Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fighting Through the Self Doubt, Fears, Tears and Writer's Block #amwriting #MyWANA

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry about that. Life got in the way again...big time. It's not easy juggling a full time job as a veterinarian and writing under four pen names. As Stephanie, I am supposed to have my debut romantic suspense out at the end of October. Unfortunately, that may not go as planned.

My husband is now retired from the Coast Guard. After twenty years of service, he wishes to move back to his home state of Washington. For many people, the idea of moving is overwhelming in itself. Add on to that jumping through all the hoops and the sea of paperwork to get my license to practice veterinary medicine, pack up the house, purge the unwanted stuff, sign the new contract with my employer (same group of hospitals, just a different state), write not one, but FOUR stories for three different publication dates. At this point only one may go out on time. My debut may squeak by in time, but the last one will be delayed by two weeks.

Of course this is the time to be thankful I'm my own publisher. That's right, not only am I the same person as Tammy Dennings Maggy, Lia Michaels and Tawny Savage, I'm also Sassy Vixen Publishing. All of these "hats" have kept me busy but now it's causing some serious writer's block.

You would think I wouldn't have an issue. If one of my stories isn't working out, I can switch to another and keep going. That's the beauty of having four pen names. It has worked for me in the past, but now it's not. I'm so afraid of failing that my mind won't move forward...on anything.

I know I shouldn't compare myself to other authors, but that's much easier to say than do. Why can't I have those same successes others appear to have with their first books. Why can't I seem to get my groove and find friends and fans out there who want to take a chance on my stuff? It never fails that when I'm feeling this way, I get an email from Authorgraph telling me the low ranking of one of my earlier books. 

Nothing like a kick in the gut when you're already thinking of quitting. Why should I go through with the publication of Dangerous Medicine if it will simply sit there, unnoticed in a sea of other new releases? I'm not able to devote the time it takes to promote it properly and not spam the hell out of social media with it. It feels weird for me to be involved in book clubs where we choose a book a week to help promote by reading it and giving honest reviews. There are other genres in there I'm not interested in and don't enjoy reading. I don't think it's fair of me to read those or expect the others to read my romance.

Nice pickle I have myself in, huh?

It's even harder for my erotica and erotic romance. Amazon continues to "fine tune" their algorithms and slap ADULT CONTENT labels on books so they're essentially hidden from general searches. So much for being discovered by new readers who love to browse through the categories!

I know many of you may look at this post as just one more from a whiny author who really doesn't want to succeed bad enough to keep going. You're entitled to your opinion, but until you go through a day in my shoes, deal with life and death of your patients, deal with groups of people going through Amazon and Goodreads tagging all your books with 1 stars just because they can, take care of your health and that of your family AND find time to write, edit, create book covers and promote all four pen names...(taking deep breath) then and only then can you make an INFORMED opinion on whether or not I'm whining.

I don't want to quit writing. I want to go back to the time when it was FUN to write and share my stories. I want that excitement of waking up in the middle of the night just to jot down a plot point or a bit of dialogue before it flies out of my head forever. I want the JOY of writing back again.

Yes, writing should be viewed as a full time job in order to succeed at it. I think this is my problem. I've been trying to be successful at THREE full time jobs: wife, veterinarian, and author. I've thrown in there publisher, editor, cover artist, public relations/marketer, social media technician, beta reader and reviewer...oh and don't forget blogger.

There's not enough time in one day to accomplish a third of those tasks and yet I push myself to do them all. No wonder I'm blocked! LOL

I'm taking this weekend to enjoy some time away with my hubby and forget about the move, the deadlines, laundry and housework. When I get back, I hope to have cleared my mind enough to pick a few things from my To Do list and complete them. I'll not look at the rest of the list until those are done. It's the only way I'll get through it.

If Dangerous Medicine isn't a best seller right out of the what? It's still going to be published. I owe it to myself to finish this one. I started it in 1999. Maybe it's time I took Journey's advice and enjoy the blessings I have in my life instead of allowing all the other "stuff"  to weigh me down. 

Don't Stop Believin',


  1. Oh, Stephanie, I'm so sorry you're feeling frazzled and discouraged. I don't have nearly the time conflict you do, but I feel that struggle myself, as do many other writers.

    I was wondering, though, why do you have so many author names and different blog sites? It sounds like a lot of extra work, and then having to start from scratch each time to build your author brand. Why not use the same name, or at least one website for all your pen names? Kristen Lamb has a post about this:

    Maybe this crisis you're having is the universe telling you something. You're purging the clutter in your house as you prepare to move, right? Well, maybe some simplifying in your author life would help, too. Just a thought.

    No matter how things go, I wish you all the best. Hang in there, and keep writing! (Psst...don't read those GoodReads reviews. They'll drive you crazy).


    1. Hello Kathy! Thank you for stopping in and commenting. :)
      To answer your questions about the multiple pen names: I write in different genres and as Stephanie I plan on putting out YA books too. I don't want one of those readers to pick up one of my very explicit erotica and erotic romance novels. Heaven help them if they pick up one of the Bigfoot erotica books! LOL!

      At this point, I have all the social media sites and blogs set up for each one. I did find a way to link most of them together so when I tweet something, all of the accounts retweet so I don't have to repeat myself. I love Kristen Lamb's blog and books. They have some great advice and most of which I follow.

      I don't make it a secret that I have the four pen names and use that point in my marketing too. Just by the pen name used, my readers can tell what genre and heat level to expect. I have now set up different writing schedules for each pen name. This way I can concentrate on one at a time and put the others on "vacation."

      It is a lot of work and I did put it on myself based on advice given to me by my first publisher. They felt if I branched out into the LGBT genres after building up a following writing MF pairings, I'd suffer a backlash. I set up the pen names to cover myself and found out that my readers accepted MF and FF pairings from Tammy, menage from Lia, monster erotica from Tawny, and MF from me. Somehow I became "known" for writing lesbian erotica as Tammy. Not sure how that happened but I'll welcome it!

      I'll continue to write whatever stories pop in my head. I'll worry about which pen name to put on the cover later. ;) I'll let you know how it all turns out and you can be darn sure I'm staying away from Goodreads! LOL

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