Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do you want to read a few of my emails from fans?

I don't have any big ideas tonight and I don't really have anything to say. But I played Touch Rugby late tonight and I can never get to sleep before 3am when I do that. Therefore I have decided to write an update on my new life direction.

In my previous post I discussed how I was going to start asking myself what I can contribute to others and various situations instead of simply thinking about what I can get out of a situation. Well, I have to say that it has been a lot easier to make that transition than I thought.

What's hardest about making these types of changes is remembering that you have made these changes on a day to day basis. But, so far in every situation, I have found myself asking what I could selflessly contribute to this person's situation. So far it hasn't led to anything too drastic. But it is beginning to change my attitude in a way that is undefinable at this point.

Also, I had mentioned how I got that message to contact that person who I shouldn't have contacted. Well, I contacted that person, and they ended up responding really well to my message. They didn't know what the hell I was talking about, but it did seem to make them feel good that I had reached out to them in this way. So if nothing else, I was able to bring a little joy to their life by following through with the message.

And I really thought that after contacting that person I was going to turn into the kid from 'The Sixth Sense' and I would have a line of dead people waiting to deliver their messages. That hasn't happened. I have gotten no new messages. I'm quite pleased with that fact. Yes, I'm at 'their' disposal, but let's not over due it, right?

The other that was going on with me right now was that I had decided to write a book series that I didn't think would sell. I was going to write it for the sole purpose of becoming a better writer. My plan was to give myself as much time as I needed to finish the stories. I write erotica for the money, so that means I need to get them out ASAP. And I was hoping that more time would allow me to write a fuller story.

I'm not sure whether that has been my experience. In fact, I'm not sure if this series is improving my writing at all. Tomorrow I will finish the 2nd story out of 4 and I almost feel like these stories cover even less story-ground than my normal stories.

I think that I have really gotten the art of the short story down pact. You get in, get out and you're done. Now, I don't know. The series that I'm working on now is a werewolf romance and the first book is more than twice as long as any of my recent stories, yet no where in these 20,000 words does anyone transform into a werewolf... except the last chapter... as a cliffhanger. That's really weird.

The second book has it's own oddities. For example, I like to put at least 3 sex scenes into every story. The 2nd book has only one. Now, the character do spend almost the whole book walking around naked and aroused... it's the wolf in them... but there is only 1 sex scene.

The other odd thing is that after spending the whole first book focused on certain characters surrounding the protagonist. The protagonist spends the whole 2nd book trapped on an island with a whole bunch of new character who were introduced in book 1, but were barely given any face time. I mean, these are just really odd things.

Maybe my subconscious has some sort of plan for this series that it hasn't informed me about yet. That happened with the first erotic series I ever wrote. I started off writing really graphic sex stories. But, by the end, some readers actually cried.

I don't think that this new series has that sort of emotional weight because these characters are less sympathetic. I think that this is much more of straight forward Twilight sort of romance. I could be wrong though. I have noticed a strange fixation on race in the first 2 stories. It could end up being some sort of commentary on race in the Bahamas (the books are based in the Bahamas). And it is about a full-figured ugly duckling who, when turned, transforms into the object of every wolfman's affection. So there is a whole self-esteem subplot that might be developing that I don't realize.

But I guess I'll have to wait to see what happens with the story just like my readers would. I've learned to not second guess my subconscious on these things. But I'm saying that I don't think that I'm learning how to write a fundamentally better story by doing this. And that was the only goal for doing this. I need to become a better author so that I can change the world with my "big 5 book series". Remember?

Anyway, it has felt good giving myself time to write. Apparently, writing can really be enjoyable sometimes. And even though this story is erotica, it's actually kind of fun to write. It does get me all hot and bothered while I'm writing it... especially this book... god damn I find this book hot... and I'm not a big fan of getting aroused at work. I mean, how many times can you change your shorts in a day. But still, writing this series has been kind of enjoyable. I'm very gratefully that my life is currently gives me time to write.

And since one of my task today was to reply to fans' emails, I thought that I would share a few of them with you. I think they mess with my mind because I know I'm not that good at writing. It takes kind of a effort to read them and then immediately forget them. But here are a few lines from the ones I read today:

Dear XXX,
You are a great writer and I love you books, especially the menage books.

Dear xxxx,
I would love to give you feed back. I love to read [your books] I'm a fan fan fan fan fan. lol

I also left you a five star review for your complete set of xxxxx series on Amazon. (They are talking about the first erotic series that I ever wrote)  That series was sooooo good,   I found myself crying at times during the books because I was rooting for them to get together.   The ending was priceless.   I love it!   I just wanted to let you know.   That series was so good!   Thank you for your talented writing.

I truly love reading your books. They take me to another place and I get lost in the characters. I wonder at their decisions and why they made the choice they made. I can lose myself in them for that short while.

I have reviewed this book. Again, absolutely amazing.

Those are the emails I responded to today. My god I love these people! I so wish that I was as good of a writer as they think I am. But I can tell you this, I feel so exceptionally privileged that they, and others, allow me into their lives and their imaginations in this way. It is an honor that I never forget.

Sometimes I think about taking a writing class somewhere so that I could truly live up to their praise. But I fear that the demands of a class would take me away from actually writing. Maybe it'll be worth it, though. After all, I do need to get a lot better if I'm going to do justice to that non-erotic series. I'll have to think more seriously about the idea.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

I've decided to give up and give in

I might be punch drunk tired, but I just had a crazy thought. What if I stopped looking at situations and people and thinking what I could get out of it or from them, and instead considered what it is that I could give to them? And I'm sure that you're reading this and saying, yeah, no kidding. It's called being generous you self-centered bastard. But is it such an automatic thought?

It is one thing to look at a person and situation and not want anything from them. And it's a completely different thing to actively look at a situation and say, "what is it that I can contribute to it."

This is kind of an old thought for me. This is the way I used to live my life back when I was "good". I was such a giver. But then life beat me down pretty handily and I shifted my focus on just trying to survive. The result was that I shut down that generous aspect of  my spirit and just looked after myself for a while. It resulted in a few nice personal achievements that I'm proud of. But what if I returned to that generosity of spirit for a while to come?

And I'm not talking financially. Lord knows that that will never happen. But, there are other things that are much more valuable than money. I have written about how I believe there is a flow to the universe. To me, the universe is a big Rube Goldberg machine and things affect you to bring about a certain action in you that affects others in a way that will in turn create another affect in others still.

I've experienced this in my life a number of times. A simple example was the time when my dead grandmother told me how she would use the fact that she was dead to give me something that I had asked her for. I thought it meant that nothing but good things would happen. But what instead happened was that a series of events occurred that pretty much destroyed me emotionally. Those events caused me to act irrationally and I packed up my clothes and took a crazy trip.

But it was on that trip that the thing that I had asked my grandmother for had happened. I would not have gotten what I had asked for if I hadn't entered that crazy mental state. Something had to force me out of my comfort zone and my near emotional breakdown did exactly that. And if it didn't happen on the exact day and time it did, I wouldn't have ended up in a certain spot 500 miles away when the other specific event occurred. It was like I was living in a giant Rube Goldberg machine. It's sort of like the thought that a butterfly flapping it's wings in America could cause a tidal wave in Japan.

So, since I know that this is how the universe works, since I have experienced these Rube Goldberg moments numerous times, and since I have these "psychic" impressions which have proven themself to be correct time and time again, maybe, instead of thinking that every psychic impression that I have is meant to benefit me in some way, maybe I need to ask myself, how can I contribute to the situation. Maybe I should ask myself how I could play my small part in someone else's Rube Goldberg machine.

And since I have had incident after incident that tells me that the world works like this, maybe I should not worry about how crazy people think I am when I play my part. Maybe I should just let go and give in to my crazy knowing that I'm actually pretty sane.

I remember right after that same grandmother had died. One of the first things that that grandmother said to me post-life was that she wanted me to tell my aunt, the woman who took care of her until her death, that she, my grandmother, had visited her after she had died and that my aunt had seen her. Well, for a long time I refused to relay that message because, you know, I'm not a crazy person.

But after a while I broke down and relayed that message. And instead of my Aunt looking at me like I was crazy (a look that I have gotten quite familiar with) my Aunt said that my grand mother had come to her as a cat that wouldn't leave the window sill of the window of the room that my grandmother lived and died in. My aunt said how it was so like my grandmother to come as a cat because my aunt was allergic to cats. And my aunt said that at the time, she had spoken aloud to the cat acknowledging that the cat was my grandmother.

So not only did my Aunt not think I was nuts, but I validated her so that she wouldn't think of herself as nuts. And now that I don't really have to live my life in fear of not surviving, maybe I could be this vessel which I have often gotten the impression that I should be. And as I think about it again for the first time in years, maybe I should have delivered the message that my dead father wanted me to relay to my brother. If only I could now remember what that message was. Oh well, hopefully it wasn't important.

The reason why all of this is coming up now is because yesterday I got the very clear message that I should contact someone that everyone in their right mind would tell me that I shouldn't contact. But I know what I was told by that voice in my head. I was told to contact them. I did and I understandably got a very cold response. And reading it tonight I thought, why did I even contact this person?

Well, now I'm starting to think that perhaps I wasn't supposed to contact them because I was supposed to get something out of it. Maybe I was supposed to contact them because they were supposed to get something out of it with no emotional payoff for me. Maybe what I should do is ask them if there is something that I could do to contribute to their life and just accept the fact that I will come off sounding like a crazy person. After all, shouldn't I be used to that by now? I pride my self in being completely nuts. So why should I lose my courage now?

And maybe this should be my policy moving forward. I really have accepted that I have failed at what I wanted to accomplish with my life. So, now that I know that I won't accomplish it, maybe it's time for me to give in to my life. Maybe I should just stop trying to be the man I wanted to be and just make my life about others. Wow, I can feel a part of myself dying a little just thinking about it. But maybe that's what I should do.

Hmm... I think I'll start with the situation in front of me and then take it from there. Maybe I'll again embrace the dude that I used to be. Well, I did really like that dude, so maybe it won't be all that bad.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I remember that time I was taken hostage

I just came back from watching Hunger Games: Catching Fire. It's better than the first movie. Where as the books got worse and worse to the point that I could barely stand them, the movies started out pretty good and is only getting better.

And walking home from the Grove I walked around a little. Man is that place beautiful this time of year. I kept thinking how lucky I was to be living near there. And for some reason, it reminded me of the time that I was held hostage. I'm not sure why I thought about that for the first time in years, but I did. It's an interesting story.

When I was 25 I was living in Dallas, Texas. It was just before my move to Los Angeles and I was working at an AT&T telephone directory distribution headquarters. I was doing data entry, but my boss really like me so she kept giving me more work.

At one point she is complaining about how people are falling behind. I'm sitting outside her office and I heard her talking to her right hand woman about how she's withholding payment to certain people because they're behind. I don't think much about it until one day when she asked me to take a trip with her out to one of the distribution centers that was behind.

I'm in the minivan and as we're arriving she says to me, Cristian, I want you to do something for me. I need someone to seem intimidating, so I want you to stand quietly behind me. I'm going to introduce you as an efficiency expert that we brought down from California and I'm going to use your presence to get them back on schedule. She tells that I'm not to saying anything, just stand there looking unimpressed. I agree.

We get there and I play my role and they seem a little intimidated. But at one point, they leave me alone in their office as the two women I was with went off to chat with someone. Alone in the office, the distribution center's assistance tells me that what we're doing is right. I ask her what she means. She tells me that they haven't been paid in 4 weeks and that her trailer is about to be repossessed. I don't say anything. Someone else tells me how they are months behind on their mortgage because of how slow AT&T is paying and the bank is calling them threatening to foreclose on their home.

I'm listening to this and I'm a little shocked because I overheard my boss talking about how the money is sitting in their account but she is withholding payment. I start to understand that I am on the wrong side of this battle. I begin to understand that my boss is the bad guy.

I leave the office thinking about what I was told. My heart completely went out to those people and I come up with a plan. I call aside the manager of the facility. I say to him, "I want you to do something, and I promise you you will get the money to pay your people. But you have to do exactly as I say." He agrees.

I tell him to take his van and block our van in. After that he is to come back to us and tell my boss that he blocked our van in and that he won't let us out until she takes him to the bank and gets the money that they're owed. I told him to tell my boss that they would be keeping me there until they came back, and afterwards they would let me go. I asked him if he under stood me and I could practically see his heart stop. I asked him again and he shakes his head. We both walk back to the group separately and I could see his hands shaking as he lights up a cigarette and walks away.

About 10 minutes later he walks back up. The poor man is practically crying. His hands still shaking he delivers his message and my boss is just shocked. She yells for a second and he doesn't budge. I could see her mind swimming because she had just dragged me, her temp, to this place and now I was being taken hostage. She began to think about how I could potentially sue AT&T over this. So very quickly she relents. She asks me if I'm ok waiting there and do my best to reassure her that I am.

The group leaves for about 20 minutes while I chat with the workers in the office. It's all pleasant and when my boss gets back, they collect me and we all leave. My boss apologized profusely for that and later on bumped my pay. She said it was for my hard work, and I certainly was working hard, but it probably also had something to do with being held hostage.

I'm not sure, but I think that was the thing that I've done which I'm the most proud of. I don't think that I'm that good of a person anymore. It seems that as the years go on, I get more and more jaded and self-centered. I really used to be a good person, but ever since I decided to see what it would be like to live my life if there wasn't a god, I've never quite been the same. Certainly I've taken more of an ownership of what happened to me, but I think that I've also been a little more protective of what I have and have been less willing to be generous of spirit.

As I think about it, it was probably the theme of self-sacrifice in the Hunger Games books that made me think of that. Self-sacrifice that doesn't count as martyrdom isn't easy and doesn't happen very often. I guess that I used to be a better person than I am. And I guess the truth is that the longer I live, the worse of a person that I'll become. Luckily, I probably won't notice the difference. And since the majority of the people I know only know this current version of me, they won't notice much of a change either.

Hmm... I guess I'm just grateful that there was a time that I was a better person.

But, you know what? I was thinking the other day that it's possible that my journey of spiritual evolution didn't stop when I stopped meditating and believing in god. Some of the most profound psychic experiences that I've had have been since I've "lost my spiritual way".

What I was thinking the other day was that maybe spiritually has nothing to do with meditating and acting moral. Maybe spirituality has solely to do with a person's ability to connect with the secret workings of the universe.

I have long believed that the "spiritual path" that religions speak of and that connects to the god that they speak of, is actually more about connecting with the flow of the universe. I've always believed that we are all swept up within current of the universe and like an insect floating on top of it, we could choose to fight the current, swim to the edge of the cosmic river or let go and go where the universe takes us.

Granted, if we let go, we are still going to get sick and hurt and die. There's no preventing that. But if we are flowing at the same pace of the universe, from where we float everything would seem to stand still and there's wonder to be found in those seemingly still moments. I've always believed that knowledge becomes more easily accessible in that seeming stillness. And the universe seems much more open with that knowledge if we just stop fighting the flow.

So, having said all of that, I'm starting to believe that it's possible that even though I no longer meditate and I no longer go looking for things that i can do to change people's lives for the better, maybe all of the things that I do now have put me in better contact with the universe than I have ever been.

That's a tall order though, because at my peek, knowledge seemed to flow to me like a tidal wave. I was talking to the dead and simple meditation made me feel like I was high every day. I don't feel like that now. But I seem to have a much more open channel, not to the dead people I spoke to, but to the secrets hidden in the natural folds of it's spaces. At least that's what I'm starting to think.

Certainly meditation has various physiological changes on your body that can't be overlooked. But my ability to learn things that only an outside observer could see about what's going on in the lives of others, has increased dramatically. At least it seems that way. But perhaps it only seems like that because I've forgotten the details of my life, much how I had forgotten about the time I was a hostage.

Hmm... That's a tough one. One day I have to re-read 'The First Day After Life'. Something tells me that I will remember a number of things about my life that I had forgotten. I wonder if it would be an interesting read or if it would just make me cringe. Well, maybe one day I'll find out.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In France, I'm selling as many books as John Grisham

Holy Crap! Well, my intention for this blog was a lot different a few minutes ago. I will get back into what I was going to say, but just now I decided to find out the ranking of my lastest release in France so that I could reference it here.

Apparently my latest release has entered the top 100 at Amazon France. And I don't mean the top 100 erotica books, or the top 100 romance books. It has entered the top 100 best seller list on all of Amazon. My 30 page short story is just below John Girsham's latest 466 page, month old release and above Hunger Games... even with the latest Hunger Games movie just out. (Holy crap, did I just write that?) That's um... that's a new achievement for me.

That makes what I'm about to say even more tragic. A few days ago I decided to do something that I never do; I read a few pages by 2 of my bestselling colleagues. Both are stories that made it to the New York Times bestselling list. And you know what? I now understand why my stories don't make it to the bestselling lists in English. My stories lack something that I can't give them.

And you know what else is true, they lack something that I could never give them. I could probably write for another 10 years and never be able to give them what I read in those stories. Authors have styles and that style is outside of my capability... mostly because I'm not a woman.

But at least I understand it now. At least I get that I will never be great at what I do. I understand that I have the ability to do fine. After all, one of my short stories is one of the 100 most popular books in all of France. That's not nothing. But at the same time, that same story has only sold 13 copies in English this month. That certainly doesn't represent the beginnings of greatness.

But now that I have accepted my own lack of potential greatness, I feel a little bit more at ease with myself. I am barely more than ordinary. My writing is barely more than ordinary. Ok, fine. I accept it. And I think that I am reinforcing my ordinariness right now with the current story I'm writing.

It's interesting, with my new development team and their schedule, I have managed to return to the life that I had back in 2009 when I first started writing. I wake up in the morning and don't check my email until after I've completed my writing for the day. I'm not even writing that much, but it feels kinda good.

But what I am writing... Ok, a little background. I am in constant search of a hit in English. One of my bestselling friends told me that I should write a longer erotic romance with shape shifters in it. It is all the rage right now. I decided to do that. That is what I've been working on. But even as I'm writing it, I see its flaws.

It's not that the flaws are that I'm a poor story craftsman or that I'm not constructing great sentences. The problem is that my subject matter is not bestselling subject matter. I'm writing the equivalent of literary fiction for erotica, and lord knows nobody wants to read literary fiction.

But I can't help it. Either I can write erotica, or I can loosen my constraints and let loose what's in side of me. Does this current story have enough twists and turns? Yes. Am I filling it with enough real life experiences to round out its emotional breath? Yes. Does it hit the sub-genres that are popular? Yes.

But as I wrote the scene where the main girl is being beat up in the locker room by a group of thug girls and then is being bloodied by her mother, I wonder how I can expect anyone to want to read this. Granted, I'm writing a New Adult story and one of the defining characteristics of New Adult is that the main character is troubled, think Hunger Games. But the abuse that the characters usually experience doesn't appear on screen. Yet here I am putting the abuse front and center for all of my readers to squirm at. This is not good, but this is the story that is waiting to come out of me.

I can't stop writing it though. I can't just turn my attention to a sequel to the latest French bestseller because there is something deep inside of me telling me that writing this current story is a part of my greater path. For years now I've been planning on writing the story about the abused girl who in a moment of weakness abandons the only person who lovers her to explore the universe but then can't get back home. And in part, the erotic Werewolf story that I'm currently writing is practice for that.

My big future story is from the perspective of a young woman. I've had real hesitations about doing that considering I'm a man, and my current story is just that. I've hesitated because I didn't know how I would handle the fact that the girl is abused and in the current story I'm practicing handling that.

Of course, it's not like anyone will want to read my future story either. But I've been planning my future story for years. I am really trying to make those stories my legacy. I consider them my only real shot at immortality. The story line is grand enough to be loved, but there is no telling if I have the special something it takes to breath that unique flavor of life into it to make it wonderful.

There might not be anything I can do to make that series wonderful, but the story that I'm writing currently is at least an attempt to give my future project what it takes to thrive. I would like to think that by writing my current story, though it has no chance of success, I'm increasing the probability of future success.

You know what, after writing all of this, I'm actually feeling better about writing this Werewolf story that no one will read. I am not a great writer. I accept that. I need practice if I'm going to perhaps be better than I am right now. People usually spend money to attend school to become better at stuff. But not only do I have enough money coming in that I could afford to take this break, but there is a chance that I could make a few bucks when my current story is done. All of my stories make some money even if it's just $500.

So yeah, I actually feel good about what I'm doing now. The rest of this year I'm considering as time off to better my craft and better prepare myself for my shot at glory. And perhaps the software I'm creating will sustain my finances as my income dips due to lack of releases. Who knows. But hopefully when I end my current story, I will be a better writer because of it and my future story, the one that is supposed to make me immortal, will be better because of it as well. But, who knows.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Today I got one of my best compliments ever

Writing is an interesting thing. I clearly have a complex relationship with it. Because I grew up with a form of dyslexia I have a natural bias to think of myself as bad at it. The fact that the only class that I ever failed in my life was a class called Writing when I was 7 years old, gives me a certain bias against it. 

But yet, even before I became an author, I had made more money as a writer than anything else. I was a producer for many years, but even then I was a writer/producer. Logically I have to think that I don't suck at it, but in reality do believe that I suck?

I wrote an article today about what the erotica you purchase says about who you are. I had done it because I knew that I would get a minimum of 4,000 "reads" and that would mean 4,000 free, and targeted commercials for my erotica books. But I am surprised how good I feel about what I've written. It's very smart. I genuinely think that those who "read" it will learn something about themselves that could help to make their life better. I think it's really insightful while being quite effective marketing. 

So rereading that, I have to ask myself, 'could a bad writer write that?' I have to ask myself how bad of a writer do I think I am.

I guess the reason why this comes up is because of what I wrote the last time and the email I got this morning. The email was from someone who I'm sure did not read my blog post. It was a fan of my erotica work. She had written me before, but she wanted to write me again telling me that she had just gone back and given one of my books a 5 star review. It was the book that I described in the last past as the first erotica story that I ever wrote. It was the story that I described as being 'good'.

In the letter, the reader repeatedly told me how good she thought the story was. She mentioned how she cried hoping that the 2 main characters would get together. And she concluded it by literally thanking me for my "talented writing". 

How does one respond to that... especially since it's clear how I feel about my level of ability. It seems that there are a lot of great things that I can accept about myself. Lord knows that I'm not modest. But it kind of makes it hard to breath to think about what she wrote. 

As I think about it, this kind of reminds me of something else I used to experience. Up until a few years ago, I used to have the equivalent of a panic attack every time someone would gush about how good of a person I was. And believe it or not, I used to get it at least once or twice a year. See, I told you that I wasn't modest. 

But the last time I had a panic attack, it was after a Christmas party. I was with this woman who I was hanging with at the time. This was our 2nd party for the season and the first party had a few of the same people attending. 

At the first party I had done what I would often do back then. The conversation would turn to someone and their quibbles about life, and I would defend life. I would try to reshape the quibbler's understanding of their circumstances by giving them information about the way that the world works. But, like I said, this wasn't anything new for me. This was my standard routine.

But when I attended the second party, there was a woman there that I had had one of my talks with. She and the woman I came with, at one point, cornered me and proceeded to rehash our conversation. They both tell me how each of them had left the party and thought about everything I had said. They then proceeded to tell me how it changed the way they looked at life. And then they "gushed" about how great and wise they thought I was.

I did my usual response which was to smile and nod and do my best not to hear it while hoping it would stop, but it continued. But soon it came to an end and a little while later I left for home. Driving home I started to have my usual panic attack. I try to block out the memory of the situation but it won't go away.

When I get home, I sit in the chair I'm sitting in now and I can barely breath. Once my breathing returns I think about how ridiculous my response was. I then decide to do my little thing I do to reconnect emotions with difficult memories and I figure out why people telling me I'm a good person sends me into a panic. 

What I remembered was being 12 years old at a teen camp for young Christians. I remember that even then I wasn't about to follow the crowd and pretend that I believed something that I didn't. And I remember being a really good and moral kid. I used to be the absolute last one to leave church ever night out of respect for the preacher, but I was the only one who didn't pretend that I was being "saved" by what was being said. I was 12, but I knew who I was and what I believed and I wasn't about to fake it with anyone. 

Anyway, at this camp I was in a cabin that shared a wall with the girls shower. So naturally, one of these god-fearing 15 year old boys drilled a hole in the wall so that everyone could take turns watching the girls shower. Of course. And there was once when a couple of the girls I knew was about to take a shower that I subtly walked to the girls cabin, subtly called my female friend over and told her not to react immediately but there was a hole into their shower and that she shouldn't go in there right away.

Her being fifteen, what did she do? She ran from me into the shower and screamed for everyone to get out and get dressed. Further proof that 15 year old girls don't understand what subtly is. 

Anyway, I wasn't about to run from what I did. I did it and that was that. I wasn't going to rat out the person who drilled the hole, but at the same time, I wasn't going to sell out my female friends' integrity for the "respect" of some dudes that I would never see again. And after all, wasn't what I did the Christian thing to do? Hypocrites!

So I did this and I was prepared to accept the consequences for it. The consequences were that every girl from the cabin came out and graciously thanked me telling me how good I was for doing it. And my older brother, who I came with, who I respected, who I looked up to, pulled me aside, looked at me disappointingly and told me that I shouldn't have done what I did. I looked at him hurt asking him how he would feel if his girlfriend were one of the girls being spied on. He said that she wasn't and he left it at that. 

I was 12. This taught me a valuable lesson. It taught me that being a good person resulted in rejection by the people you care about. So naturally, every time from that point forward when someone graciously told me how good of person I was, it would result in me having the equivalent of a panic attack. 

I was able to break that Pavlovian response of praise and panic. And it has also helped that people don't gush over how good of a person I am anymore. Hmm... as I think about it, I wonder if me not being a good person anymore is linked to residual effects of my Pavlovian response. I'm going to have to give that some thought.

Anyway, I write all of that to draw it into comparison with the feeling that I'm having right now about the praise over my writing. I don't know if it's exactly the same, because I have also gotten really horrible reviews about the exact same book. I feel like I should be able to say that the nature of art is it's subjectivity. In fact, the individual responses to work is what defines something as art. I feel like I should know and embrace this, but I just can't grasp it.

There is something in me that says that it's either all or nothing. Either everyone should love it or it has to be considered bad. Yes, I know it's ridiculous. And I would certainly dissuade other people from thinking that way, but that has been ingrained in me in some way. 

Ya know, maybe it's not the Pavlovian response that is leading to my feeling of praise panic, and instead the dichotomy of people loving and hating my work.  

Either way, perhaps I should consider another profession. Maybe I wasn't made to be an author. It really is a bitch of a process, especially the way I do it. My process is to mine every thing of emotional weight in my life and then wrap a story around it and hang it out exposed for everyone to read and critique. Why would someone do that to themselves? How could that not make a person crazy?

I think that at some point I need to pull the cord on my life and say 'this is enough'. I am always chasing after immortality. And I do it at the expense of everything. I have a great life, but man have I had to give up on a lot of things to have it. And the older I get, the more I realize that I will not be able to accomplish what I set out to do when I was a kid. 

Even back when I was 15 I wanted nothing less but to change the world. I wanted to create something that made people's lives better. Even then, when I was a struggling dyslexic, I thought it would have to do with writing. But as I get older and older, I am starting to realize that I'm just not good enough to make it happen. And I'm not talking about writing a hit book. I'm referring to writing something that helps to change many people's lives for the better. 

I know that I'm not out of time, but I feel like I'm approaching the limit of my ability and it isn't good enough. 

Don't cry for me though. My image has been immortalized in a life sized bronze statue of me. I was the first person ever to get a certain type of low budget movie theatrically released. I got to be a national champion at my sport. I have changed the self-perceptions and hence lives of hundreds if not thousands of people with a video I released. I'm about to release software that will reshape the way that self-publishers publish their books. I've done stuff. It's just that I'm going to have to start coming to grips with the fact that by my own definition, my life will be a failure. But I tried though. I think that's the important part. I tried really hard and I did, and will continue to do, the best that I can.

And hey, according to some people, I've already done something special. I've had completely original ideas and I've moved people to tears with my writing. I guess, though, I just expected more from myself.  

Ha! You know it takes a certain level of skill to take the most generous compliment that I've ever gotten about my writing and use it to further the idea that I'm not good enough. I guess I should give myself credit for that as well. I have the ability to stick with an idea in the face of overwhelming evidence. I say that that's also quite the skill. :-)

Anyway, I really do need to consider choosing another profession. This one might make me too raw. And on a positive note, maybe if I ended my all consuming pursuit of immortality, I might actually find someone who I could be happy with and life a happy content life. Ha! Who am I kidding? It would take more like a miracle for something like that. But meanwhile, I will just push on. 

I'm off to have a conversation with my software developer in China. Even at 2:30am, my work day never ends. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm returning to writing good books

I am often confronted with my lack of success as an author. Just the other day I learned that at least 3 more of my fellow erotica authors are making over $200k a year. And they don't earn their money the way I do it, with business sense and smarts. They just write books that readers want to read. Man, if I had to rely on that, I'd probably still be an office assistant.

But every so often I get a review that confuses me. Ok, I've accepted that I'm not that great of a writer. I get that I lack that instinctual understanding of what a reader wants to read. I understand that I am not a woman and that it truly takes a woman to know what a woman wants. I get all of that. But some times I get reviews that make me think that I don't understand what I don't understand.

I'll probably sell about 40,000 books this year, but relatively speaking, my readership is small. But yes, with that many books sold, I certainly have fans. But I can't understand why my fans like my books when so many others reject it so clearly.

A couple of days ago I had a fan write me and say:  "I have read one of you books before and STEAMY and GOOD was an understatement." Seriously? If that's true, why do I struggle to sell more than 100 of any of my books in English on Amazon? Another fan wrote: "Pen Name, please keep writing these wonderful stories that give us that ever beautiful glimpse into another life and time." Come on, really?

How can these people feel this way? How could they like these stories so much when so many others won't even give me the time of day? If they were to get a glimpse of my $200k friend's stories would they be gone like yesterday's trash? Do they only like my stuff because they haven't found the really good stuff yet? Because I tell you that my retention of readers after reading one of my free books isn't as high as the most successful writers on my forum.

Anyway, that's what I have been thinking about for a while; my ineptitude as a writer. And those constant thoughts of inadequacy have not made it easy for me to get back to writing. But I am getting back to writing. My last story, which was my first story in almost a year, is not selling well. It is doing as well as the last one that I wrote before that. Both have not performed well.

But in spite of all of that, I am actually going to return to writing. And not short story writing that has given me my living for the past 2 years, but real writing. It probably won't be very steamy, or sexy. But it will have interesting characters with clearly drawn goals. Every chapter will end with a cliff hanger, and I'm going to try and make the reader cry. 

The story is going to mean something to me like the first erotica story that I ever wrote. I thought that story was good back then, and I still think it is. I'm hoping that I will feel the same way about this new one. I don't know how good of a writer I am, but I'm going to give it my all.

Ya know, writing is a funny thing. I've hit #1 in my categories 4 different times in three different countries, yet it couldn't be clearer to me how inadequate my writing is. And I'm sure that people reading this will say, "you've had four #1's? Doesn't that mean that you're a good writer?" But the answer is, no it doesn't. There are a number of people that make a lot of money on my forum. I am not one of them. Readers let you know how they feel about your work with their dollars. And clearly I'm just not that good. I try, but I'm just not. 

But maybe the next book though. Maybe with this next book series English speakers will say to me,  "We like your stuff. And we like it so much that we've told our friends and they bought it too." I don't know. Maybe it's too much to ask. But maybe.

I just came back from watching the movie 'Ender's Game'. I read the book. The movie isn't good. It's like cliff notes from the book. The bigoted author of Ender's Game really understands how to tell a story. Thinking about that is what brought this on. I guess that i just lack that story structure instinct. I can recognize it, but I just can't get myself to replicate it... And that kind of sucks.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I have officially lost my ability to have original thoughts. Here is how I know.

Ok, I don't want to sound dramatic but I just realized that I'm losing my ability to have original thoughts and my life is over! I'm kidding. I'm kidding. Yes, I'm losing my ability to have original thoughts, but my life isn't over. It just feels like it's over.

This realization stems from the fact that 2 years ago I started thinking about writing my next book under the name Cristian YoungMiller. Over 2 years I've laid in bed at night kicking around ideas. And then when I think I have it and I go to write it, I immediately get writer's block and I realize that I haven’t finished flushing out the idea enough. 

I can almost deal with that, though. What is killing me is that what I do have isn't particularly original. Yeah, the whole concept is kind of original, but there are no alcoholic, verbally abusive penises in this story. There are no masturbating, fruit headed children. It isn't even a brilliant channeling of deep inner pain to literary allegory like in Samurai Zombie Hunter.

All I’ve come up with is a story about a girl that wishes out of her life and ends up in the body of an alien who was dealing with the most difficult thing in her alien life before she requested escape from her own life.

Have I really been reduced to this type of story?

Last night I lay in bed trying to think of which of my many pains and struggles I could weave into the fabric of the story to give it the life that readers instinctually respond to and I could think of nothing. You know what I blame this on? Reading.

Did I read fiction before I wrote Happiness Thru the Art of…? No, I didn’t. In fact I avoided it on purpose. And what resulted is a story, that someone could look at as a truly original work. But I’ve been “reading” so much recently that all of it is starting to seep into me. They are adulterating me with their structure and exploration of personal strife.  And the bad thing is that I can’t unread what I’ve read. It’s there and I can’t get rid of it.

Say what you want about my ‘Everybody Masturbates’ books, but in 10 years, people will still be buying it. They might even still be buying them in 20 years. Do you think anyone is going to give a god damn about my new series 10 minutes after they finish reading it? No chance.

And meanwhile I’m reading these books by these authors who have or will transcended their deaths and yet when I sit and think of why these are good so I can replicate them, I can’t figure it out. So these books have robbed me of my ability to freely associate my wild ideas and they bewilder me as to why they’re good.

I imagine that this is a problem that a number of great writers have. They write their first book and it’s a vomit of all of their original ideas that have been bottled up for years. People respond to it and they’re loved for it. But time goes by and they read more and they learn more and their second book lacks that spark of genius that the first book had.  They have educated themselves out of originality.

You know, this is at the heart of why I truly appreciated Picasso. Picasso started out learning the basics. He was actually a very talented fine artist. When I was in Barcelona, I saw a work he did when he was 15 and it rivaled the paintings done by the best realistic painters of 200 years before his time.

But he didn’t stay with that style. He lived in a cave with an artist friend when he was 16 and just painted. And somehow he took everything he had been taught and then he let it go. He truly thought differently. He let his mind go to crazy places and the result was he twice reshaped the landscape of art. That is the greatest representation of genius that I could possibly think of.

Instead, what do I do? I conform. I second guess myself. I learn more and what I learn makes me worse. It makes me more ordinary and boring. I have all of these calculated crazy rules like how I have no limit on what I say on facebook and my blog so that I can loosen up my ability to free associate. And yet, all it does is make me write a story about a girl, who in a moment of weakness abandons her little sister, the one person who truly loves her, to the will of man who had been molesting her for years.

Is this seriously the best that I can do?

All I can think of is that I’m pathetic. This story is crap. And unless I can figure out some inner demon that I can expunge into the shadows of this story, or some angle to this story that makes someone do a double take when I tell them the plot, I’m going to abandon it.

Ugh! It makes me disgusted to think of how pathetic and awful that story is. I truly have lost the heart of me. And now, all I have left is all of the superficial things about me that diminish even as I type this.

I have to stop this here. I am now too upset to continue.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Today I started a new business and this one is kind of awesome!

Today I started a new business. It all started about 6 weeks ago with the convergence of 3 events. The first event was when my lovely publishing assistant/project manager decided to go back to school. She was still willing to work for me at the same time. But she's a friend and I could tell that she was overwhelmed, so I started doing everything myself again. I thought about hire someone else, but whoever I hire, I have to trust with financial info. That limits my options greatly.

The second event happened around the same time. I was at a friend's birthday party and I was talking to someone I know. They were telling me how they wanted to create software for authors. He didn't know what that software was, but he mentioned how he was planning on coming up with the perfect software idea. Having had a few drinks, I immediately told him he was doing it wrong. I told him that he needed to come and watch me work and then figure out how he could make my publishing life easier. He thought that my idea was better so he asked me if he could call me the following Monday to chat more about it. I told him he could.

I always like to be prepared for everything I do, so on that Monday I decided to put some time into coming up with ideas that I could tell this guy. I came up with 2 very solid ideas that would make my publishing life a lot easier. I sent them over to him suggesting that we chat. He never got back to me. He was drinking at the time, so I just assumed that while talking to me, he was writing a check that his courage couldn't cash.

But as I drudged through my added administrative work, I really started thinking about the ideas that I sent to the guy. I decided that I really wanted software that could do these things. So having some extra money to invest, I posted the job on a web developer site and found a software developer. I told him what I wanted and he quoted me a reasonable price. I put him to work.

But as soon as I hired him, I started thinking about what else I currently do which would be better, and more easily done by a piece of software. They were things like updating my website and creating newsletters. Those things help me to sell more books, but it takes hours every week and is very tedious. And because they are tedious, reality is that my site is never up-to-date and I don't always send out the newsletters announcing my new releases. By neglecting those duties, I am pretty much leaving money on table. So I figured, why not expand my software to do that for me as well.

This is when I started thinking, 'well, if I would find this software useful, then wouldn't other self-publishing authors?' I went back and forth on this quite a bit. The reason is because my publishing company is unique. I have to manage 170 titles which include working with 7 translators in 6 different languages. This means that I have different business requirements than your average author. And if I just sold the system to medium sized book publishers, I wouldn't sell very many. The authors that publish 4 or 5 titles a year are the ideal market. What I was designing would be overkill for those authors. So I would end up spending a lot of money trying to reach a market, when my market wouldn't be very large to begin with.

This was when a third event happened. I had hired a web development company for another website I have. They did a horrible job and I fired them. In turn, they hacked my server and deleted all of the files for, my retail website that sells products from the Bahamas.

I had the website files backed up on my laptop, so I just re-uploaded the site. But it started me thinking about I started that company 6 years ago with my mother. But 7 months ago, my mother left the business. Since she used to ship many of the products out from the Bahamas, I had to discontinue about 100 products (80% of my inventory). The site was designed many years ago and the site was hard to deal with, so I never really took the products off the site. I thought that this could be a good time to do it.

The roommate who I had my roommate war with, used to design websites for a living and he told me about WordPress. It sounded like the right fit for and I always thought that I would research it more if I ever had to redesign the site. Now was that time, and I decided that I would figure how I could use WordPress to build the new

It took a while to learn but I did it. And once I figured it out, I liked the whole ecosystem for selling WordPress Plugins. Basically, if a person wants to create a website, they can do it on WordPress for free. But if you want to do something special like create an eCommerce site, you have to pay for a webstore plugin. If you then wanted to ask your customers to join your mailing list right before checkout, there was another plugin you could buy to do that. It's really a great system. It's very consumer friendly.

That's when the idea for my new venture started coming together. I was batting around the idea of selling the new publishing software, but I didn't want to have to create a website and convince authors, who are really tech-ignorant to learn it. But most authors with websites have WordPress websites. So if I create this software to work with WordPress, I would have a whole ecosystem to sell within that authors are already familiar with.

That's when I had the idea of breaking my software up into different modules (or plugins). If an author just wanted to manage their books and advertising links, they could just get the first module. If they then wanted to have their website updated automatically with their new titles, they could get the website module. If they wanted to use it to automatically create their newsletters, they could buy the Newsletter module. Each would be sold separately, and the author wouldn't have to learn anything new to do it.

Even with this realization, though, there were still 3 things that made me hesitant. I wasn't actually sure who would own this software after it was done. Would I or the developer? Another issue was that the developer was currently creating a desktop app and not something that could easily be turned into a WordPress plugin. And third, I still wasn't sure if authors would want to buy this.

But I was chatting with the most successful self-publishing author I know. She had mentioned that she had just hired her first assistant. I decided to mention to her that I was creating my first digital assistant, and I told her what the software would do. Without hesitating for a second, she asked me if I was going to be selling it to others, hinting that she would want to buy a copy. Granted, she would also qualify as a medium sized publisher, but her quick reply, gave me a little confidence that others would want the software.

The other 2 questions were answered today. I have actually been having a lot of problems in getting stage 1 done. There are problems that I shouldn't be having. Every time my developer has sent me the latest draft, it has been riddled with errors. I didn't understand why, because at its heart, the software is pretty standard. It's just what I'm using it for that's unique.

But these errors have been going on for 4 weeks, until finally on Friday he was one function from being done. I was doing a final check of the software when I noticed this glitch. He told me it would be fixed in an hour. An hour turned to 4. 6 hours later I got an email saying that he needed to think about this seemingly simple fix over night. I didn't hear from him all of the next day, so I emailed him this morning. He explained to me that this simple fix, can't be fixed. This function is something super basic, so I decided to call him to discuss it.

It was then that he told me what the problem was. It turns out that when he first advised me about making it a desktop app instead of a web based app, he made mistake. If this was a web based app, like something that could easily be turned into a WordPress plugin, it would have been done in a week. The desktop app software he was working with was made by Microsoft, but was free and hence, filled with errors.

That's when I asked him how hard it would be to turn it into something I could sell on WordPress. He told me that not only would it be easy, but it would solve all of our error problems. I then asked him if we could next build the website module and newsletter module so that we could sell them separately. He said that it wouldn't be a problem. So that answered that question.

The only question I had left was who would own this software once we were done. This was something I had to dance around. At one point I suggest that "we" could develop it. And his response kind of gave me my answer. He told me about 3 other apps that he had developed for others. They paid him, and he developed it. His client then sold it in the Android App store and other places. This told me that he was a 'work for hire' guy. Like his other clients, I would owe it.

So there you have it. We are now using the heart of what he already developed, but he is turning it into a piece of software that users can purchase in the WordPress store to make their publishing life a ton easier. And initially, it will be developed for me. But for only a few hundred dollars more, he will turn it into something that can be sold in the WordPress store.

I'm making the app anyway, and I suspect it will pay for itself with my increased sales. But I will also be able to sell the software and at least make back my money. Best case scenario is that it gives me an addition passive income for the next few years.

But there you have it. Today I started a new business. And unlike any of my other companies, it is for something that people actually need, instead of what they want, or don't need at all. It's for something that will help authors make more money, while making their publishing process easier.

In truth, I'm not looking forward to starting the business as much as I am of having this super cool software that will make my publishing process so much easier. But hopefully, as a friend said, this business will also pay for a house in the hills. From that friend's mouth to god's ear.

Friday, June 7, 2013

My stories are outselling the owner of Amazon's and here is how that fact has changed me.

I had a unusual realization just now. I was watching Charlie Rose like usual and Charlie had as a guest the wife of the owner of She is a novelist and has released a new book. The conversation was interesting, and as an author myself, I like to know what other authors' experiences are like.

Mckenzie Bezos' passion impressed me. She wanted to be an author since she was 12 and she met Jeff Bezos years before he opened the largest book store in the world. Mckenzie is really passionate about writing. She went to Princeton so that she could be taught by Toni Morrison and she worked on her first novel for 10 years.

After the interview I couldn't help but go to Amazon and check out her book's ranking. An author's Amazon ranking is basically the measure of an author. It is how we judge each other. That, and the money, are how we keep score.

Well, what I found out from her ranking is that I have about 4 short stories that are outselling her novel. When I saw that I got a quick rush of satisfaction. But it was only for a second. What followed quickly was a feeling of guilt. I had felt good because I was outselling the wife of the owner of the biggest book store in the world. She had all of the advantages in the world, including promotional opportunities like being on Charlie Rose, and I was outselling her. Some might say that that is a legitimate reason to gloat.

But the guilt I felt was because, for the first time, I saw being an author in a different way. I've said many times that I don't enjoy writing. I enjoy having written. I'm a story teller and writing is the only way that I can do it. But take a way the billion dollars and Amazon advantages and she is just like me. She desperately wants to write. But more than me, she lives and breathes it. She is so passionate about it.

And staring at her book ranking, I suddenly saw her, not as part owner of Amazon, but as an author who is struggling to capture the heart and imagination of readers. In the core of her being, it doesn't matter if her family is worth a billion dollars, because no amount of money will truly satisfy her soul like the chance to make someone laugh or cry from reading her words. And having the opportunity to make someone laugh or cry is not a life experience that you can buy.

Her internal measure of self is exactly the same as the poorest of my author friends. We all write for similar reasons and because I am currently succeeding at it more than someone else, isn't something to gloat about. It doesn't seem right to point at another author, who wants nothing more than to enrich someone else's life and put them down because they haven't figured out how to accomplish this generous act of spirit. I'm naturally competitive, but suddenly competing about how successful you've been at taking someone on a journey of imagination, just seems wrong.

I think, from this point forward, I'm going to pull back on how often I tell people that I'm an international bestselling author. I know that I bring it up so often, and so quickly, because I struggled for so long. But somehow, after watching that interview with a struggling author who wants to write for all of the correct reasons, I feel that I need to show a little more quiet gratitude. She's not out trying to crush the competition like her husband. Her greatest satisfaction in life comes from bringing other people joy. That is at the heart of being an author. Because I am who I am and have gone through what I have, I never truly understood that humble desire before. But I do now.

I make my living as an author. There are those that are moved by my work. It doesn't matter how many or why they're moved. I have been granted unrestricted access to the imagination of people. It is almost a sacred act if you think about it. And for that, I am grateful.

And in the wee hours of this quiet night, I wish my brotherhood of authors, including Mrs. Bezos, the same privilege that I have been granted. Being an author isn't a competition; it's a connection. And as long as you're able to financially sustain yourself, it isn't the masses that matter, it's the connection you make with one individual. That individual is the person that is reading your book. Nothing else really matters. I learned that tonight and I'm glad that I did.

It was a good interview. I think that watching it has made me a different person.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Days of My Life Having Value Might Not Be Over

I can say without reservation or ego that at the heart of who I am, I am a person that wants to help people better understand themselves and life, and to help people feel better about themselves. That was who I was when I was 14 and it's who I am today. I think that one of the reasons that I began writing was as a way to fulfill that purpose. Writing was my forum for helping people.

A lot of things have changed over the years, though. My bright-eyed openness of spirit has really dimmed. Looking back on it, it wasn't even real event that closed my open heart. It was my perception of reality. Looking back on it, my reality was pretty great (comparatively speaking), but I couldn't escape my expectations and interpretations of my life. And it wore me down. It batted me around. And as a result, I am now only a shadow of the good person that I used to be.

Still though, at my core, I am a person who wants to help people. So now I do it in less grandiose ways. Perhaps I only help my friends to understand their life better. Perhaps, I teach a relative something that gives them a sense of empowerment. I'm always looking for the opportunities and I usually take them when my greatly diminished generosity of spirit allows me.

In the last few years, though, I've had a couple of opportunities to change literally thousands of lives. I'm grateful for those opportunities. I released a couple of YouTube videos that according to the comments, really shaped the way people viewed themselves. And my 'Everybody Masturbates'  books have been a surprising positive influence on a couple hundred lives.

I say all of that because, I think that today, I might have been able to once again 'do good'. At this moment in my life, I am an erotica author. That's all I am. I'm not the greatest or most successful, but I am an international bestseller. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely grateful to be that. But my job is simply to get people to masturbate. I accept that my life doesn't have much social value at this point.

Granted, I have received a few really wonderful emails from fans that have been very emotionally moved by my erotic stories. And granted, I have had a few fans tell me how my stories have played a role in gaining a greater sense of intimacy with their spouse. And, for that, again, I'm grateful. But hey, when I set out in this life, I had visions of reshaping the world, so, needless to say, I have fallen pretty far from the person that I was and who I was hoping to be.

But I say all of that to say that today, I think that I did something special. Today, while outlining my next erotica story, I think that I came up with something that is "good". It's subtle. And anyone that knows me knows I don't do subtle very well. But this is and this is a greater good.

Outlining the story, it was like I could put myself in the mind of my readers. There, I could feel the way the reader's view of herself could change. I hit "it" with this story. Yes, the story is just as likely to make the reader masturbate as the other books in this series. But this one is special. This erotic story has the potential to reshape the way the reader looks at herself. It's a good thing. I'm really proud of it.

Compared to any author whose name you know, I don't sell very many books. I make my living from being prolific. So, it's not like very many people will read the story. But for the first time in a while, I think that I am once again doing good. And that feels good. It makes me believe that perhaps the remainder of my life might be of use to someone past myself and the people immediately around me. And perhaps I have an opportunity to be "good" even as I work really hard to get people to get themselves off. I have to admit, that would be a nice thing.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about anything. I have been lucky enough to do enough good for a life time. I could die now and be assured that my life has been an incredible net positive. So I know that I should just be grateful for that. But it certainly feels nice that perhaps my days of helping to change people's lives isn't all behind me. So today was a good day for me. Yep, today was a really good day.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Crazy Author Self Doubt: Take Two

So, it took me 3 hours before I forgot about how much I liked what I just wrote and started to think that it sucks. Well, it's not that it sucks, because it does achieve all of the goals I set for it. It's funny. It's exciting. It's emotional deep. It has flushed-out characters.

Those aren't the problems. It's that it probably references sex way too much for network TV. Hmm, well, I just watched the pilot of 'How to Live with your Parents'. So maybe it's possible that it doesn't mention sex too much for a network show. But maybe it mentions sex too much for a show about zombies. Or more precisely,  maybe there are too many jokes about sex in a show about zombies. And to think that I cut back on the sexual references from the novel... or did I?

I have to say that this is really feeling more like Buffy the Vampire slayer than The Walking Dead. I think that is a huge mistake. I guess it isn't quite like Buffy, but it has a hint of it. It's more like 'Royal Pains' with zombies and samurai swords. Or 'Bones' with zombies and samurai swords. It's kind of like a hybrid of drama and comedy.

Normally I would say that that's great. I love those types of shows. But 'know thy audience'. It's more like 'Smallville' with humor and sex or hmm... I'm not sure.

Maybe I shouldn't be the one to write the pilot. All I did was turn the book into a pilot. Ok, maybe that's what I was supposed to do, but I'm not sure if that was the correct decision. Maybe I should do a pass on it where I strip out all of the sexual references and most of the humor. Maybe I should just try to keep it at one joke per episode.

You know what channels would like this the way I wrote it? MTV. It would fit perfectly with Teen Wolf. Man it would fit well. Or maybe BBC America. USA or TNT might go for it as well. They all love those dramedies. This is absolutely a dramedy.

As I think about it, 'Brothers and Sisters' and GCB were dramedies on ABC Sunday night. Both had a lot of sexual references. Once Upon a Time is a fantasy show on Sunday night and could possibly have similar audiences as SZH... maybe.

Or maybe I'm over thinking this. What I wrote is absolutely an adaption of the novel into a procedural  It's well written and exciting. It sets up a series well and has interesting plot possibilities. I did what I was supposed to do.

Ah screw it. I need to re-read this. Maybe there isn't as much sex and I'm thinking there is.

Maybe I should just stick to Romance where I just got the most awesome reviews recently. The review I got yesterday said "I loved it. I went on an emotional journey. I felt the story was a bit fantasy, reality and love." A review I got last week said " It was amazing! It kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it! I just hope that there will be a part two to their story! Love his books!" And these are for erotica! I'll repeat that, they're for EROTICA!

