts by categorizing books simply as "gay" and making people guess what they're about. We only get two categories on Amazon. People will find you by keywords if "gay" is important to them. Use those keywords to both your and your readers advantage.
 '
Readers, you can help, too. If you want gay fiction that isn't romance, type in "gay fiction"  or "gay thriller", etc and then read the description, look at the categories on the book page, read the sample, read the reviews. Some great novels are waiting for you...and you don't have to want romance and happy ever after in order to find it in  gay fiction.

Do you have favorite gay fiction novels that aren't only romance? I'd love to hear from you with the author name and title!

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Author Email: caddyauthor@gmail.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims