The Theme is Changing

My theme is changing. My life is changing. Permission has been granted and my monastic lifestyle is fading into the past. I’m writing and finishing novels along with a rush of poetic inspiration. I’m not posting like I used too, but I’m working it and practicing and putting it all down. It might take me awhile, but keep a look out and expect more from me as this year matures.

I just released the second installment in the Fire Clothed in Skin Saga: Redemption of Fire. Its sexy, fun, adventurous and thoroughly entertaining. Thank you to Bellissima’s Wicked Graphics for such a provocative cover! She also helped me with the final edits.

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I’m also helping a friend, the incredible poetess, Julie Anne Addicott of Heavenly Sins, get her first novel self-published. She is helping me with some stuff and a new website. Please follow us here: House of Payne Publishing

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I’ve been going through some of my journals and un-posted blogs. This one was good and felt like a perfect explanation for where I went and why I left Facebook.

Like most, when I first started, I knew nothing. I learned as I went, and for a brief moment, I took on way more than could chew. I let in too many and ignored the negativity. I should have edited, cut, chopped and culled way sooner, but I didn’t. Once I decided it was time to change game plans, the hangers-on were numerous, and none understood, or they were delighted with what appeared my demise. Either way, it had absolutely nothing to do with me, or them caring about me.

I didn’t leave social media, I just left Facebook. And I didn’t really leave, I just stopped compulsively, insanely checking and responding to every single request. There was no balance in my life. I was pulled by every ding and beep and I began resenting the few who I should I have been cherishing.

Once I uninstalled and weaned myself away from what I can clearly see as an unhealthy addiction, my thoughts cleared. The sycophants dissipated in search of another shark to hover around, and I discovered I had only a handful of true friends. I only need a handful, and honestly, I don’t want to entertain anyone. A few self-contained, let’s talk briefly once in a while, kinds of friends are my ideal.

I hadn’t been writing; how could I when I had not one free moment of thought without interruptions? It wasn’t their fault, it was mine for allowing. Everyone wants attention, (except me), so I can’t blame them in the slightest. I knew full well what I needed to do, and I did it.

Now, a few months after uninstalling and logging out of social media, my head has cleared. I’m writing again, and I’ve come to realize I am a writer. I love the creation process. I love building worlds and carrying on long conversations with people who only exist in my mind. I’m a firm believer that the writing is the easy part, and unfortunately is only about forty percent of the entire process of being an author. Oh well. My new mantra is simply, “I’m not writing for anyone but myself.” I do still plan on self-publishing, and I will continue to populate my personal website with short works and poetry.

I will also continue to petition for patronage. I am an artist and I know I have a gift. I am a storyteller and I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve already produced. I feel I’ve written eight of the most unique fictional novels anyone has ever read. I deserve patrons and fans, but I will never again attempt to create them through self-promotion. I don’t see the point, and if I go that route, said new fans feel they have some say in when, how and what I write. They don’t and they never will. I am not writing for them, therefore, I am not beholden to their opinion. If I ever acquire patrons, I’ll write specifically for them, but until that time, I am considering myself a free-agent.

I gotta say, it’s liberating as hell to feel this way. Their opinion of me is none of my concern. I refuse to ever compete for attention. I don’t seek popularity and never have, in fact, if I suddenly find myself in a situation where I appear to be pleasing the masses, I feel I’m doing something incorrect. My message will never find a mainstream audience. I’m way too out there for most. My philosophy is heretic to some and downright blasphemous to others. This makes me smile. My goal is to throw a wrench into the globally downloaded operating system that most have on auto update.

I might write fiction, and yes, I am stuck in a genre full of fluff and fodder. It doesn’t matter because the readers who need my message, will find me. The rest can continue to blow bubbles and muddy the stream all they want. My stories are soul searching and introspective and my characters are evolving and changing creations. Unlike most adult human’s, my goal is to change and grow as much and as quickly as my dim intellect will allow.

I dare you to read my work and not feel. I have this sense the zombie apocalypse has already happened. I think most humans are already dead; their souls are atrophied, their hearts are withered, their bodies are numb, and their spirits are nothing but ghosts.

My mission is to offer some feeling to those who connect with my written worlds. I want their hearts to thump, their bodies to awaken and their intellects to ignite with questions and possibilities.

It’s a great thing to FEEL!

gobacktohowididn'tfeel

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A Good Dog

A Good Dog

She never took her eyes off me. If she were to be reincarnated as a human, she’d be a horse trainer in her next life, and a damn good one. She vigilantly watched me for eleven long years and never left my side. She knew exactly when and how to discipline. She was benevolent beyond compare. Even the prey animals were her friends. She found, and in true Lassie style, led us to an abandoned kitten. Then she adopted and loved that little guy like he was her pup.

She possessed ‘kisses’ above her eyes, and I applied liberally on a daily basis. Her chest wore a cross and her tail was tipped in white so she was never lost. Her feet were broad and her toes webbed, although she never saw a reason to swim. Her legs were long enough most bodies could easily be forded.

She took the place of another person next to me at night, giving me love through proximity, and well before I loved a human, she set the perfect example. Hearts appeared in a bubble over her head whenever I spoke to her. She guarded me like a mother, and twice, blindly interfered, risking her life without a second thought.

Her hair was silky and her ears floppy. She was always hot, and years later, I miss her constant panting.

Whatever I asked, she happily obliged. She was born with manners and never needed the confinement of leash or fence. She communicated in pictures and loved like no other I’ve ever met.

I’ve been told a soul is granted two good dogs in a lifetime. My second is now twelve and although she only stands inches high, she embodies the soul of my first love. She too is a tri-colored, fur covered, heart on four feet. I can’t imagine my life without these precious beings who’ve shared it with me. I’ve never been alone because of them. I’ve felt unconditional love because of them, and it’s made me a better person to be welcomed into their pack.

They’ve been my constant companions and best friends. They are great listeners and don’t mind my rambling incoherent thoughts. Their insistence on staying in our moment has balanced me, and when I was at my lowest, they were there when no-one else was. They made me get out of bed when I wanted to disappear, and they added an illumination to my life that a person isn’t capable of offering.

They are my traveling companions and the best, sleep-all-day-Sunday buddies. When I’m sick, they hover and tend. They are uncluttered and present. They are comics and personal trainers. They are emotional, and when I can’t find  the joy in life, they remind me where it is. They require very little, and yet, I offer them all I have. I’d skip a meal if it meant they didn’t have to.

Thank you for being the best friends a girl could ever ask for—my heart at my feet. This is dedicated to Garbo, the Bernese Mountain dog who was the first sentient soul to unconditionally love me, and to G, the Corgi, who now shares my pillow every night with little whispers of snoring kisses at my ear.

Posted in A good dog, Dogs, My heart at my feet, Personal, Reflections, Writing | 1 Comment

2015

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End of 2015

I had a good face and hair day. There was a party and I made myself up. I looked great! It was a lot of work, but still, I was happy with the outcome. You see, I don’t have anyone to take pictures of me. So, I take my own. I figure I must document my beauty before it is lost. I’m quickly getting to the point where I won’t want to take selfies. So I got a great picture. After a few dozen tries and some very un-attractive angles, I got the perfect one.

I posted it and although I often post new profile pics, (OFTEN!), this one was a doozy. The friend requests began to pour in. Dozens and dozens daily continue to appear. I’m fully aware we are a visual/superficial society. I get it. I am attracted to beauty just as much as the next person.

All I can say is, thank you for seeing me and appreciating. I however am not defined by my looks. I never have been. And, contrary to popular belief, I don’t need attention from anyone, for any reason. I’m perfectly happy all by myself. Same sentiment for validation. I don’t need it from anyone but myself.

But, once again, thank you for the compliments. It is nice to know others notice me, and what girl doesn’t want to be called beautiful? I am not trying to diminish the compliments, and I’m not faking humility. Yes, I’m attractive and worthy, but what I wish people knew about me is simply—

“I’m so much more than just the skin I wear around my soul.”

So after this influx of new people and the inevitable messages, (and of course the Arab men love me and all of them offer to fly me to the homeland—cue eye roll), then I declared I was a shitty friend and not to expect anything in return for their newly found ardor simply because I have a pretty face. I also stated, I only answered messages from my inner circle, and even then I am slow to respond. I figured that would pretty much explain why I won’t be responding to this plethora of new friends. I didn’t give it much of a thought after that, but then, the next morning, I had a message in my inbox from one of these new friends. It was so simple, yet touched me deeply.

“What does it take to get into your inner circle?”

At first I was humbled and a bit self-deprecating. Then I remembered I have a voice, and I’m quite proud of my message and how I’m delivering it. I’m not arrogant about it; it’s more like I’m just certain of my worth. I am fully aware I am different from the horde and I’d certainly follow and friend someone like me. And of course, if I felt that way about another person, I’d make it known I would love to be/become their friend.

Not just as in a friend on Facebook, but one of those rare few who break the tragedy of superficial social media and truly become friends. They make a connection. They make themselves memorable. They unwaveringly support you, even if you’re wrong. Sometimes these connections can lead to future relationships, but mostly it’s about finding that connection and then maintaining it—even if it’s just a little bit one sided because the other is not playing the social game, (me), but instead focusing on living a real life.

So, all this got me thinking about the friends I’ve gained and lost over the past year. I should be writing my year end blog, but I think this will be it. It’s a good place to put a period and end where I am now in my life, just a few days before 2016 hits.

I started the year, (2015), with a thought that I would give the self-promotional social-media-machine-thing, a real solid try. I was going to promote the hell out of myself for the first six months and see where my stats sat and how much I’d spent on all that promotion. I recruited for a street team and others helped by sending helpers. For a short while I even tried having a PA.

I learned as I went, like I do with everything. Learn by doing, change what isn’t working, never repeat patterns that are fruitless and labor intensive, don’t waste time on anything or anyone other than your goal. Maybe just a bit of writing or editing along the way, but I now have up ten titles, (four of which are also audio books), so there wasn’t much writing to be done. It was time to be read by others. Oh, I also had to work, you know, so I can eat.

So I began. The friends poured in. The followers too. Some were honest fans and truly loved what I’d been producing over the past four years. Some never read my work, and for them, it was just a social thing. Whatever, I didn’t care, I was accumulating numbers. Unfortunately, many never became more than just a number. I don’t consider that my fault. Once again, it relates to the above question. I feel it was/is up to them to remain loyal and stay in touch with me. They after all have a few, I have numerous!

I began waking up to over thirty-plus messages in my inbox and hundreds of comments or tags, or invites, or you name it—all time consuming things that required I at least look, and often had to respond. Within a month and I had no time for anything else, let alone writing or editing. I instantly began dreading the day ahead full of dings and beeps in regards to nothing but the trivial. I started to balk at all the forced interactions. Everyone wanted attention, and truth be told, the mundane small talk and chatter of everyday existence gives me anxiety attacks.

If it had been about my work? Well then that would have been a different story. But it was rarely about my books or blogs or poetry. Most of the time it felt like some sort of popularity contest I didn’t want to participate in.

Flash forward to now. The short of it is this, it didn’t work. It was labor intensive to the point of mind numbing. None of my titles sold unless I priced them at .99c. I hate giving away a year’s worth of incredibly hard work. I hated the forced social interactions and I really detested begging for reviews. I quit the social media machine in September, and man what a relief. There were other factors that played into my demise on social media, but once again, none of it meant anything in the end, and almost all of the superficial friendships vanished like fog on a hot morning.

Facebook is much too much like high school for me. I hated high school, and even then I hated my peers. I tested out of that asylum of lunatics when I was sixteen and never once looked back. I don’t even have friends from my school days. I was pretty enough, and plenty smart enough. I surfed, and played varsity tennis as a freshman, so I was also plenty athletic enough to be one of the, “In crowd.”

Yuck. No. Kill me now just to save me from that kind of vapid need for attention, (yes I felt that way at age 16). And here I am, four months from my forty ninth birthday and I just escaped once again. Whew, that was a close one.

When I started writing and self-publishing, I knew my work wasn’t for everyone. In fact, I figured maybe I’d garner one or two readers. Whatever. I never wrote a word to seek acceptance or fame. Fame sucks. Fame requires all the crap I just said I was happy to have escaped. I wish I could figure out a way to earn a living from the writing, but that seems about impossible. So, I’ve slowed down and currently am not writing. The thing is this, none of it really matters to anyone apart from myself, and right now, I’m not feeling it. So, I’m not writing.

But, I still have a voice and although I am for the most part, a dissenter, I realize there are others who feel as I do. We are far and few between. You might recognize my energy through my words, or something I write might speak directly to your heart. I’ve never been academic or cerebral. I write from a place of feelings that are often impossible to put into words, but I try, and I will continue to try when the feelings hit me.

I have no idea what my 2016 might hold. Or the people I will interact with during the upcoming year. I also have no idea if I will continue to write, (Novels. I will always do some poetry and short fiction), or if a different way to spend my time will materialize. My life changes frequently, as do the people I engage with.

I live in my moment. I seek harmony and love and understanding. I am shame-free and un-judgmental in almost everything, and toward everyone. I practice sanity, and I purposely push myself out of my comfort zone as often as possible. I am on a soul-searching, spirit enlightening, self-improvement journey and I am open to the leadings of my invisible helpers. I concentrate on maintaining balance emotionally, mentally and physically. And, whenever possible, I attempt to make LOVE the most important ingredient in any endeavor or interaction. (I am not a sap or a pushover however!)

The only other thing I’ve learned during my life is that everything is transient. The good and the bad, it all passes. It’s fruitless to attempt re-creation and it’s destructive to wallow in the past. Some of my most memorable friendships lasted less than a month, at least in intensity.  Some longer, some were just a few paragraphs, but we made a connection, we completed a circuit and in that moment we harmonized.

The feelings we generated between us, will last a lifetime.

I no longer expect those moments to continue on into infinity, or even the next day. It was a perfect moment and I enjoyed every second of it as it matured. Thank you to those of you who might be reading this and we found that connection. I always remember you, and I often think of you even though we might not talk or if we do, it’s infrequent.

If you want inside my circle, make yourself known. Don’t bore me with the mundane of everyday life. Give me vulnerability, truth, depth, honesty, transparency and don’t forget to add in a dash of weird. I crave realness above all else. Give me something to remember, and I promise I will.

Payne

Some of my poetry/quotes from this year:

Posted in Authors, emotions, Faith, feelings, introspection, Soul Searching, The Journey, To be a good writer, Writing | 4 Comments

I’m Over It!

I’M OVER IT

<I’ll warn you this is long. It will take the average reader about thirty minutes to read. This is only for those who are confused as to my sudden departure from the indie author community on social media.>

I guess it’s time to illuminate everyone and document these last few months the best I can so I don’t have to repeat my story. I hate repetition, and even my overall life theme is now changing. It’s time to once again become more of who I’m supposed to be, which is yet to be revealed.

If you remember only one thing after reading this, please remember this: Despite the continual maligning of my name and reputation over literally NOTHING! I never once, and never will, mention one name. I never once called out one of the bully’s and I never once went to their page and ruined their reputation. I also never responded or got into a bickering war. I am not a troll and I would never intentionally hurt another the way I’ve  been attacked.

At this point the story has turned into a malignant cancerous thing even though I never, (yes I keep saying never because I feel that part is important), directly communicated with or responded to one negative note, comment, blog or page feed written specifically to malign my name. So whatever happened, happened amongst all of you and went unpoliced and uncensored without me being part of any of it.

I do find it amusing that the cunts always know who they are and are always willing to take everything and anything personally.

The demise of “Fundercunt,” (this is the name they all began calling me).

September first-ish I posted a go-fund me campaign. It sat fallow for two weeks. It was my last ditch effort to remain a fulltime writer, something I’ve been now for the past five years. I’ve produced a multitude of titles under both my name and as a ghost writer. I averaged ten hour days, six days a week and I wrote over a million words during that time. I’m a huge believer in perfect practice creates a perfect outcome. I practiced as perfectly as I knew how and I learned what I needed to learn so my practice became better and better. Good-better-best-never-let-it-rest. That’s my motto, and over those five long years, I made my good, incrementally better! I’ve not yet owned that I’ve written my best, and I might never.

Excellent writing, just like in any other endeavor, is a lifetime’s quest of perfect practice and a battlefield littered with failures.

I am however extremely proud of what I’ve produced. I’ve done it all without much help. Even did most of my own editing and cover designs. The formatting and my struggles to understand self-publishing technology were a massive stumbling block, but I overcame that as well. I’ve done it all on my own.

This last year, I did have some amazing people helping me. Without their help and assistance, I would have quit a year ago. They kept me going far past my threshold.

So, my deadline was up. I’d given it my best try and I’d not managed to turn it into any sort of livelihood. My goal was a grand a month. That never happened, or even came close. I feel five years is ample time to figure out it wasn’t working for me. And all the while I was working odd jobs and manual labor jobs to support the expenses incurred when an author decides to self-publish. I even invested thousands in the production of audio books from one of my series, but that never panned out the way I’d hoped, and I’ve yet to even garner half of my investment.

Then I humbly and with all innocence posted a go-fund me campaign. I was transparent and honest and I did nothing to engender false pity. I also never once considered I’d get support, or notice, from anyone who’d yet to read one of my titles. Over the past few years I’ve given away thousands of dollars in my books. All I was hoping for was a ten-spot from a few of my fans who’d received free print or multiple digital books from me. It still wasn’t going to support me. Who can live on a grand a month?

I’ve learned one thing in my forty nine years on this planet, if you don’t ask, you will not receive. People are not generous and nobody just gives for the sake of giving.

So I asked.

On September 14th, someone on Facebook started a gang bullying campaign against me. My personal page was flooded with hideous comments about me being a lazy, no-good for nothing, entitled bitch, and even a few wished for my demise since I was now considered the scourge of the earth, (for simply asking for help?). I was flooded with messages telling me they would never read any of my work and from this day forward they would block and degrade my name everywhere they could.

I laughed and then proceeded to delete and block over thirty trolls. Then I wrote a well worded rebuke against the trolls maligning me in my own house. This is how I self-protect. I do not lay down and take it. I write about it. I am not a coward and will maintain I am one of the most courageous people I’ve ever met. Those closest to me will attest to this fact. If in person I was bullied, I’d fight back with all I had in me, and I’d probably win if it was a fist fight. I am not afraid of anyone.

I still maintain that I don’t give a flying fuck what they say or said on their pages or blog feeds. I never read a word of what was going on in that short viral moment of hating Payne. No lie, I read not a word! So I have no real clue as to how the story became so convoluted and I overnight turned into someone to hate.

What upset me, and why I fought back, was because they came to my ‘house’ and did it on my personal pages, and that I will not stand for.

Yes, I called them all, “Cock Juggling Thunder Cunts.” I also included some other choice insults. It was cathartic for me and to this day I will not apologize. If you are so inclined, scroll my Facebook page, ( http://www.facebook.com/payneatadventuresinpayne ) and you’ll find my rant. I guess I should have left the malicious overflow from the cunts owning it was them, but I didn’t, I deleted it all, so yeah, now I look even more insane. Whatever. I really don’t care. Other’s perceptions of me are none of my concern, and I can and will continue to live by that rule.

So, after my rant, and name calling, it blew up even more, which was fine, I figured it would. At that point, the message had been received loud and clear, “You will not make it as a full time author. Find another path.” Fine, I was already leaning that way, thanks for the final shove. (What I’ve come to decide is I won’t make it if try and use Facebook as my promotional platform. That site is just too vanilla for who I am and what I write.)

I didn’t care. I’d already decided I was through. I’d written my fill and yeah, my consistent ten fans always loved me and always gave me great reviews. Thanks guys! I know who you are and I will forever love you! The rest of you can kiss my ass.

The troll-cunts went so far as to ruin my high 4/5 star average on Goodreads by posting false 1 star ratings on all my titles. This effectively lowered my average to the 2/3 star range, which for me, is not good enough and not nearly good enough for me to be working simply for ratings and averages. That’s bullshit and it is ridiculous for anyone to say the thanks is in the work itself. Again, bullshit. If I can’t share my new worlds, and find people who appreciate my work, I don’t want to share at all. Yes, I am taking my jacks and going home. Screw you guys. These are my children you are destroying. Fuck you and fuck the horse you rode in on. Go and kick someone else’s babies and leave mine alone.

I also said being a writer was/is a thankless non-job. I will continue to hold to that forever. There are no financial rewards and the random glowing review is all fine and dandy, but in the end, means very little. I know my stories are awesome. My characters are different and unique, just like us. Some are vapid, some are introspective, and all are searching for that something missing I’ve felt my entire life.

What was painfully obvious to me, and blatantly clear, was that even within my own so called team, there were only a handful who truly tried and cared. It was the same ten out of forty who left me reviews and actually read my work. Even my own PA never left me a review, and she was a book blogger. My second PA had read and loved one of my books, and although I loved her passion, she couldn’t do anything against the tide of apathetic followers. The third PA hadn’t read me either, nor ever left me a review, and the second I took one step against the bullying troll-cunts, she totally disappeared. Not a word.

And of course there were a raft of people spouting the company line, and reading from the current global downloaded script: “Don’t let them get you down! Don’t let them win by you quitting. Don’t give into the pressure, you’re better than that. Regroup and restart…” yadda, yadda, yadda.

Wouldn’t restarting with another name be totally insane? Wouldn’t that be me doing the same fucking thing, and expecting a different result? I practice sanity, and the truth is, I was already done. I walked away after that weekend and was actually relieved. I hate questions. I have not one from my past five years. I gave it all I had. I lived it, I practiced, I worked, I rarely slept and I lived in total poverty the entire time. It’s so much easier to walk away than it is to keep trying. It’s also saving me thousands, so just that alone means I don’t have to sweat it anymore.

The thing is, six/seven years ago I literally lost everything. I lost my entire life’s work and everything I ever loved or worked for was gone. I tried to commit suicide. I was alone in a way few have ever felt. I’d truly hit my rock bottom.

I failed at the suicide, and writing is what saved my sanity. Writing made me who I am today, and who I am today is an entirely different person from who I was seven years ago. I found myself and I love myself and I really don’t need anyone else to validate that for me. I also know without a shadow of a doubt, I am an exceptional writer. My last three novels are as good if not better than any other in my genre currently on the best seller list. I know this. Nobody needs to tell me.

Writing novels, the real kind, the ones that are over eighty thousand words? Those are literally months of birth pains. Then months of edits and revisions which make you doubt all the previous efforts. It’s a pile of crap that nobody will read. The rejection is mind numbing. So yeah, I’m over writing novels. I’ll leave up what I’ve currently produced. I have three more that are almost finished, so eventually those will complete a couple of my series. But that’s it. This entire endeavor is much too insane for my tastes.

After my breakdown, I made one major change. I decided I would never again invest myself so fully in something that my identity revolved around it. Nothing in my future would ever hold enough sway over me as to ruin me if I lost it.

It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I even used the preface, “Author,” on my name. I didn’t think I was, I thought I was still practicing, and I know we have to pay to practice, we don’t get paid during those times. So I didn’t ask until now. I will forever maintain you cannot fault me for asking. The better scenario would have been total silence. Not the shit storm that ensued—and I will again say, it was OVER FUCKING NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so two months have passed. I’ve removed myself from social media to the extent that I only respond to a direct message. I rarely post anything and I’ve ceased all self-promotion. Again, what a fucking relief! My stuff wasn’t selling before, and if it did, it was only because I put it up at .99C. So whatthefuckever, same shit, different day. Nothing is selling and the silence was a tonic. I could breathe again.

I worked on and finished a short novella that was scheduled to be released in an anthology in January. I was kinda excited about this box set and being included with some of these elite authors. I thought maybe I could find a new audience since this was my first contemporary erotic romance. I normally write in the paranormal/metaphysical/fantasy genre. So yeah, I had a few moments of, maybe this will be all I need to revive my passion in writing/sharing.

Let me just say this, I am a writer. I will always write. This is part of who I am. Sharing it, self-publishing and then waiting for reviews? Well,  that’s another whole ball of wax, and that I probably will not do that from here on out.

This box set was a 3 month endeavor and I gave my input when asked and the covers were created and all of us in it were getting excited. We released one of the covers, with my name on it among the other authors. Turns out the other authors were bombarded with negative comments simply because I was included.

Again, I have to say, “Really? Seriously? You find that much offense in one single word, (the cunts always know who they are), when it wasn’t really directed at you in the first place?”

The second I got wind of it I voluntarily left the group and removed my submission. No need to force an issue where there isn’t one. They weren’t really friends anyway and of course everyone is only looking out for themselves. Of course I understand this.

I personally don’t think a box set including six or more very long books and selling for .99C will suffer much from a boycott of those who hate me, but whatever.

If those who are concerned, need another anxiety attack, low be it for me to supply the ammunition. Poof, I’m gone. I will never, NEVER, hang around where I am not wanted. And actually, I’ll take a step farther, I will no longer hang around were I am merely tolerated. If I am not loved and shown love, I am outta there so fast you’ll miss me ever arriving.

So, once that happened I was once again flooded with those who knew nothing of the past 2 months of shit slinging—OVER LITERALLY NOTHING! And they wanted to know what was up. I’m so over it I didn’t want to tell anyone anything. But I guess I owe it to those who truly want to know.

I was also bombarded with the whole, “Never give up—don’t let them win…” yeah, whatever. You guys realize it’s just a bunch of words strung together that mean literally nothing? Those words don’t inspire me to write. They don’t pay one of my fucking overdue bills and they don’t put food on my table. I will continue to drive my late 80’s vehicle and live in my shitty trailer and work manual labor jobs until I fall over dead. That is my reality. That is life and it sucks, but it’s the way of things and there is no placebo that will change it.

Guess what? The bully’s usually win. They are the strongest and loudest among us. They are the fittest and the most easily offended among us. They make the rules, they enforce the rules and the rest of you just cower in a corner and hope you aren’t next. What if the bullied all ganged together against the bully’s? Yeah, like that will ever happen.

What if during the unethical gang raping of my titles on Goodreads, it had been balanced by my over a thousand friends going in and giving me 5 star ratings? It wouldn’t have meant anything in regards to my ability as an author but it would have been a clear message to those assaulting me that the indie author community at large won’t stand for this sort of behavior.

What if my fellow struggling indie authors backed me up and said, screw the trolls, lets hang together and yes, please lets put out a kick ass anthology. Yeah, whatever, that scenario would have been truly surprising. It’s not human nature and I never expected it.

I used to think there was a sacred understanding between readers and authors. I valued every honest review, and I learned from most of them. I made changes when I could and I revised how I wrote about certain characters etc. But to receive blatantly dishonest ratings on a title they never read is an abhorrent crime and nobody stood up for me, (one did publicly and I will forever adore that man for doing so!). Not publicly anyway. My ten friends and fans who sent me love and understanding messages are the exceptions, but they’d already shown me their support. My thousand other supposed friends? SILENCE!!! Crickets! Fine! Message received.

So yeah, I’m not going to write novels anymore. I can still do my poetry and my short flash fiction and be just as satisfied. I don’t need anyone’s approval or even comments. I know what I like and I like what I write. That’s plenty for me. I have no need to save another or impact another or even exist for anyone apart from myself.

The life of an indie writer. Walk in my shoes for a few words:

You went to bed around three AM the night before. You got up at six. You have a word count for the day and if you don’t start, you won’t make it. You are ever anxious about the flow of words. When will they stop? Will you make your goal of five thousand for the next day? It would be better if you could get in eight, but that’s highly unlikely given you also must spend a few hours working and driving and being the servant to your client base. Your odd jobs are never dependable income, but they do provide you with more hours to write and you can set those hours as you see fit. Lots of late nights.

You turn off the phone because the creditors keep calling. You hope eventually they’ll stop. Thank god they don’t have debtors prison anymore.

You have five uninterrupted hours, (hopefully), so you start. The words flow, the characters speak to you, they define themselves. Dialog and conversations are created. You leave your body and you’re certain you’ve gone insane. You feel mentally ill and as if perhaps you’re schizophrenic. You’re writing fiction after all, erotica most of the time, it’s a fluff filled genre full of formula romances. You refuse to be like the rest. You must be unique and different. You give it your all.

You’re loathe to leave the world at your fingers, but you must. You have an hour’s worth of chores for others and you really need that $20.00. You once again tabulate the cost of purchasing print books as promotional giveaways. You check your credit card balance. Will they accept another $100.00 charge?

Three hours later, after nothing went your way and you’re exhausted from the bullshit of serving and living other’s ill-conceived lives, you return to your fourteen by sixty foot trailer and the chair you’ve worn out, but need. Thank god your laptop works. You’ve forgotten to eat. Fuck it. You don’t need to eat.

You try to get back into the flow of the words, but you’re tired. You try though, and manage to make your goal. If they are a good five thousand words that’s great, if not, if the contractor doesn’t like them, you’ve wasted hours upon hours. You go back through and edit, polish and make notes. You’ll need to add something and you need time to figure out how, and the transitions  that will make it coherent.

You throw in a load of laundry and continue thinking. At the spin cycle the washer makes a hideous sound and then starts smoking.

You cry. Not only can’t you afford a new washer, but you can’t afford the laundromat. Dammit.

You decide to call it. You go to bed. It’s only nine, but you’re exhausted. The next morning you have to be up at dawn to go feed some horses. On the way there, you’re late 80’s vehicle check engine light comes on. It’s just one more thing. You take inventory of the cars at your disposal and a late 70’s truck is about it, but it runs, so whatever. The heater doesn’t work, guess it’s time to bundle up.

You finally get to the words again around ten AM. They are okay, not great, but you hope passable. You have to get another five thousand in today. If you don’t, you won’t make that $200.00 paycheck for the twenty thousand words expected for this week. At this point you’re working for about a dollar an hour. Whatever, at least you’re writing.

You do this for two years. Honing your craft. You are inches from being destitute, but you’re hanging on. Your greatest desire is to be allowed time to write what you want, your stories, your name, your books. If you do this though, if you write for yourself, you won’t make a cent. Not even that dollar an hour that’s been keeping you going. But you do it anyway, and you ask friends and family for help. You humble yourself enough to take handouts and you’re grateful. You’re writing!

You write for yourself, your stories, your words, your worlds and your people. Your vision comes to life and you’ve perfected your craft so it’s wonderful and you are so happy with what you’ve produced. You learn what you need to format and edit and self-publish, first as digital, then you learn an entirely new process for turning your digital work into a real print book.

You pay for a cover, you pay for a copy editor; you pay for all of it. Then you purchase your book in hard copy. It’s in your hands. It’s fucking amazing. Not worth the torture or the life you don’t have, but still, you did it.

Then you shatter your ankle. Your body is wearing out and the way you’ve always earned a living is no longer available to you. Training horses is a physical endeavor the young and strong. Now what will you do? And of course the medical bills from the hours of surgery and days in the hospital will haunt you the rest of your existence. The crippling arthritis will remind you too. You try and look on the bright side. “I don’t need a working ankle to continue writing. My hands are just fine.”

Then you start attempting to self-promote yourself. You use social media for all its worth and you learn that game, you play that game. You kiss asses and you give away everything you’ve worked so hard to birth. You pay for it all, and give it all away. Even the digital copies you must pay for and gift, otherwise there is the risk of your work being stolen and used by other more successful authors. The good reviews begin to rack up. Yes, there are a few negative, but you can learn more from those than the good. You already like what you’ve produced. You just want to make it better and you’ve never cared about pleasing the masses.

You learn it’s quite cutthroat, and nobody really cares. The indie author world has turned into a machine and you are nothing more than an easily replaced cog. Everyone is doing it. Everyone is writing. Everyone is producing books. They are also raising families and working two full-time jobs. You still have no idea how they all do it, but more power to them, perhaps you are as inferior as some are saying.

You continue though, this is your dream and you keep hitting those keys. You work on your series and after five years, you have ten titles up on Amazon. You still aren’t making much more than about a hundred a month and you still owe your family for the almost four thousand you borrowed to make four of your books into audio books. You really thought the royalties would pay back that investment. After a year and still only at half the original investment, you start to think perhaps this is a totally insane life and you might need to make some changes. You’ve been doing everything in your power and have received the same exact results no matter.

You’ve begged for reviews and your consistent ten fans have accommodated. You’ve compiled a consistently high average of stars on your titles and all the reviews are honest, most are glowing. Some even truly get how unique you are as an indie author. This is almost enough, but now you’ve lost the place you lived. You need to work a real job, or somehow, magically find a way to make the past five years of toil pay off. You set up a crowdfunding campaign and in all innocence ask for patronage.

You are not ignored as you suspected, but no, you are maliciously attacked for asking. Called horrible names and your reputation goes from interesting and different to that of a murderer. At least on social media that’s what happens. Whatever, you hated the ass kissing anyway and as long as you were self-promoting and trying to organize your worthless, apathetic team, you have no time or energy to write. It’s one or the other, not both. At least not for you and how you operate.

Your team needs constant validation. You begin to realize they aren’t there for you at all. It’s more of a social party for them. A social way of making themselves feel useful and important. It could be you or any number of the million other indie authors. It makes no difference to any of them. If you want them to continue helping, and pimping as they call it, you must stroke them non-stop. Now you are spending hours upon hours a day answering to social media.

None of them stick up for you during this malicious affront to your personal page. You’re confused since you’ve always humbly asked for help. Never hurts to ask. They can always say no. They didn’t need to bully you that way. Makes no sense, but whatever. That ship has sailed and now your ratings have been unethically destroyed by those truly hoping to hurt you. What they don’t understand is that they didn’t hurt you, they hurt your children, your books, your stories waiting to be read. Now no-one will touch your work. You can’t even get into an anthology because the cowards included are worried they might be maligned as well.

What was it all about anyway? Oh yeah, you asked for financial help so you could continue writing and also not end up homeless.

You’re passion has waned. It’s a cold world and the inhabitants are heartless. Who cares if you finish a series? Unfortunately, the five people asking you to finish the third book just aren’t enough of a bolster to get back to the ten hour days. Besides, at this point you have to find real work, or you will be homeless in ninety days.

You’ve come to realize you really don’t matter. It’s not sad, it’s just the honest truth. You are alone and nothing you’ve produced matters at all. Your plight is not even as significant as a major coffee house changing their cups for the holiday season. And then you realize, if this is your audience and supposedly your people, you really want nothing to do with any of them.

Alone is great! Oh, and by the way, none of them deserve the gems of your intellect and imagination. None of them deserve anything you’ve ever produced, and you sure as hell won’t kill yourself producing more. And you sure as hell won’t spend thousands on giveaways when you only got one out of a hundred to even post a review.

You always knew you didn’t fit in this society, but now you own it, and you leave it. You leave it and you don’t look back. You’re over it.

Payne

085

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www.paynehawthorne.com

meshadowed

I’ve been working on my personal webpage. www.paynehawthorne.com

I’m keeping most of the blog posts here, but over there I am adding some dedicated theme type pages. Please subscribe if you want to keep up with me. I’ll be doing very little on social media and keeping it more private.

Some new pages of interest:

Blue Tributary, (flash fiction short erotic piece).

The Depression Files

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Expectations

arianhelpme befound

It’s an angsty time for me. Not sure why. Change of season perhaps? It’s also coming up on the year anniversary of destroying my ankle, which was followed by another drop down into the abyss of depression. I’m fine now, a year later I’m riding and training horses again and am just as active as I ever was. That’s not to say I don’t have pain in that leg and I dread the inevitable arthritis, but whatever, this is life and I’m trying to live it the best I can.

So, this morning, this blog kinda poured out of me. And like always, this is my therapy, the writing, the spilling of my heart. I thought about not posting it, but that’s not me. I publish or post everything I’ve ever written. My ten fans will attest to my growth as a writer. Below was today’s catharsis for my lonely heart.

Expectations:

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much I miss the year following my breakdown. Not the angst or torment I felt, but the anonymity and utter lack of expectations from those around me. That was when my writing career began, and I wrote hundreds of thousands of words in that year, once again, all without pressure or expectations. I miss that. I can apply enough self-induced pressure to motivate. I don’t need it from others.

I’m in a place of questions. I know it’s all a cycle of learning, growing, changing and then the plateau of rest before the next installment. In this moment I am confused. I’ve tried giving up completely. I’ve tried grabbing hold and giving it my all; mind, heart, soul. I refuse to ever be insane and expect something different without first changing my patterns. So I change, and I change, and I change. It’s exhausting, and nothing else is changing. Those around me are static as ever. My life is the same as it was before; perpetually broke and worse than alone. Still I share my existence with the supporter who not only under appreciates me, he also emotionally and tactilely starves me.

I’m fully aware that being with another is not the answer to my malcontent. My crave is actually to be alone, entirely, no expectations from any other soul. It would be easier to be truly alone than this feeling of desperation. Of course, that is only possible if I were independently wealthy, which I am not, nor do I expect it to happen within this lifetime. So, I am nothing more than a servant to those who support me. An unappreciated servant. Yes, the expectations are numerous now.

I can see why some choose to stay in the land of mental illness. It’s a comfort zone devoid of anticipations, potentials, and yes the expectations of others. If only.

I often feel much too sane for the insane world within which I dwell.

I’m unsure why they call it a nervous breakdown. I was not nervous at all when I was falling apart. It was almost the opposite for me. I remember a serenity and peacefulness as it overtook. Why did I grab hold again? Why didn’t I just stay there? I could have succumbed to the doctors and prescriptions and just let it go. I shouldn’t have been so determined to thrive.

Here I sit, approximately six or maybe at this point its seven years after I spiritually broke. I’m now mended. The weak places fortified, the mental solidly intact. No drugs, no crutches, and I’m fully involved in life once again.

I’ve recreated myself. I am now an author. I do love writing and I’m quite good at it. I’m busy with various odd jobs, (all servitude to others). I’m busy trying to promote my work, (exhausting, tedious and mundane!)

I’ve been gifted with horses again, although part time; at least I’m getting paid for something I’m expert at. So, yeah, all good in the hood.

Why then do I feel so empty and as if yet again I’m waiting for my life to begin? This is my curse I suppose. The constant waiting. Always the satellite, never landing, always in orbit around those who dwell solidly in their lives. I hate the discontent that brews within my heart. I hate the ache that never leaves. There is a cry inside me I cannot silence, “Find me. Please find me. I’m dying here.”

But nobody comes. There are a lot of words. A lot of cerebral speculations. Many who want me, none who claim me. I am the watcher and observer and servant to many. Will my time ever come? If only I didn’t care. If only I could dwell in the abyss of apathy yet again. It’s so soft in there. So easy, but so not me!

I’m forever at a crossroads. Unwilling to be insane. Unwilling to smile and pretend. I’m neither happy, nor unhappy. I just am, and I hate it. I want to see and feel myself in another’s eyes. No words, just tactile expressions. No pretense, no falsity, no other agenda apart from the—us. I want to have permission to bow, surrender and submit to someone more powerful. And yet, it never happens.

My ache for anonymity is not truly for aloneness. It’s for separation from the expectations of all but one. The elusive one who never shows up. The faceless one I know I belong too. The one who is also missing me as the other half of their puzzle.

I feel the decay of age setting in. I wish my mind would follow my body. I wish I could give up and be happy with my lot. The life quest to be found and to find, has not waned, and here I sit, still crying out into the darkness, “Find me. Please find me. I’m starving.”

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Note to Self

enlightenment

I’m writing this exclusively for me. I needed to explain myself, to myself. I don’t care if anyone reads it or gets where I’m coming from. I care even less if I’m understood, or my writing is something anyone can comprehend. I’m truly writing for the remnant of readers who will find me. If you can hear me, see me, get what I mean—that is all the reward I could ever ask for. My goal is to speak to your hearts, not your minds…

I’m in the middle of a huge edit. It’s my first ‘real’ edit by a professional. It’s telling me I kinda suck as a writer. In her opinion I suck as a storyteller as well. Which I don’t believe I do. I have no pride in my academics. How can I? Since I have none. I have life experience. I even have some attributes others do not possess, or are not in tune with inside themselves.

Am I doubting myself and this new series of books I’ve already written? Hell yes! Will I quit and give up? Hell no! What I’ve decided is, I’m not for everyone. My writing isn’t for everyone—or anyone for that matter. I don’t find life full of conflict or drama—unless it’s fabricated. Rarely is there a threat in our lives which propels us forward. Rarely is something or someone endangered and we must fight past or through a foe to come out the other side as victor. Rarely is the plot of life driven by anything other than the mundane. What will I eat for dinner? isn’t really much of a threat to drive the plot along.

There are formulas for writing books. Same for making movies. Things which will make the readers want to turn the page or pay the big bucks to see a movie in the theater. There are rules to do and not to do. Here is where the rub comes in. I don’t do formula anything. I don’t live a normal life, nor do I tell a normal story. If you are reading my work and there is a moment that drags. Guess what? My character is more than likely feeling that same exact way, and I want you to feel it too. What if the conflict is simply within? You know, like real life?

I’m an indie author and self-published. I even do my own covers and up till now, all my own editing. Along the way I’ve grown, and now I turn out a more polished manuscript. This one I’m working on, is in fact, the very first story I put to paper. My first book. My baby. My name. Me as the heroine. Is there internal conflict? Yes! Is there external? No. Not much. My editor wants more. I am unwilling to put it in at this phase. There is lots more later in book two and three, (yes, those are already written.) My editor says nobody will read the second book and more than likely won’t get through the first. Sigh.

I’m not writing to make a living. It’s painfully clear that won’t happen for me. In fact, I currently work hard at other jobs to pay for said edits and later on, narration and maybe a professional cover here and there. Advertising hasn’t even come up. Why would I advertise something I’m fairly confident only a handful of readers will like and understand? No, I write to tell a story from a perspective I’ve not heard—ever!

I don’t seek a real publisher, or even a much larger audience. If I did, I would be setting myself up for the judgement of others. The harsh criticism they feel I’ve asked for. Yes, I asked for this edit. Yes, I will learn what I can from it in as far as execution and academics go. But, I can’t prescribe to the formula arching storyline. I just can’t alter it that much. Or rather, I won’t.

If that means I lose the chance at fame-dom and overflowing success. So be it. I love my stuff to sell. I love to get a good review. I however am old enough to take it all with a grain of salt. If they love you too much, they will feel the need to tear you down at some point. Some are already there with my other self-published titles. Again I can only sigh.

Writing is hard work. No, correction, it is painful, cathartic, mentally ill, and incredibly time consuming, torturous work. There is nothing fun about it. It’s exhausting. There are no rewards that I’ve found thus far, unless it’s the killing time thing—you know, something to do while I wait to die? I have more stories inside of me, but I continually doubt if I should continue. I probably won’t. I have to get my series finished. I have to release at least four more titles since I’ve set up the continuation in all my books, and I refuse to leave something undone. But after that? I don’t see the point.

Over the last two weeks I’ve continually seen a meme which simply states, write what you want to read. I don’t read much because I am so fucking sick of the formula arching stories. It’s all so predictable and boring and there is no insight into the characters’. Yes, lots of action and lots of threats and drama. Contrived love because of rescues which all stemmed from imagined dangers. What about the torture of living a real life and attempting to keep it drama free? What about that numb and dead feeling which invariably happens when we hit middle age and have been there, done that? What about the ache deep in the pit of our stomachs to feel something? Anything! I just want to feel alive for a few minutes. Is that possible without drama, turmoil, dangers and arching plot threats?

So, as I try and polish this turd of a manuscript, and I wonder if it’s worthless. I have to remind myself I don’t do the Earth program. I don’t do this matrix. I don’t even do any of the religions or theologies on this planet. I don’t do blue-pill. I don’t do normal. I don’t do the expected or the preached. I don’t care about the universal downloads into humanities sieve like brains.

I mock everything and everyone. I find humor in the humorless and crazy. I see death as a gift and escape. I think love is hollow when it comes from empty vessels. The word means so little. I seek time and to marinate with another. Who gives that now days? In my story, I soak with my characters. There really isn’t much of a destination—it’s all journey—like real life. After all, death is the destination for all of us.

My story is more about dwelling within the now. Always be in the present moment and never be anxious for what is next. If you are? If you’re only waiting for the threat to appear to motivate the characters, then how can you learn to dwell within the allow?

I’m writing what I want to read. I’m writing a few sermon like excerpts spoken from a heavenly being. Don’t you want to hear what the aliens have to say? How they think? How they react to our undeveloped, individual personalities? To me as a middle aged and searching human, this is what fascinates me. So, this is what I write about. And this is what my entire first book in the, AdventuresinPayne Series, is about. It’s titled Remnant for a reason. There is no outside threat to their love. It’s a sort of homecoming after eons of dangers. It’s about how survival on this planet means the loss of our true illumination.

It’s that and so much more, and I’m leaving it intact. It is just the beginning of an epic journey.

homesick

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