Hmm, Ok, so maybe I'm sounding a little desperate quoting my reviews to make myself feel better. Man up, Cristian! They all can't be winners. We all fail. I guess it's just tough when you feel that you are doing something that you yourself would advise someone not to do, because you actually know better.

Crap! I'm gonna put in my audiobook and go to bed. That's enough obsessing for one night. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

How Writers go Insane

I think that anyone who really knows me would say that I'm not the model of sanity. And I'm sure that anyone who has read a couple of my books could probably pick that out as well. Thinking about in now, I can't tell you if I went out to have a pretty insane life, or if this just happened. I do remember thinking that I didn't ever want to be boring. So maybe this is all by choice.

But this weekend was pretty friggin' wild. I definitely had a memory that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. And it's one of those things that makes me question how good of a person I am. I'm hoping that I still count as a good person, but really, who knows at this point.

Anyway, I think that I have been put in a introspective mood because of 2 reasons: I'm writing the pilot for Samurai Zombie Hunter on Monday and writing my thought provoking stories always makes me a little introspective. And secondly, I had to re read that book of mine for the first time in 2 years. I really didn't want to, but I did.

Boy, there's no need to wonder whether or not I have a writers voice. Damn! So passive aggressive that voice is. There's so much anger hidden under a thin veil of wit. And certainly I know why it reads so bitterly. I was experiencing thinly veiled anger when I wrote it. I lashed out as so many groups under the guise of humor so often in that book.

And even as I read it and knew that I could probably never match that voice again, I knew that I would be again revisiting that story. Certainly a TV pilot doesn't have to be so full of feeling as a book does. But I feel like I should do justice to the original story because the sentiment behind that book is genuine and pure.

Examining this whole thing makes me think about all of the crazy that I've experienced in my life and how it feeds my writing. Seriously, I wrote a book called Happiness Thru the Art of Penis Enlargement and yes on the surface it was broad humor, but it contained so much heart felt pain. Samurai Zombie Hunter was at times laugh out loud funny, but god damn if it didn't contain pain.

That type of pain doesn't just appear out of thin air. The author has to live it and then digest it and then regurgitate it. I read the stories that I write and I really don't like what it says about my life. But on the other hand, how does a person write anything worth reading if it doesn't have that level of emotional depth. Must writers suffer so that everyone else can have a few hours of entertainment?

Well, my life is officially insane. Yes, in someone ways, my life is more amazing that anyone can imagine. I am not overstating it when I say that I have been the subject of miracles. And not spiritual/psychic ones either, although I've had my share of cool things on that topic too. My life is just insane and it doesn't seem to be wanting to level out.

And then on the other hand, how is my life this insane and my non-erotica books not tremendously better sellers. The quality of emotional experiences that I have to draw from are far more than any writer needs to write a great book. Why have I been unable to write that hit?

I have to admit that a part of this tirade comes out of my experience reading Samurai. After the second chapter I remembered a review that I got for it. The person said that I was clearly a talented writer, but SZH wasn't "it". He finished the review by saying "Maybe the next one, Mr Young Miller."

It wasn't a mean review, but it was definitely... hmmm... it's hard to put it into words. But I kept thinking, wait, he's saying that I'm talented, which is an incredibly huge compliment, but he's saying that this book didn't hit the mark. So how does he know I'm talented if this is the only book of mine that he's read, but he didn't think that this one hit the mark? That review surfaces to my consciousness often, actually.

But after reading the first 2 chapters of SZH, I understood it. It's been 2 years since I've read it, so although I know where the story's going, I can't completely remember the details of how I got there. And at one point I pulled the book away from my face and just allowed a thought to flow through me. I was a little blown away by how well I had told a huge chunk of the story. It flowed perfectly. It flowed in a way that can't be taught, and I'm not sure if I could replicate it. It was really good. But I read further and although it was still good, it wasn't at the same level as that section.

I finally understood that review. In fact, as I read further, I began to understand all of my reviews. I could see how some could love and some could hate the book. It is so stylized. I didn't mean for it to be that stylized. In fact, I've read so little fiction that I wouldn't know to try to make it that stylized. I just felt the turmoil I was feeling and let loose. And now, here I am trying to do that again, but this time being conscious of what I've done before.

On a good note though, I am a much better technical writer than I was back then. I've read and edited about 55 short stories since I wrote SZH. I did things in that book that I now chastise my ghostwriters for doing. My erotica boot camp seems to have worked tremendously well.

Anyway, to sum up, my life is insane. I'm a crazy writer that has no control over that thing that seems to make my writing the most interesting. But over all, I do currently possess one of the greatest lives I could imagine. Will I one day be found dead in the back woods somewhere? I would take those odds. But god damn, I will have truly lived by the time that happens.

Now, tomorrow, I put my head down, and I write again. I wonder what will come out of me this time.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It might be time to start writing again

It's been a long time since I've written anything on this blog. I've been very busy in the interim. I've written a lot of erotica, perhaps 60+ stories. And I've become an international bestselling erotica author. Sounds cool, right? Well, I have to say that it is. I never imagined that this could be my life and some how I got lucky and it is.

But I've decided to return to this blog because it might be time for me to start writing again. I just watched an episode of Charlie Rose where he interviewed an author. This author was getting praise for a book of short stories and it got me thinking. Nothing he was saying seemed  applicable to what I do, but it felt familiar enough that it sparked something in me.

I guess there was one thing he said that rang true. He said that you can't plan success, you have to just do and let what you create be what it is. Perhaps that's what I needed to hear. I'm being ambitious with this next story. It's a set of 5 books with the most ambitious goals. But if I just do and let it be whatever it's going to be, it certainly removes a lot of pressure to get everything perfect before I start.

I have to say that what is also offering me encouragement to start is the fact that my mother recently read my work for the 1st time. She read my story 'Everybody Masturbate... for Girls'. And then she read 'Run from the Reaper'. I never really thought about what my mother would think about my writing. I, of course, wanted her to like it. I guess I'm under the impression that no one ever likes my work. I know it's crazy seeing the fact that that's how I make my living, but it's true.

But it was more than just the fact that she liked it, it was how she responded to me once she finished reading it. The way she explained to me that she liked it was almost as if she was surprised that she like it so much.  I am a grown man who lives a very independent life, but I kind of want to write my next story because I would like to give my mother something that she might enjoy reading.

I said a while ago that I was going to write this group of stories as a series of short stories. Maybe it's just because I've become so comfortable with the format. But there's also something to writing short stories. In short stories you have to start off quickly, make your writing concise, and end with something interesting happening. If I'm not mistaken, that is how a lot of popular authors structure their chapters.

So instead of me starting off the story as I would generally do it or how most authors do, I'm going to start the story right in the middle of the action. I found that my erotica readers much prefer when you start with sex. I understand why, the sex is why you are reading the story, and sex is interesting. So why not start a sci-fi story with the most interesting part of your sci-fi happening 1st. Why not open the book with something that drags the reader in with such ferocity that there is nothing the reader can hold onto to resist being sucked into the adventure.

Anyway, just thought that I would mention that I will be writing my 1st short story in this very long series of short stories. I'm not even thinking about how many of them there will be. But what I'm thinking about is that this 1st short story is going to be really fun and really awesome to write. And, to be honest, I'm kind of excited about having my mother read it. I'm hoping she likes it. And I have to say that now that I know who my audience is, it is going to be really ease to make choices about what I will be writing next.

Here goes nothing.